RePliForm’s plating solutions bring additional strength to 3-D printed plastic components. By Chris Petersen
In all the talk about 3-D printing and its effect on the manufacturing sector, it can sound at times like a 3-D printer simply spits out a component that’s ready to use right away. Although that’s true in many cases, in other cases those components still need some work before they can be of use to manufacturers.
For more than a decade, RePliForm Inc. has been providing metal plating services to the 3-D printing sector, and President Sean Wise says the company’s post-processing solutions have made it a valued partner to many of the industry’s most demanding companies.
Wise started the company in 2000 to perform electroforming services for injection molded plastic components. Although the company was very successful at first, it started losing business to offshore competitors. However, around that same time a customer came to RePliForm with a request that would reshape the company’s destiny and give it new focus.
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Markforged innovates in every area of 3-D printing to create machines that produce strong components and tooling suitable for end-use applications. By Tim O’Connor
As a marketing professional, Cynthia Gumbert knows it is easy to sell people on individual nuggets of candy, but the jar that Markforged has filled over the last three years contains something much sweeter for its manufacturing clients: the realization of better speed, lower costs and improved reliability in the production line.
In 2011, Greg Mark, an entrepreneur and mechanical and aerospace engineer from MIT, was running a company that developed computer-actuated race car wings when he began thinking about how 3-D printing could be used to manufacture composite parts more efficiently. Mark refined the idea and in 2013 founded Markforged to create 3-D printers capable of producing parts strong enough for end-use functions.
Markforged is a 3-D printer manufacturer, but more importantly, its machines are the only way to produce strong parts from composite fiber on a desktop. The items that come out of a Markforged printer are not limited to prototypes. The use of fibers in the printing material means the finished component is exactly as it was designed: ready for use in applications that call for precision.
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4D Technology’s handheld 4D InSpec® Surface Gauge fundamentally changes how precision surface measurement is accomplished, saving customers time and money. By Janice Hoppe-Spiers
4D Technology is known for its innovative design and manufacturing of metrology products for optics fabrication, astronomy, aerospace and other challenging applications. Dynamic Interferometry®, the technology behind many 4D products, ensures precise measurements in the most difficult environments without vibration isolation.
“We are a small and innovative company that has taken on measurement challenges that make projects such as space-based telescopes possible,” Marketing Communications Manager Mike Zecchino says. “We have been the company that’s taken on the real challenges and developed very many of the changes in the field of interferometry over the years.”
Founded in 2002, 4D’s patented technologies continue to set it apart from the competition. Built around proprietary phase sensors, 4D interferometers acquire high-resolution phase data and are insensitive to vibration and environmental noise. Dynamic Interferometry technology enables measurement of optical-grade surfaces in challenging environments, as well as high-resolution measurement of moving surfaces.
Many of 4D’s products originated from unique customer requirements that it turned into product lines to meet more customers’ needs. The company’s 45 employees are made up of mechanical, optical, electrical and software engineers, and the manufacturing team who build the instruments. “They are very specialized and do fantastic work,” Zecchino says. “It’s like watching Swiss watchmakers; they do some incredible work.”
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Ferno takes a consultative approach with clients by focusing on a system-wide product resolution that promotes safety and efficiency for medics and patients.
There are few industries that require mission-critical equipment so highly specialized that every stitch, every screw, every new technology that goes into the manufacture and design of products is executed in a controlled system. Ferno’s team of product managers, engineers and quality assurance staff continually strive to ensure Ferno products are working with and not against the needs of their EMS customers.
“EMS has changed significantly in all areas of the industry and it continues to evolve,” says Christopher Way, Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Development. “This is a profession that must do things quickly from the minute they receive a call until the time they get back to their station. During that time, they are required to assess a patient, begin pre-hospital care, if needed, and transport the patient all the while relaying critical information to the health facility. Because our products are part of that process, they must be able to consistently and efficiently function to serve the critical purpose of delivering care to a patient.”
