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In May 2018, Polish 3D printer manufacturer Sinterit returned with the Lisa Pro SLS system. The latest evolution from the original Lisa 3D printer, the Pro is engineered for industrial quality production on the benchtop.

By invitation to Sinterit’s test facility in Krakow, 3D Printing Industry spent three days learning about the new Lisa Pro, and putting the machine to the test.

Industrial SLS on the benchtop

Though essentially built with the same industrial design structure as its predecessor, the Lisa, the Lisa Pro has received three significant updates that will be taken into consideration in this review.

First of all, the Lisa Pro has been further functionalized by adding optional inert nitrogen gas control to the build chamber. With this addition, Sinterit can expand on its range of desktop ready SLS materials into a wider range of more industrial-grade powders.

Secondly, overcoming one of the most challenging aspects of SLS 3D printing, the Lisa Pro has a larger build volume: the print bed measures 150 x 200 x 260 mm (X x Y x Z) producing a build volume of 316mm. The Lisa 1, for comparison, is 150 x 200 x 150 (X x Y x Z) with a volume of 245 mm.

And thirdly, as hardware updates would be incomplete without software advances, the Lisa Pro comes with a number of under-the hood improvements, enhancing the capabilities of both operation software and 3D printer firmware. 

Left: the original Lisa 3D printer, right: the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit
Left: the original Lisa 3D printer, right: the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit

First impressions and materials

On first impression, the Lisa Pro appears well constructed to industrial standards, and presents a number of attractive design features, such as the front panelling, and an in-built 7 inch touchscreen. It has a robust, sturdy build, which helps deliver low vibration, precise movements and dimensional accuracy.

It is significantly bigger in size compared to the original Sinterit Lisa and fundamentally most of the hardware features are carried over from the earlier design: the X,Y gantry, print bed construction, source bed, recoater, reflectors and protective glass. The belt has a new design, and nitrogen input is simple, labelled clearly on the left hand side. We were also assured that, on release, all appropriate documentation for nitrogen tank attachment would be packaged along with the Lisa Pro.

At present, the company has made 7 materials: PA12 SMOOTH, PA11 ONYX, FLEXA BLACK, FLEXA GREY, FLEXA BRIGHT, FLEXA SOFT and TPE, with more to come in the near future. A selection of these materials were demonstrated during  the Lisa Pro test day, but PA11 ONYX was used for this review.

Under the hood of the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit
Under the hood of the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit

An attractive software package is also available for various institutions. With this package four different temperature settings can be controlled, allowing universities and companies to experiment with their own materials on the Sinterit Lisa Pro.

Sinterit Studio 2019 and setup

Sinterit Studio 2019 beta software was used during the test of the Lisa Pro.Though slicing speed was slightly slower in this pre-market phase, there was a marked improvement in the user experience and the overall aesthetics of the program. The whole slicing experience is step based to make it friendly to both new and experienced users and experts alike. In the program, different infill patterns are also suggested to the manufacturer, in order to reduce the printing time and increase performance.

Once we prepared our test file, an electronic housing case, Sinterit Studio 2019 calculated the estimated print time. In addition, the program communicated how much powder was required for the print, along with the fresh powder weight to be added to the source for to mixing. This feature is a welcome upgrade, as before ratios would have had to be manually calculated before printing.

From here, we moved to the touchscreen. Upgrades to the firmware in the machine aim to remove the risk of user error from setup until part removal. All in all, we found the software/firmware combination intuitive to use. The powder content, glass cleaning and oiling were all conducted under guidance of the in built software which was tremendously helpful – something we can attest to in the early models of the Sinterit Lisa too.

After machine preparation, we transferred the electronics housing test file to the 3D printer via USB and the process started.

Touchscreen on the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit
Touchscreen on the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit

The end product

After leaving the Lisa Pro to print overnight (the job took around 11 hours total), we returned the next morning to process and finish our parts.

Using tools supplied alongside the 3D printer, we were able to quickly remove the majority of the powder cake. The compacted powder chunks were then set it aside for sieving, using the Sinterit Sieve, and recycling in a fresh print.

To remove the finer, more “sticky” powder particles of our object, we were then required to manually sand blast the casing in a separate auxiliary unit.

After repeating this process a couple of times, the parts were completely powder free and clean. Though manual, the process was very simple and well instructed and we did not encounter any issues with the steps involved.

The end parts, which were very rigid as per their material characterization, had an excellent surface finish, and both fitted into one another perfectly.

Finished Raspberry Pi case 3D printed on the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit
Finished Raspberry Pi case 3D printed on the Lisa Pro. Photo via Sinterit

Though a good example of the mechanical capabilities of the machine, this casing did not make full use of the Lisa Pro’s build volume. In the picture below however, showing a full Lisa Pro powder cake, you get a much better idea of the scale possible with the Pro.

