As 3D printing continues to gain prominence in the media and the manufacturing world, a recent event offered opportunities for visionaries in the field to showcase their ideas.
At the 2016 Innovations Auditions competition, held as part of the annual SME RAPID conference on 3D manufacturing, promising businesses were invited to present unique ideas and products that could significantly impact the future of manufacturing. nScrypt, an Orlando-based micro-dispensing and 3D printing company, was selected as the winner of the competition.
Hosted by RAPID, a leading authority in 3D printing and additive manufacturing, the Innovations Auditions are designed to introduce entrepreneurs who have developed innovative technology to investors interested in partnerships and other business opportunities. During the hour-long event, presenters had five minutes to explain how their innovation could impact the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry.
Eight firms presented their ideas to a panel of judges comprised of business and technology experts. The panel provided feedback to participants after the auditions and selected one outstanding innovation for recognition.
nScrypt was chosen as the most exceptional innovation for its work with NovaCentrix to develop an unrivaled 3D printing system. The two companies formed a partnership after being awarded a joint research and development contract with FlexTech Organization in conjunction with the US Army. Under the contract, they were tasked with creating a three-dimensional printing tool for producing functional, complex objects.
The two companies worked together to integrate the NovaCentrix PulseForge, the most powerful photonic sintering tool available, with nScrypt’s 3Dn 500, the most advanced 3D printer on the market. Using multiple heads, the resulting system can print a wider range of materials than any other commercial system. It is also user-friendly, making it easy to print an entire working circuit with just the push of a single button. It can be used for rapid prototyping of new electronic devices, additively building integrated hybrid circuits on three-dimensional surfaces.
"Working with NovaCentrix has been rewarding on many fronts," said Kenneth Church, nScrypt CEO. "Great collaborators can do great things together, and together we have created a new level of possibility for 3D printed electronics. We really appreciate being recognised by RAPID for our joint effort."
The 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry is expanding rapidly, and many experts within the field expect it to substantially impact a variety of industries in the coming years. The process has both military and commercial applications and has been used in areas ranging from medicine and consumer electronics to national defence and space exploration.
One area in which 3D printing could someday play a major role is manufacturing. Some experts believe that 3D printing has the power to eventually shift a significant share of the global manufacturing market back to the US.
"We used to be so good at machining here in the US," explained Church, who remarked that much of the machining work that was previously completed in the US is now performed in Asia. "We can regain that position, but we can also do much more. Rather than just milling big bulk parts, we can 3D print and polish where it’s possible and then mill where we need to mill."
Church said that a key to achieving this shift will be designing advanced tools that can print with speed and precision. Manufacturing requires speed and repeatability; parts that are 3D printed will only function properly if they are manufactured according to extremely precise specifications.
These are two areas in which nScrypt has made great strides by developing tools that are capable of dispensing a variety of materials on an array of surfaces quickly and accurately. One major benefit of 3D printing as a manufacturing method is the high level of customisation it offers.
From personal electronics to biotechnology, the demand for customisable options will continue to grow. By enabling on-demand manufacturing, 3D printing makes it possible to quickly produce customised items.
"Personalisation in medicine will continue to be really important," Church said. "But there will also be a bigger demand for it in consumer goods, as well."
He predicts that consumers will someday expect more from everyday objects, such as smartphones, automobiles, and even shoes.
Church added: "With 3D printing and the technology it enables, someday people will want more than just comfortable shoes. They’ll want shoes that can give them feedback and data, shoes that can talk to them."
Church and his colleagues in the 3D printing and additive manufacturing field believe that these ideas may become a reality in the near future, and they are working to develop and build the tools necessary to achieve that vision.
About nScrypt, Inc
nScrypt, Inc. manufactures micro-dispensing and 3D printing systems. The company specialises in enabling a vast array of micro-dispensing technologies for the electronics, electronic packaging, solar cell metallisation, printed antennas, life sciences, and chemical / pharmaceutical industries through precision material manipulation, mixing, and processing.
nScrypt sells and services specialised patented equipment that performs critical steps in manufacturing procedures. Their direct print technologies address a wide array of customer needs through the creative and innovative use of nScrypt’s advanced printing and micro-dispensing technologies, including 3D printing, laser machining, and conformal coating.
Located in Orlando, Florida, nScrypt’s high-quality manufacturing and research facilities provide an environment for continuous development of new technologies, as well as micro manufacturing of customer products and manufacturing of system-level solutions.