Earlier this year in March BCN3D Technologies, one of the leading manufacturers of desktop 3D printers worldwide, had launched its patented Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM technology), which uses high viscosity resins to create stronger and better 3D printed parts. Now the company has announced that it will ship the first 20 commercial VLM 3D printers to its customers in spring 2023.
The VLM technology, which was developed over three years, sparked widespread interest around the world, with more than 500 companies registering to be early adopters of the development of this ecosystem.
BCN3D has responded to the demand by partnering with Arkema and Henkel to obtain material properties and applications that would otherwise be unattainable with other resin-based technologies, as well as by announcing its commitment to deliver VLM systems to 20 of the companies currently enrolled in its Technology Adoption Program in Spring 2023.
Technology Adoption Program
Registrations for the Technology Adoption Program have flooded in. Applicants have come from all over the world, with the United States receiving the most, followed by Germany and other European countries. BCN3D began local operations in North America in late 2021, and use cases with VLM were publicly presented in April during the Rapid+TCT show in Detroit, resulting in a spike in Technology Adoption Program registrations.
The initial premise for this gathering of early adopters was to orient the go-to-market by gathering market information across a broad range of vertical markets. As a result, BCN3D is able to pay close attention to the actual needs of customers, particularly those in the Manufacturing, Automotive, Engineering, Dental, Prosthetics & Orthotics, Jewellery, Product Design, 3D printing services, and footwear industries.
Insights from the VLM technology Adoption Program
The diversity of early adopters provides BCN3D with valuable insights: current AM limitations can be detected precisely, industry and material trends can be identified, and the company has personal contact with engineers operating 3D printing labs in a variety of companies. Because of VLM’s versatility, it can cover the entire fabrication life-cycle, from product design to fabrication. BCN3D believes that the benefits will be obvious in prototyping and end-use parts.
VLM technology was designed to achieve the three main pillars of providing superior part performance, high production capacity, and accessible and frictionless operation all at the same time, unlocking complete manufacturing autonomy. The findings of the Technology Adoption Program point to some interesting applications that are on the rise, because all manufacturers equipped with this technology can experience full control over every stage of their production processes with AM solutions.
Some of the main applications taken from this research include;
- End-use parts with low emissions, elastomeric components, biocompatible parts, and mass customization of high-temperature and high-resistance parts
- In the medical sector, multi-property opportunities range from the need for different biocompatibility requirements in dentistry to complex combinations of rigid and flexible parts in prosthetics and orthosis.
- Last but not least, the obvious applications for mass production of functional parts include nesting strategies with water-soluble supports that do not require manual polishing or overmoulding solutions.
Those involved in material development are among the many applicants. These elite AM users are developing and testing new ways to use the high viscosity resins that distinguish VLM.
“The overwhelming initial reception for our most recent innovation has surpassed our expectations and set the tone for the onset of the distribution of our first VLM commercial systems. We’ve been able to hone in on what really matters to each individual company by gathering real, tangible information from experienced engineers. We’re aware of special interest regarding multi-material, and thus multi-property and water-soluble applications. Of course, functional materials also hold huge potential.”– Xavier M. Faneca, CEO of BCN3D Technologies
What’s still to come next Spring
The response to the release of VLM technology has exceeded expectations, and BCN3D’s VLM agenda now includes the transition to a full-fledged hardware system to serve the world’s most experienced Additive Manufacturing teams. BCN3D has chosen 20 of its most prestigious customers to be among the first to receive these systems, which will be installed in their own facilities in the spring of 2023. This will provide each company with in-house access while still maintaining continuous contact and support from the application development service’s dedicated materials and applications engineers at BCN3D.
Overall, VLM’s growing popularity stems from its approach to achieving manufacturing autonomy that is otherwise unattainable in the current AM market. Following the success of the VLM Technology Adoption Program release and registration, BCN3D has set out to implement a powerful go-to-market strategy for the commercialization of VLM printers. Users and enthusiasts can expect even more VLM updates in November 2022 at the international Formnext exhibition and conference in Frankfurt, Germany.
The VLM Technology Adoption Program is still accepting new applications, as well as the chance to be one of the companies selected to receive VLM units in Spring 2023. Following the high volume of applications, BCN3D is focusing on expanding access to the dedicated VLM Printing Center and expanding its application service with more dedicated materials and application engineers.
VLM™ is a registered trademark of BCN3D Technologies
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