Forward of Formnext 2023, 3D Printing Business spoke to the winners of this 12 months’s Formnext Begin-Up problem.
David Hartmann, CEO and Founding father of Helio Additive Inc., make clear his skilled journey and the origins of his enterprise to make digital manufacturing scalable.
A German-born New Zealander, Hartmann has labored in Germany, Shanghai, Hong Kong, India, and the company rigors of Bayer’s world headquarters in Germany. His affiliation with the chemical big Bayer spanned varied roles, from technique, mergers, and acquisitions to turning into the Senior Vice President for development ventures. These roles handled companies present process transformative adjustments relating to materials necessities and manufacturing setups.
An necessary second occurred throughout a dialog with Dr. Xiaofan Luo, CEO of Polymaker, a top-tier 3D printing supplies producer. Throughout a gathering in 2019, they delved deep into the challenges plaguing digital manufacturing. “Ten years in the past, we thought, if we construct higher printers, we will take care of these reliability and scaling points. However the one method we will clear up the problem is by deeply understanding the physics behind what’s happening after which fixing it in software program.”
Taking this problem head-on, Hartmann left Bayer (by then renamed Covestro) and started creating Helio Additive in 2020. Regardless of the turbulent panorama formed by COVID, Helio was based near Polymaker’s R&D facility in China, which Hartmann acknowledged as a strategic benefit. Emphasizing the startup’s distinction, Hartmann elucidated how tackling the deep tech issues in polymer digital manufacturing deviates from the standard MVP-led startup journey. Their mission was rooted in acknowledging a profound trade drawback and discovering a method to tackle it.
“It’s not simply materials science. It’s not laptop science. It’s not mechanical or electrical engineering; you’re working with an entire mass of advanced issues,” says Hartmann.
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Helio Additive options for scalability and repeatability in Digital Manufacturing
On the coronary heart of those challenges, based on Hartmann, lies the habits of polymers in various thermal environments. He posits that understanding the thermal physics of polymers and the way they’re deposited is significant to minimizing defects in completed components. “We realized early on that you simply wanted to know how the polymers reacted, how the layers bond, how are you going to guarantee there’s no stress buildup within the half.”
Helio Additive launched into making a proprietary course of simulation instrument. In contrast to present choices, this instrument was tailor-made to supply quick and environment friendly thermal evaluation throughout any geometry, printer, or polymer. “In direction of the tip of 2021, starting of 2022, we began to see a technical path that was really scalable. We’re totally cloud-native, which for simulation is critical,” Hartmann defined.
However producing huge quantities of thermal information was just one a part of the equation. Hartmann likens the uncooked information to “a e book in a language you’ve by no means seen.” The problem then turned about translation. That’s the place Helio Additive’s polymer physics crew stepped in, constructing fashions to decipher layer bonding, stress rest, crystallization, and different crucial elements.
Combining these fashions with the thermal information has been the corporate’s distinctive promoting level. By predicting thermal historical past and deciphering it in actionable methods, Helio Additive goals to optimize digital manufacturing processes, decreasing waste and boosting print speeds.
Nevertheless, Hartmann sees the corporate’s function not simply as an answer supplier but in addition as an enabler. “We need to make our API open to companions and allow them to construct on high of what we do. Different individuals will be capable of do far more highly effective stuff than we will even think about,” he mentioned.
Digital Manufacturing’s “Hidden Parameters” decoded by Helio Additive
Within the digital manufacturing panorama, whereas a plethora of knowledge exists, the problem lies in distilling its essence. It is a shift from conventional processes. With digital, information might be overwhelming.
Hartmann clarifies that these “actual parameters” are the intricate, typically unseen, choices made in the course of the course of. “As an engineer, you management pace, temperature, infill, for instance. You management some high-level parameters and let the engine do the remaining for you.” Nevertheless, the seen manifestations of those parameters are the challenges within the output – be it deformation, cracking, or different defects.
Hartmann underscores the essential side of understanding polymers’ habits, “Polymers move. They usually move in a different way at totally different temperatures.” He identifies two main culprits for many output points: layer bonding and stress rest. To mitigate these challenges, it’s crucial to control sure hidden course of parameters. “You’re not controlling to cease warping; you’re controlling to cease stress increase… you’re controlling to cease overheating or overcooling.”