Full powder cake demonstrating the build volume of the Lisa Pro. Powder used: PA11. Photo via Sinterit
Full powder cake demonstrating the build volume of the Lisa Pro. Powder used: PA11. Photo via Sinterit

Verdict: the Sinterit Lisa Pro 3D printer

With the Lisa Pro and the company’s ongoing development, Sinterit is now focusing more on the materials – which is one of the major factors in helping users to look beyond typical FDM technology. Additionally, as Sinterit CTO and co-founder Michał Grzymała-Moszczyński explained on our visit, one of the the biggest challenges at the moment is to ramp up the production of benchtop SLS.

The Sinterit Lisa Pro is a well built and carefully engineered machine. With the new nitrogen system, as witnessed, there is a lot of potential to grow for materials availability, and the company, through initiatives like the university package, is working hard to expand this range.

We were impressed by the quality of the print produced during our testing, especially in terms of strength.Though the whole testing process was completed under supervision, we feel the software tools provided by Sinterit, including instructional guides and videos on the company website, are ample resources for first time users.

Overall, the printer delivers on the manufacturer’s claims. The Lisa Pro delivers on print quality, material versatility, and intuitive software features, with the added ability to go larger than before across the Z axis.

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Featured image shows the Sinterit Lisa Pro 3D printer with Sinterit Sieve and sandblasting station. Photo via Sinterit

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Researchers from Pennsylvania State University have created a novel 3D printing method to create tissue building blocks with micropores.

According to the Penn State team, micropores in artificial tissues forming bone and cartilage allow nutrient and oxygen diffusion into the core. By 3D printing stem cells derived from human fat mixed with sodium alginate porogens found in seaweed, the materials can be extruded into tiny particles that, when dissolved, leave behind pores in the fabric of the tissue.

Such additively manufactured porous structures allow both nutrients and other fluids to circulate and demonstrate the potential for lab-grown tissue containing blood vessels. Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, at Penn State said:

“Cells die if nutrients and oxygen can’t get inside. One of the problems with fabrication of tissues is that we can’t make them large in size.”

“These patches can be implanted in bone or cartilage. They can be used for osteoarthritis, patches for plastic surgery such as the cartilage in the nasal septum, knee restoration and other bone or cartilage defects.”

Reconstructed 3D image of porous tissue strand using magnetic resonance imaging. Image via Ozbolat laboratory/Penn State.
Reconstructed 3D image of porous tissue strand using magnetic resonance imaging. Image via Ozbolat laboratory/Penn State.

3D printing tissue with micropores

Considered as an alternative to vascularization, the researchers are creating tissue building blocks with micropores in an effort to grow blood vessels within tissue. The outcome has been dubbed as porous tissue strands.

Using the stem cells mixture, the researchers 3D printed strands of undifferentiated tissue which then combined to form patches of tissue. The tissue was then exposed to a chemical solution which converts the stem cells into specific cells, in this case, bone or cartilage.

As cartilage does not contain blood vessels, porous structures can be easily created to produce implants with natural porosity. Currently, only tiny patches can be made, however, in a recent issue of Biofabrication, the researchers reported that the strands maintained 25% porosity and have pore connectivity of 85% for at least three weeks.

The researchers at Penn State involved in this study include Yang Wu, Monika Hospodiuk, Hemanth Gudapati, Thomas Neuberger, Srinivas Koduru, and Dino J. Ravnic, as well as Weijie Peng, from the department of pharmacology at Nanchang University, China.

The Additive Manufacturing and Reverse Engineering Lab at Penn State. Photo via Penn State.

Submit your nominations now for the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2019.

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Featured image shows a reconstructed 3D image of porous tissue strand using magnetic resonance imaging. Image via Ozbolat laboratory/Penn State.

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If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – wise words from Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the US. He’s right and it’s one of the reasons why an industry has grown up to support firms of all sizes wanting to plan for their future.

After a stint of more than 18 years at Xerox India, Balaji Rajagopalan will be an executive coach and consultant at Arrbee Consulting. The main aim is to be a business transformation expert which will enable small enterprises to realise its full potential. While talking to PrintWeek India, he said, "For smaller enterprises, where time and management bandwidth may be in short supply, the issue of strategic planning is usually ignored. There is a huge shortage of experts for a small business - and what to do next.

Till October 2018, Balaji was the executive director of Xerox India and helmed the technology & channel sales for India as well as South East Asian countries. He is an alumnus of IMT Ghaziabad. Balaji is a techno-commercial leader and is a master black belt of Lean Six Sigma methods. He has conduct senior leadership training on Six Sigma and led business transformation programs. He said, "These workshops helped turnaround in three main functions (sales, customer service and supply chain) during his tenure with a 3x, 5x improvement plus set industry benchmarks."