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The JUNKER Group is growing strong with new platforms and an increased business reach. By Alan Dorich
For the past two years, The JUNKER Group has been on the rise. The Nordrach, Germany-based company has grown its status as a global leader for high-speed, cubic boron nitride (CBN) grinding machines by staying innovative in its solutions for customers and expanding its business worldwide.
Founder Erwin Junker started the company in 1962 in an old grain mill in the Kinzig Valley of Germany’s Black Forest. Today, JUNKER operates production, sales and service facilities in Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as additional locations in the United States, Mexico, China, Russia, India and Brazil.
The company also continues to demonstrate its ingenuity and innovation with new platforms. Horst Zemp, the president and CEO of Erwin JUNKER Machinery Inc., in Elgin, Ill., notes that these include a platform for the cylindrical and non-cylindrical grinding of work pieces.
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Kyntronics specializes in developing unique and custom actuation systems used in a variety of industries. By Jim Harris
Since their development in the late 1930s, actuators have become a common component of machinery, medical equipment and other mechanical systems. Although the needs of the companies using actuators are frequently evolving, the basic functions of the devices themselves typically operate in the same manner as they have for decades. A more recent trend is how the field of mechatronics is impacting actuators, enabling more precision, feedback and intelligent operation, allowing higher degrees of automation with how actuators are applied.
Kyntronics prides itself on finding new twists on a technology that can hardly be considered cutting-edge. “I am proud of the new technology and innovations our team has developed and continues to develop,” says Carl Richter, vice president of the Eastlake, Ohio-based actuator manufacturer and motion control specialist. “We are pushing the envelope and coming up with something different in an industry that has been around for many years.”
The company was founded in 2010 by former managers of a motion control company following the sale of their former employer to a global manufacturing and engineering firm. The group purchased a machine shop with the intention of taking on contract jobs while it developed new products. One of the management group’s former clients – an OEM serving the aerospace market – approached the company to develop new actuator technology. The OEM became the company’s first major client, Richter says.
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Garlock Sealing Technologies empowers employees closest to the work to make decisions. By Tim O’Connor
Typically, when workers manufacture a product or test a component’s quality at most manufacturing plants, they think about fitting requirements and tolerance guidelines. What they may not think about is how that item will be used by the end-customer or its place in a larger system.
Garlock Sealing Technologies takes a different approach to quality. The company trains its production employees to understand where products are going, how they will be used and what a failure looks like. Having that knowledge stresses the impact of quality and places urgency on making sure a product placed into a nuclear power plant for example or other critical application won’t fail under pressure. “That drives home much more than any other strategy in terms of developing that pride in workmanship,” Director of Operations Tony Rounding says.
Employees are also encouraged to be mindful of issues in the production line itself. When a fault is found in production, workers are empowered to stop the line and make the necessary adjustments. “At no point does anything trump safety,” Rounding says. “I’m very proud that our employees have the ability to stop anything they don’t feel is safe.”
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First Solar has positioned itself as a strong player in the solar energy market. By Alan Dorich
First Solar has excelled in its market by following a mission that people can easily commit to, Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing Mike Koralewski says. “It is to create enduring value by enabling a world powered by clean, affordable electricity,” he says.
With administrative headquarters in Tempe, Ariz., and manufacturing facilities in Perrysburg, Ohio and Kulim, Malaysia, First Solar provides photovoltaic (PV) solar energy products. The company has installed more than 10 gigawatts worldwide and developed, built and currently operates many grid-connected PV power plants across the world.
After a career in the glass industry, founder Harold McMaster started a predecessor company that, in 1999, became First Solar. “He was prominent in the Toledo, [Ohio], area, and Harold had this dream of trying to make solar modules,” Koralewski explains, noting that McMaster experimented with various technologies for several years.
“He finally fell on the technology we use today, which is cadmium telluride,” Koralewski continues, noting that McMaster worked with the material for several years to develop it to where he could make several modules.
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