Anton Aulbers is Senior Project Manager for Additive Manufacturing Equipment at the AMSYSTEMS Center that nestles at the fringe of the Eindhoven University of Technology campus where he is in the process of handing over the lead of the MultiM-3D Fieldlab to his colleague, Frits Feenstra. Both were in from the start, with Aulbers co-writing the proposal to establish the Multi-M3D as an umbrella for people to meet and connect and to facilitate a number of technology projects.
Trying out the technology
Feenstra, who is coordinating the ceramics activities, one of the three tracks currently providing the focus for the fieldlab’s technology development, explains how the fieldlab is set up. “We have different levels of membership within our umbrella. But they are all invited to attend the events and conferences we organize to promote the progress being made in the current tracks – dental applications, large-area ceramics, integrated electronics – as well as discuss the visions of where industry is heading and share ideas with each other. In essence, to explore the opportunities together.” This is one of the greatest values of a fieldlab, according to Aulbers. It’s a place where you can get hands-on with the very latest developments in technology to try out what these could mean in terms of products and services for the future. “In the arena of multi-material 3D printing, we provide a unique opportunity in the Netherlands for high-tech additive equipment manufacturers to experiment with techniques and materials, and push the technology forward.”
Funding is, of course, key to the continuity and continuation of the Multi-M3D fieldlab, and the competition for funding is intense. The main sources of funding for the Multi-M3D fieldlab are OPZuid, the European Regional fund for the South of the Netherlands and the Province of Noord Brabant. Other sources include European framework projects and the occasional project co-funding from industrial partners, although this is often expressed in kind rather in cash. “Having started in the Brabant area with its very strong high-tech sector, we are looking at how we can take this largely regional ecosystem we have developed into a more national arena and beyond to other countries where our contact base is growing. Interest in what we are doing is increasing.
“we provide a unique opportunity in the Netherlands for high-tech additive equipment manufacturers to experiment with techniques and materials, and push the technology forward.”
We now have more than 55 partners and their interests vary from software to design and legislation. It’s a truly multidisciplinary initiative and where our umbrella is unable to cater for the interests of our partners, we connect them to other forums and platforms,” Feenstra says. “I see our umbrella as a place to meet and greet, to network and to cross-fertilize. As one of its kind, it is a precious resource that has added value to both established and emerging additive equipment manufacturers. We are seeing growing attendance at our events, and that is, to a large extent, down to the success of the networking aspect. People tell others about the fieldlab and so they become inquisitive, asking themselves what is happening and what it could mean to their business.”
“Since the fieldlab is a place in which the worlds of fundamental and applied research mix with industry, it is important,” Feenstra stresses, “that we listen well to the demands from industry and that industry feeds the research with specific ingredients. In that way not only can we respond to real requirements but also give rein to invention and innovation. Smart industry is rapidly becoming part and parcel of our daily lives, and here we can put our responses to demand for personalization to the test, from 3D printed dentures to printed pasta shapes.”
“Yes, the Barilla pasta printer,” explains Aulbers, “is not actually a product facilitated by the fieldlab but it was a forerunner. It started as a kind of Friday afternoon activity where we toyed with the idea of printing pasta after the company sowed the germ of the idea. But in view of the publicity it got, and the fact that it demonstrated how additive manufacturing could successfully transform an idea to a product, it did serve to attract interest in and partners to the fieldlab.”
A very tangible result of where the Multi-M3D fieldlab did help to catalyze the transformation of a concept to product can be seen in the development of a denture whose appearance is ‘natural’. Océ-Technologies is working with TNO and NextDent to 3D print artificial colored teeth for dentures and crowns that will not only provide better-looking results but also significantly reduce the labor-intensive process involved in making dental prostheses. Feenstra explains. “To print natural-looking dentures, every voxel – that’s the 3D equivalent of a pixel – must be different in terms of color and transparency. It will soon be possible to print a complete tooth in less than 30 minutes and this is just the beginning. In the future, the biomedical applications of the technology could extend to printing skin or prostheses.” So far, the focus has been on developing the materials, hardware and software, but the first 3D dental objects are expected to be market ready by mid-2019.