Balaji is credited for having taken the Xerox digital print business "to double-digit profitable revenue growth in all lines of business in the last three years. Balaji said, "This was

made possible through the introduction of " Ten Commandments of Selling" for channel partners and internal sales team. In 2018, the equipment revenue growth was 35%."

In a conversation with PrintWeek India, Balaji stated the starting point for a print firm in India should be establishing where the business wants to be in fixed time-frame. He felt, "A plan is one of the most important documents a print or packaging firm will ever own as it ties together ideas, targets and plans for the future as well as giving space to consider if those ideas are realistic and workable."

As part of the process, he explained, thought must be given to five key areas: ideas and research; business viability; the purpose of the business and how it communicates; predicting the future; and the development of a clear strategy with a plan for growth over a period of time. He concluded, "If you look around the country you see hundreds and hundreds of plants which are similar. All of them produce good quality at a reasonable price ... which is why, there is a desperate need to find things that make us different".

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Press release from the issuing company

Rochester, N.Y. – Standwill Packaging in Long Island, New York, has invested in a Durst Tau 330 RSC UV inkjet digital label press in a move that Paul Standwill, the company’s Vice-President, says best meets the needs of customers.

The agreement through Durst strategic partner Omet America will enable Standwill Packaging to re-engineer its flexo print production and increase efficiencies, as well as open up new business opportunities.

Standwill Packaging, which has been servicing the cosmetic industry for over 40 years, has a focus on quality, service and innovative thinking. It specializes in cosmetic, personal care and beauty labels and packaging products.

Paul Standwill, Vice President of Standwill Packaging said: “When we researched a digital printing solution to re-engineer our flexo print production to become more efficient, we discovered that the Durst RSC UV inkjet press offered the highest quality print tones along with precise color matching ability and excellent white opacity.

“The staff at Durst and Omet were very knowledgeable and helpful in providing samples and information that was critical in making my decision. After careful evaluation, we concluded that the RSC technology offered the highest quality printing which would allow us to best meet the needs of our customers.”

Durst RSC provides the required flexibility to produce fast, efficient and with the highest print quality for the complete range of label and packaging applications. Small, medium, and now long runs are highly profitable with digital systems from Durst. The options are virtually unlimited and open up an enormous potential for new products and services in an ever-changing market.

With Durst continuous innovation of the Tau 330 UV portfolio, users can 'Configure their Digital Future' - available as stand-alone or an entirely automated Omet XJet production unit with integrated conventional & digital finishing lines.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Press release from the issuing company

Strategic course-setting for digital printing solutions

The modular concept of the VariJET combines the opportunities of digital inkjet with the acknowledged printing and inline finishing capabilities of the offset process for folding carton printing

To further advance the development of future-oriented digital printing solutions with added value for customers in the folding carton and corrugated printing markets, Koenig & Bauer AG and Durst Phototechnik AG from Brixen/Italy have agreed to pool their know-how and strengths in a 50/50 joint venture. A corresponding letter of intent has been signed by both companies. The planned joint venture is to be based in Germany and – subject to merger control approval – will assume responsibility for the development, integration, manufacturing and worldwide distribution of water-based, single-pass digital printing presses for folding carton and corrugated board. Ink and service business relating to the presses sold jointly through the global networks of the two parent companies is also to be handled by the joint venture. As a first milestone for the joint venture, manufacturing of the VariJET press for digital folding carton printing is to be commenced in time for drupa 2020.

Claus Bolza-Schünemann, CEO of Koenig & Bauer AG: “We are looking forward to joint innovations and further developments in future-oriented digital printing technology for folding carton and corrugated board, and not least to the added value this will offer to our customers. With its wealth of existing know-how, extensive inkjet experience and high-quality solutions, Durst Phototechnik AG is the ideal partner with whom to pursue the defined objectives. As digital printing pioneers, the company has been developing inkjet applications for 25 years and is very successful in digital printing on ceramics, textiles and corrugated board.”

Christoph Gamper, CEO of Durst Phototechnik AG: “Durst is a technology leader in the field of inkjet printing and has already contributed to the digital transformation of production processes in various branches. In the printing industry and in surface decoration, in particular, Durst printing systems are deemed to set the standards with regard to print quality and productivity. The partnership with Koenig & Bauer now opens up new prospects, as Koenig & Bauer commands not only engineering expertise, but also very good access to the market. By combining our know-how, we are in an ideal position to develop and offer fully automatic production lines and will thus also be able to contribute to digital transformation in the folding carton and corrugated industry.”

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