2020: The year’s biggest 3D printing launches, applications and industry developments

As 2020 (finally) comes to an end, we look back at some of the year’s biggest launches, the most significant applications, the valiant COVID-19 response efforts, some surprising industry developments, the best insights and some must-read interviews produced by the TCT Magazine content team and our contributors. 

All content has featured either in an issue of TCT Magazine or on the TCT Magazine website since the beginning of 2020. 

January

Feature: ‘A creative genius with so much more to contribute’ – tributes paid to Selective Laser Sintering inventor Dr Carl Deckard

At the age of 58, and after leading the invention of Selective Laser Sintering and founding Structured Polymers more than 20 years later, Dr Carl Deckard sadly passed away last December. In speaking to TCT, his friends and industry peers, described the TCT Hall of Famer as a pioneer, a visionary and a genius.  

Application: Ford uses driver’s voice to create unique 3D printed wheel locks

Insight: TCT Japan 2020: Exhibitors show 3D printing’s promise as a powerhouse lies in wait

It might seem like a lifetime ago, but at the start of 2020, hopping on a plane to Tokyo, shaking hands with hundreds of fellow trade show attendees and sitting in a packed conference was still very normal. At the first TCT Japan 2020 (there was a second to come in December), Senior Content Producer Sam Davies offered some thoughts on a potential AM powerhouse. 

Interview: Interview: EOS on Fine Detail Resolution 3D printing

ApplicationParaMatters generative design software deployed to lightweight Arcimoto electric vehicle parts


February

Industry development: 3D Systems CEO Vyomesh Joshi announces plans to retire

Interview: Slant 3D CEO on building the world’s biggest 3D printer farm

The story of how an entrepreneur who once considered 3D printing to be ‘slow, crappy and expensive’ is now heading a business with claims to be operating the world’s largest 3D print farm. 

Industry development: Arburg owners purchase 3D printing startup German RepRap

Interview: Invention, optimism & realism: The back story of SLS 3D printing with Dr Joe Beaman

On the back of Dr Carl Deckard’s untimely passing, TCT spoke to the inventor’s professor and mentor to hear about the development of Selective Laser Sintering technology, from a University of Texas lab to the factory floors of thousands of manufacturers. 

Through the doors: Arcam readies for EBM 3D printer ramp up as GE influence exhibited in Gothenburg

Read TCT Magazine EU 27.1 & TCT Magazine NA 6.1 


March

COVID-19:

In March, the COVID-19 virus that had swept across much of Asia, arrived in Europe and the United States, around the same time the West started to feel the impact of supply chain disruptions as factories in countries like China remained in lockdown. Far and wide, users of 3D printing stepped in to manufacture components like face shields and PPE.

Insight: There’s “huge potential” for 3D printing inside aircraft cabins 

Interview: Materialise employee #12: I want to look back and say ‘we made a difference’

At TCT Japan, Materialise Japan’s Managing Director, and the company’s 12th ever employee, spoke exclusively to TCT about programming early Magics products, the vision of CEO Fried Vancraen & Japanese adoption of AM.

Application: Porsche adopts 3D printing in new bucket seat concept

Podcast#33 Additive Insight – Talking additive manufacturing with EOS CEO Marie Langer


April

Interview: Link3D CEO Shane Fox: “I don’t think enough 3D printing players have spent enough time on a true production floor”

Link3D CEO Shanke Fox talks to TCT about what’s needed from additive manufacturing technology suppliers to fulfil its industrial potential. 

Industry development: AML3D debuts on ASX and prepares for first Arcemy 3D printer delivery

LaunchHaute Fabrication launches self-learning metal 3D printing service with build volumes up to 5.2 cubic metres

LaunchVELO3D launches larger format metal 3D printing system

Podcast#35 Additive Insight: Materialise CEO Fried Vancraen on creating a healthier world with sustainable additive manufacturing

Read TCT Magazine EU 28.2 & TCT Magazine NA 6.2


May

Industry development: Jeff Graves named President and CEO of 3D Systems

Launch: MakerBot launches Method Carbon Fiber 3D printers

MakerBot continued the expansion of its Method portfolio and its evolution as a supplier of tools tailored to professional and industrial users. 

Application: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems successfully flies its first metal 3D printed part

InterviewHow Briggs Automotive Company re-engineered a supercar with generative design and 3D printing

UK automotive firm BAC opens up on the design and production of its supercar, and also looks ahead to how its application of 3D printing might evolve in the future. 

InterviewCEO Clément Moreau on a decade of Sculpteo, the BASF acquisition and 3D printing’s real killer application

ApplicationWestinghouse Electric Company successfully installs metal 3D printed fuel component at Exelon nuclear plant


June

Industry development: Stratasys to reduce staff by 10% in shift to “leaner operating model”

LaunchMitsubishi Chemical to launch Freeform Injection Molding services across three continents with AddiFab

After investing in the company in 2019, Mitsubishi Chemical announced this year that it had set up a Freeform Injection Molding service in collaboration with AddiFab that will stretch across three continents. 

Launch: BMW Group bidding to ‘industrialise 3D printing’ as new €15 million Additive Manufacturing Campus opens

Insight: 3D printing in space: What I learned from my astronaut mission – by Sabrina Kerber

LaunchHP unveils new Metal Jet 3D printing applications, a BASF polypropylene material & partners with Fast Radius

In a string of announcements, HP revealed that COBRA Golf and the US Marine Corps had adopted its Metal Jet technology, while on the polymer side of the business, a polypropylene material developed by BASF was introduced and Fast Radius joined its Manufacturing Partner Network.  

