Top five most innovative 3D printing companies
We’ve all heard of the top three biggest players in the 3D printing industry – Stratasys, 3D Systems, and Hewlett-Packard – but what about the smaller innovators who are making great and unusual strides themselves? We explore five of the most interesting examples in the industry.
Made in Space
Founded in 2010, this American company focusses on the development of 3D printing for uses in the space sector. It has been working collaboratively with NASA to develop additive manufacturing in zero gravity, with the future intent of taking the technology to the trickier environments of other planets. The heads of the company hope that one day we will be able to produce space technology in space, rather than needing to launch it from Earth.
Local Motors, launching in 2007 in the US, is most famous for developing the first 3D printed car – the Strati. It followed this breakthrough with a road-ready version, the LM3D, and a completely autonomous electric shuttle. Local Motors wants to entirely reimagine how cars are produced and plan for a more sustainable future.
German company Doob Group has only been around since 2013, but has already made a name for itself by tapping into selfie culture. It creates personalised 3D replicas of people – literally 3D selfies – with its own special scanning and printing systems. Doob Group even has its own shops in some of the world’s biggest capital cities, within which can be found its ‘Dooblicator’ scanning systems.
Food Ink hit the UK press hard recently when news of the first British restaurant to serve 3D printed food appeared. However, the company already had a restaurant in the Netherlands – where the company was born in 2014 – and both have received great acclaim. It offers a truly unique (at a high price) dining experience, and the pop-up will continue to tour the world following popular demand.
This French company, beginning only last year, works on the simple concept of developing cloud-based 3D modelling software which is said to be as easy as building on Minecraft. The file can then be fully customised on 3D Slash’s own editor, or sent directly to a printing service.
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Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.