Rapid + TCT once again provides an invaluable forum for interaction with Industrial 3D Printing professionals

Chemson’s presence at this year’s RAPID +TCT event in Fort Worth, Texas, provided Chemson with an invaluable forum for understanding the potential for the 3D Vinyl™ PVC technology applications for industrial 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing. Furthermore, this year’s event was attended by all three co-inventors of the 3DVinyl™ technology, Greg Harrison, Dr. Dieter Klamman and Dennis Planner. 

Having all three co-inventors at the same AM/3DP industry event is a rare occurrence, enabling them to meet with AM/3DP Subject Matter Experts and to directly address technical and applications questions. Attendance at RAPID also afforded the opportunity to collectively explore the state of the art in advanced materials, hardware, software and peripherals in the industrial Additive Manufacturing sector.

From the 3D Vinyl™ co-inventors:

We asked these three PVC and AM/3DP sector innovators to give us their assessment of the 2018 RAPID +TCT event.

Read on for commentary thoughts on their recent RAPID + TCT experience , and how they see the event informing and potentially influencing Chemson, as the 3DVinyl™ technology is further refined and developed:

L-R: Greg Harrison, Dennis Planner and Dr. Dieter Klamann
From Dr. Dieter Klamann (Managing Director Chemson Pacific – APAC):

“This year’s RAPID event provided us with brilliant insight into the evolving world of industrial 3D printing. The technology has truly evolved and printing techniques improved markedly. There was a noticeable emphasis of improvements of FFF/Material Extrusion systems for true industrial applications, well-represented by increased sizes of printers displayed, as well as dramatic increases in printing speed, accuracy and quality.  All of these aspects were impressively demonstrated by Titan Robotics (with whom Chemson has been cooperating with for several years now). Titan demonstarted the newest iterations of their Atlas platform, which is now offers high flow-rate Pellet Extrusion and, high-speed filament capabilities”.

Significant advances from the integration of industrial robotics and material extrusion

“In addition to observing Titan’s considerable lead on high flow-rate pellet extrusion (already compatible with Chemson’s 3D Vinyl™ technology…) we saw several impressive new products. Most noteworthy were “bolt-on” thermoplastics pellet extrusion systems, using dedicated PLC controllers. These systems,  like the Models 19, 30 and 60 from from Strangpresse are designed to retrofit onto standard 5, 6, 7 DOF industrial robots (Kuka, ABB, Fanuc, etc.). The Strangpresse extruders are already standard equipment on many of the systems developed  by the large scale Additive technologies division at Oak Ridge National Laboratories

Strangpresse Model 19 Thermoplastic Pellet Extruder on Fanuc Industrial Robot


“These state of the art polymer-based technologies attracted a constant stream of visitors. Fortunately, upon learning that there was pre-established comaptibility with our PVC, many then came straight over to speak with us about Chemson’s 3D Vinyl™ technology for pellet extrusion”.

“All of these systems are exceptionally well-suited for 3D Vinyl™.  Furthermore, In addition to those who had already indicated their intent to test 3D Vinyl™ on these systems, we met with several firms interested in acting as beta-testers in cooperation with Chemson. These firms have specific commercial manufacturing interests in the pellet-extrusion segment of industrial 3D printing”.

From Greg Harrison (former MD- Chemson Pacific, now lead technical consultant to the Chemson Industrial 3D Printing Materials Group):

“This year was my second RAPID experience, and once again, it proved to be an ideal gathering spot for all experts on 3D printing. I was grateful for the opportunity to finally meet in person with some of the highly skilled Subject Matter Experts who have been helping Chemson as beta testers of the 3D Vinyl™ technology.  These experts continue to help Chemson better understand not only the mechanical performance characteristics of our technology, but also shed light on its specialized potential when enhanced by optimization at the software level.  We had a number of high-value discussions with Frank McKiel, Griffin Harrison of Waypoint Consulting, and Nick Booth of Push Plastic, regarding advances in the software/control architecture of industrial 3DP systems as well as the electro-mechanical and hardware dimensions”.

Chemson 3D Vinyl™ PVC providing unique properties value to the orthotics and prosthetics sector

“RAPID also provided the opportunity to meet Brent Wright.  Brent and his team in North Carolina, have been doing some extraordinary beta testing, exploring the possibilities for Chemson’s 3D Vinyl™ technology to provide unique solutions to Orthotics and Prosthetics professionals using 3D Printing”.

“Brent is a highly regarded Prosthetist and Orthotist, doing groundbreaking work along with other prosthetics professionals using 3D Printing to integrate 3DP/AM technologies into rapid fabrication of affordable prosthetics. He does this both through his “day job”, and when he puts on his Superhero outfit, as the co-founder of the LifeNabled non-profit. LifeNabled travels to remote locations in Central America to provide rapid, on-site fabrication of prosthetics, using high-end, desktop 3D printers with “pro mods” that have been customized for use in remote locations”.

