3DomFuel recycles byproducts to create precise filaments that promote a more sustainable 3-D printing industry. By Tim O’Connor
Next time you reach for a cold beer after work or order a caffeine-fueled pick-me-up from the corner coffeehouse, you might be helping to make additive manufacturing more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
In addition to its flagship Advanced PLA filament, North Dakota-based 3DomFuel recycles byproducts from the beer-making process as well as from coffee and industrial hemp production to create filaments that can be used in 3-D printers. Although plastics remain the industry’s prevailing material, 3DomFuel is meeting the demand for innovation.
“Buzzed,” the barley-scented filament made from beer byproducts, has found use in alcohol-related items, such as 3-D printed bar coasters. “Wound Up,” the coffee-based filament, has a natural grain look that lends itself to a wood substitute for architectural models. It can also match skin tones better than plastic filaments, making it a good candidate for 3-D printed prosthetics.
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As long as its customers and employees are satisfied, BBS Automation says the sky is the limit when it comes to growth. By Bianca Herron
BBS Automation provides assembly and testing systems for clients in the life sciences, automotive, energy and energy storage industries, many of who are Fortune 500 companies. In addition, the Bartlett, Ill.-based company performs contract manufacturing for customers that require multiple machines to be built.
Along with its Bartlett, Ill., location, BBS Automation has two facilities in Germany (including the Group Headquarters), two in China, one in Malaysia and an engineering office in Canada. The company is currently in the process of expanding into Mexico, according to Group Chief Operating Officer and President Darragh Staunton.
“BBS Automation is privately owned by industry leaders in the automation world, setting it apart from its competitors,” Staunton says. “The owners and managers of the company have spent their entire lives in the automation industry. They understand what it means to get a customized piece of automation built, which is something that our competitors don’t.”
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BTD Manufacturing is self-sufficient when serving clients that include Polaris. By Alan Dorich
Many companies outsource work, but BTD Manufacturing prefers to do as much as it can under its roof. But this is not as much about cost as one might think, President Paul Gintner asserts. “It’s about the speed,” he says.
Thanks to its Advanced Manufacturing group, BTD can quickly navigate its clients’ products through multiple processes, including stamping and tooling, all on its own. “That brings value to our customer,” he asserts.
Based in Detroit Lakes, Minn., BTD offers custom metalworking services including metal fabrication, forming, welding, powder coating, prototyping and laser cutting. Founders Erling Rasmussen and Paul White Jr. started the company in 1979 as Bismarck Tool and Die (BTD) Co.
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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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