“the fieldlab has access to the kind of knowledge and expertise that can help get the solutions to market more quickly. And for society to benefit faster.”
“We are making progress in the field of multi-material 3D printing but there is still some way to go,” Aulbers adds. “We’re getting there but the market also has to get there. Is it ready to take on board the technological breakthroughs and innovations that we are helping to facilitate? And what I mean by that is not the willingness of companies to adopt new technologies but the logjam of legislation and regulations that can hinder the exploitation of the solutions. So in that sense, the fieldlab could alleviate this burden through sharing knowledge and experience. After all, we have accumulated a vast wealth of experience over the past decade or so and having the university quite literally on our doorstep, the fieldlab has access to the kind of knowledge and expertise that can help get the solutions to market more quickly. And for society to benefit faster.”
Are you from SMEs and your focus is innovations in the field of AM?
Then the AMable call is interesting for you.
The AMable call, funded by European Union Horizon 2020, aims to enable SMEs to take up AM with the help of financial support and AMable Services. These services target at support and upskilling of employees in the areas of design for AM, technology development, skills and education and to support their business development. The funding rate is 70% of eligible cost. The first round closes at 1st of October 2018.
Two types of projects are available:
Feasibility Studies (5k – 20k): short-term experiments (3-6 months) which are focused to analyse and demonstrate the feasibility of developing new products or businesses related to the Digital Design for AM challenge in a decentralised and distributed digital environment.
Best Practice Experiments (10k – 40k): Widespread application experiments (4-12 months) which are conceived for benchmarking, testing, validation and improvement of new AM products, services and standards.
De kraamkamer voor nieuwe generaties 3D-printers (In Dutch)
3D-printen lijkt de toekomst te hebben, maar veel bedrijven aarzelen nog om er daadwerkelijk mee aan de slag te gaan. De Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e) en TNO hebben daarom de handen ineengeslagen en doen in het AMSYSTEMS Center onderzoek naar de industrialisatie van 3D-printen. PwC’s Wolter Kersbergen in gesprek met Katja Pahnke (TU/e) en Pieter Debrauwer (TNO). Read more.
This Summer Fieldlab Multi-Material 3D partners NextDent, Océ- a Canon Company, Brightlands Materials Center and AMSYSTEMS Center have developed a 3D printer, the Multi Material 3D Test Printer (MM3DTP).
The resins for this process are developed by NextDent, a 3D Systems company, and Brightlands Materials Center. The controlling of the MM3DTP printer is done by Van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau. With this printer the partners aim to develop an integrated 3D Workflow and print strategy to create full colour products . To show the abilities of this 3D printer Océ has printed the first samples this set-up (see the pictures below).
What’s next The next step is to combine Océ’s inkjet technology with the Lepus Next Gen Printer of AMSYSTEMS Center. This integration is required to show the feasibility of printing full colour dental elements. The resins for this process are developed by NextDent, a 3D Systems company, and Brightlands Materials Center. The partners strive to achieve this by next year, July 2019. Due to the good results the partners are looking forward to the follow up.
Recently, Pieter Debrauwer has been appointed as Managing Director of AMSYSTEMS Center, the joint R&D initiative of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and TNO developing next-generation additive manufacturing systems together with Dutch and international industry partners. He holds his position in AMSYSTEMS Center together with the center’s co-director Katja Pahnke, appointed as Managing Director on behalf of TU/e and one of the founders of AMSYSTEMS Center. Simultaneously he has accepted the position of Research Manager of TNO’s department ‘Equipment for Additive Manufacturing’. Pieter is well-prepared and well-informed as he was already involved in AMSYSTEMS Center for several years as manager of one of the center’s program lines.