“It’s rewarding to think that our technology can help ameliorate human suffering…”

“Brent and his team have been providing invaluable feedback to Chemson on 3D Vinyl™,  and have indicated that they feel strongly about the material’s potential. Brent said he thinks the right 3D Vinyl™ formulation absolutely has a place as an end-use material for prosthetics customers”.

“Naturally, any application of our technology where it provides unique value on a technical level,  and simultaneously helps professionals like Brent and those at LifeNabled ameliorate the suffering of those in need of prosthetics, is a rare use case.  Any manufacturer would be thrilled to be involved with such a use case, and Chemson is thrilled.”

From Dennis Planner (Technical Manager 3D Vinyl™ – Chemson Europe):

“First of all, RAPID is always hugely informative, and provides us with the chance to meet and get to know the unique needs of potential customers. It also gives us the chance to address a wide variety of applications questions, ranging from the utterly fascinating to the mundane,  and to meet in-person with those we have been working with remotely. Finally, RAPID is one of the best events to engage with those who are genuine AM/3DP experts, many who have expressed an interest in getting involved in the field testing and beta testing for our technology. Above all, it’s the largest North American gathering of AM/3DP professionals at the cutting edge of manufacturing and service bureau businesses who are genuinely “in the trenches”.

“This year was no exception, and we came away with evolved thinking, inspired by discussions with stakeholders directly involved, or else acting as Tier-1 service bureau providers to the Aerospace, marine, automotive, water processing, transportation, renewable energy, HVAC, space exploration, robotics, defense and medical/orthotics and prosthetics sectors, just to name a few”.

Service bureaus providing high-value field testing data and insight into key industrial verticals

“RAPID provided us with a forum for high-value discussions with the aforementioned stakeholders regarding current and future 3D Vinyl™ formulations.  We had an overwhelming number of requests for samples,  many coming from service bureau entities like 3D Printing Tech in Atlanta, Ga. This is particularly exciting due to the field testing feedback these entities can provide. Working with those who are servicing customers every day will supply unparalleled value to our efforts to explore and expand the boundaries of the 3D Vinyl™ technology”.

Simply no substittute for informed technical feedback from professionals using 3D Printing to solve complex problems

“Since Chemson’s 3D Vinyl™ PVC technology is both new to the industrial 3D Printing sector, and PVC within AM/3DP is, at least at present, unique to Chemson, the additional technical and applications expertise provided by select hardware manufacturers, engineering/manufacturing firms, university research labs and service bureau entities is simply invaluable; we know the technology inside and out at Chemson, but there’s only so much we can do field test it; we’re excited to receive feedback from experts in the field like Josh and Jason, and the other SME’s we met at RAPID as soon as we turn the corner on the next set of rigid formulations”.

Inquiries regarding Chemson’s 3D Vinyl™ technology in space:

“RAPID 2018 did provide a noticeable increase in the quantity of inquiries from those entities describing their industrial 3D Printing applications needs as directly or indirectly related to space exploration, as several visitors were interested in polymer qualities especially relating to space travel or use in systems designed for colonization of other planets”.

“These discussions stimulated new thinking about future development of specialized formulations for the base 3D Vinyl™ technology, as PVC’s inherent molecular mass, flame retardancy and hardness of rigid vinyl certainly make it appear suited for further research of applications in this realm”.

Chemson is all about creating specialized formulations 

“Indeed, the discussions about the potential for 3D Vinyl™ to have a role in some dimension of 21st century space exploration/colonization inspired us to drive to drive from Fort Worth to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, to absorb some of the history of the Space Program, and to see if we could gain some insight as to the challenges posed by the present and future of space technologies and the possible role that Chemson’s technology might play. It was an absolutely fascinating day, and indeed we were able to have conversations with a number of exceptionally well-informed docents and other NASA staff at the facility along these lines. We certainly have our work cut out for us moving forward, but that’s the way we like it”.

Chemson’s 3D Vinyl™ pellets extruding on the Titan Atlas with heated chamber
Griffin Harrison of Waypoint Consulting chats with Frank McKiel
L-R: Griffin Harrison, Frank McKiel, and the 3D Vinyl™ co-inventors
The 3D Vinyl™ co-inventors with Brent Wright of Lifenabled
Prosthetic socket prototype printed with 3D Vinyl™
Dr. Dieter Klamann, Jason Daenzer and Josh Stover
3D Vinyl™ co-inventors with the Mars Orion space capsule at Johnson Space Center, Houston
3D Vinyl™ co-inventors at the “Life on Mars” exhibit at Johnson Space Center, Houston