Read TCT Magazine NA 6.3


July

Interview: Stratasys’ Scott Sevcik: “Aerospace is the right place for additive manufacturing to mature”

Stratasys VP of Aerospace Scott Sevcik discusses the application of additive manufacturing in aerospace, the company’s certification efforts and why the industry is perfect for 3D printing. 

InsightWork-from-home scenarios represent only net positive for 3D printer shipments otherwise heavily impacted by the pandemic

Application: BAE Systems aims to additively manufacture 30% of Tempest aircraft components as new smart factory opens

InsightGoing Additive – embracing 3D printing and positively impacting an industrial company

Application: Watch: How Photocentric is mass 3D printing millions of face shields

TCT takes a virtual tour of Photocentric’s 3D print farm that was set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now capable of producing 350,000 face shields a week. 


August

Industry development: GE reports $877 million goodwill impairment charges related to additive manufacturing

In a quite turbulent year for many companies, GE reported significant goodwill impairment charges relating to its 3D printing business, attributing the write offs to a ‘slowdown’ in the metal AM market and a ‘delay in spend-levels within the key markets it serves’ brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Application: Honeywell gains FAA certification for first 3D printed flight-critical engine part

Industry development: 3D printing firm Desktop Metal goes public at value of $2.5b in deal with Trine Acquisition Corp

Desktop Metal became the latest 3D printing firm to go public and did so via a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Trine Acquisition Corp, which was approved in December. The company believes the move will enable it to accelerate growth and product development efforts, while also using the proceeds to support ‘constructive consolidation in the additive manufacturing industry.’

Interview: Inside 6K Additive’s automated metal 3D printing powder production plant

Industry development: 3D Systems to reduce workforce by 20% after poor Q2 2020 financial results

Read TCT Magazine EU 28.3 & EU 28.4


September

Interview: Exclusive – Retiring Stratasys founder Scott Crump on his 3D printing legacy

After more than 30 years working in the additive manufacturing industry, a sector he helped to build via his invention of Fused Deposition Modelling, Scott Crump announced his retirement. Here, he talks exclusively to TCT about establishing Stratasys as a leading player in the AM space, about the acquisition of MakerBot after a period of hype, and his experiences working with industry heavyweights.

ApplicationCCM Hockey teams with Carbon on first NHL certified 3D printed helmet liner

LaunchExOne unveils InnoventPro 3D printer and smart factory vision

Industry developmentXometry secures additional $75m to take total funding up to $193m

Podcast#41 Additive Insight: Formlabs CEO on becoming a leader in 3D printing

Formlabs CEO Max Lobovsky joins the Additive Insight podcast to discuss the company’s rise an an industrial player, a new dental machine built on its large-format Low Force Stereolithography platform, and the long-awaited Fuse 1 desktop SLS system.

InsightWomen in 3D Printing’s Nora Touré on preparing for the unexpected in AM

Read TCT Magazine EU 28.5


October

Industry development: Markforged appoints new CEO as founder Greg Mark becomes chairman

ApplicationAdidas unveils Futurecraft STRUNG running shoe with ‘most radical’ 3D printed midsole to date

Launch: VELO3D announces launch of ‘extra capacity’ metal 3D printing system

VELO3D continued the expansion of its metal AM hardware portfolio with the introduction of the Sapphire XC, which is equipped with a 600 x 550 mm build volume and 8x 1KW lasers. 

Industry developmentCovestro takes over DSM 3D printing business as part of €1.61 billion acquisition

In a move that caught many by surprise, Covestro stepped up its play in the additive market by taking over DSM’s 3D printing operations in a $1.61B buy out. The takeover is set to be completed next year. 

Industry developmentGE Aviation GE9X engine receives FAA certification

Application: Boom Supersonic unveils XB-1 aircraft with 21 flight components produced with VELO3D metal 3D printing

Read TCT Magazine NA 6.4


November

Formnext interviews

Though the pandemic forced the last major AM trade show of the year online this time around, the launches didn’t stop, and nor did the conversations. After SLM Solutions and Additive Industries both announced larger and more capable metal AM systems, we put questions to both, while we also spoke to the likes of Nexa3D about its acquisition of NXT Factory, Inovus about its application of AM in the medical field, and much more. 

Industry development: 3D Systems agrees to sell Cimatron CAD/CAM business for $65 million

Application: COBRA Golf releases first golf club 3D printed with HP Metal Jet technology

Application: Satair supplies spare aircraft parts for Airbus A320ceo aircraft using metal 3D printing


December

Industry developmentStratasys to acquire 3D printing start-up Origin in $100 million deal

With a renowned history of integrating up and coming 3D printing vendors, Stratasys once again made its move in a deal that may reach up to $100m. San Francisco-based Origin, whose Programmable PhotoPolymerisation technology started shipping last year, will now go forward as a Stratasys brand. In this interview, they told us why. 

Launch: BASF launches 17-4 PH stainless steel filament for FFF 3D printing

Interview: Going green with Bluesint: Materialise on printing parts with 100% re-used powder

LaunchDesktop Metal introduces benchtop P-1 3D printer as part of Production System line

Application: A cut above: Guhring UK on how metal 3D printing is enabling significant redesigns of cutting tools

During a pre-lockdown trip, we got to see and hear all about Guhring UK’s ‘market leading’ application of metal 3D printing to redesign a range of cutting tools. 

Read TCT Magazine EU 28.6 & TCT Magazine NA 6.5


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