In both positions, Pieter takes over from Erwin Meinders. Erwin has managed TNO’s department ‘Equipment for Additive Manufacturing’ for the past seven years and he has co-founded AMSYSTEMS Center. Erwin’s new position is CEO of Mentech Innovation (see www.mentechinnovation.eu), a company developing sensor-based technologies that enhance quality of life for people with a severe mental disability by detecting e.g. emotions and pain. Additionally he will continue his role as chief innovation officer at Severinus, a care organization.
The steering committee of AMSYSTEMS Center wants to express its sincere thanks to Erwin for his entrepreneurial leadership in the past years and the committee want to wish both Pieter and Erwin much success in their new positions.
The steering committee would like to express its trust in a good continuation of its valuable relationship and wish you a successful cooperation with the AMSYSTEMS Center in the future. In case of questions don’t hesitate to contact Katja Pahnke or Pieter Debrauwer directly.
In 2017 Brainport Industries – together with TU/e and supported by Brainport Development – entered into a partnership with the Bavarian cluster for Mechatronik & Automation in Bavaria in the Additive4Industry project.
This project focuses on setting up innovation and R & D projects with interesting partners in Bavaria in the field of industrial 3D printing. On 17-18 May a fruitful exchange took place in Eindhoven between Bavarian knowledge institutions such as Fraunhofer, Erlangen University, Hogeschool München and Hogeschool Nürnberg with TNO and TU/e (AMSYSTEMS Center), Addfab, NTS-Group. Read more(in Dutch)
Personalised food, vegetable proteins with the bite of meat or production on demand; digitally controlled food production enables innovations which were inconceivable until very recently. From 29 June, businesses can address all their questions about digital technology to the Digital Food Processing Initiative (DFPI), a cooperative venture between Wageningen University & Research, TNO, AMSYSTEMS Center and Eindhoven University of Technology.
The launch of the Digital Food Processing Initiative will take place on 29 June during the 3D Food Printing Experience at the Wageningen campus. “We provide companies with insight into the possibilities and support them with knowledge about food and high-tech systems,” says Ben Langelaan, research manager Food Technology in Wageningen UR and member of the DFPI steering group. “This helps them more easily translate ideas to the market.’
The ambition of the DFPI is to be the global consortium for digitally controlled food production. “Our combined expertise of food and digital technology is unique, which is why we can really help companies move forward,” adds Pieter Debrauwer, research manager at TNO/AMSYSTEMS Center and member of the DFPI steering group. “Sometimes it may be necessary to change the recipe in order to create an attractive product, while at other times the equipment needs adapting in order to realise the right process conditions.”
More than 3D printing
DFPI focuses on five innovation themes: sustainability, personalised food, on-demand food production, new forms and flavours, and new social experiences. While the main food applications to date have been related to 3D printing – such as new shapes of pasta – both organisations expect digital techniques to have a much larger social impact.
On-demand production, for example, could lead to less food waste, while personalised food can help produce special high-protein products for the elderly or athletes. 3D printing can change the functionality of food via the development of new structures, textures and flavours, which could have potential for people who have difficulty swallowing. Digital techniques are expected to drastically change the production, location and logistics of food production.
Food producers, ingredient suppliers, machinery manufacturers, caterers, retailers and other interested parties can have a first look on 29 June at the options for digital food processing. The introduction will include various demonstrations of 3D food printing and presentations on the successful application of digital techniques in the food industry. Professor Arthur Mol, Rector Magnificus and vice-president of the WUR Executive Board, will officially launch the DFPI at 11.30. Learn more about the programme and register at the event page for the 3D Food Printing Experience.
DFPI is a joint initiative of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, the Wageningen chair groups Food Process Engineering and Physics and Physical Chemistry of Foods, and AMSYSTEMS Center, a partnership between TNO Equipment for Additive Manufacturing and TU Eindhoven High Tech Systems Center.