Superior simulation instruments are required, “We are able to’t do this in our heads. We’d like simulation, and we want it at a voxel degree.” Helio Additive’s strategy, due to this fact, is to demystify these hidden parameters, making certain optimum leads to digital manufacturing.
Software program for large-scale Additive Manufacturing
Hartmann explains, “Dragon is a cloud-based software program engine. It offers, by means of an API or a dashboard, entry to the core toolset, which is a thermal simulation, for any geometry, any printer, and any materials.”
The applying of Dragon has seen exceptional leads to large-scale granular-based additive manufacturing. It has enabled customers to “digitally experiment with parameter units,” dramatically decreasing waste and rising effectivity. In a single case examine, Hartmann cited, they managed to “save nicely over 300 kilos of fabric and 4 engineering weeks of labor.” This spectacular achievement equated to “a 70% discount within the scrap” for a single half.
Helio Additive’s first product is a course of dashboard particularly for large-scale granular-based additive manufacturing. Dragon for LSGAM simulates the thermal historical past of a print and can flag areas of concern leading to first-time-right 3D printing, a rise in asset utilization, and decrease scrap charges.
Hartmann additional touched on the rising development of microfactories, emphasizing that merely buying a printer doesn’t assure high quality components. Corporations more and more construct digital manufacturing setups, incorporating varied levels from materials sourcing to post-processing. With Dragon, they will obtain improved transparency and optimization of their processes. Hartmann says, “We are able to act as an auditing high quality step. We all know on a voxel-by-voxel foundation how this half was manufactured.”
Addressing the challenges at present stymying the trade’s potential, Hartmann emphasised the crucial function of his agency in expediting new materials introduction in additive manufacturing.
Projecting into the market potential, the Ark Make investments yearly report on new applied sciences was highlighted, anticipating a surge within the digital manufacturing area. Whereas prototyping has saturated the market, there’s a shift in direction of materials extrusion-based 3D printing, anticipated to catapult the trade in direction of a valuation of “$130 billion by 2030.” Hartmann, nonetheless, raised considerations in regards to the restricted materials sorts out there in additive manufacturing in comparison with standard strategies, suggesting the necessity for additional selection and specificity.
Relating to the give attention to the tip aim of any course of, the CEO mentioned, “It’s not about 3D printing, injection molding, or thermoforming. It’s about manufacturing an element.” Hartmann emphasised the potential effectivity enhancements Helio Additive may carry, stating, “It used to take 5 engineers 18 months to carry a brand new materials to additive manufacturing. And we will slash that massively by shifting all these experiments into the cloud.”
Helio Additive on 3D Printing certification enhancement
Helio Additive can be positioning itself on the forefront of enhancing the qualification and certification processes within the additive manufacturing trade.
Drawing parallels with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) flame retardant certification system, Hartmann defined, “You get a yellow card, and your materials goes by means of very normal hearth security testing.” Nevertheless, he harassed that the identical system must be improved when utilized to 3D printing, noting, “You standardize on geometry. In case you can’t perceive what’s occurred within the printing course of, you’ll be able to’t perceive how your half goes to behave in the true world.”
On this gentle, Helio Additive’s resolution goals to standardize understanding of the printing course of, making certain constant layer bonding akin to bulk materials properties. Attaining this uniformity can pave the best way for real-world certification, mitigating challenges like unpredictable gasoline permeability.
Given the steep bills and time necessities tied to industrializing 3D printing, there’s tangible worth in Helio Additive’s proposition. Hartmann underlined the significance of “certifying the gear output and sustaining a constant course of.”
“We’re an enabler; we’re there behind the scenes to energy these options,” reaffirming Helio Additive’s dedication to streamlining the additive manufacturing certification panorama.
Helio Additive at Formnext
Helio Additive anticipates elevated publicity and strategic collaborations at Formnext. Hartmann emphasised the occasion’s significance, marking it as the primary time their improvements might be showcased. “Formnext is the trade’s occasion of the 12 months,” Hartmann remarked, shedding gentle on their inaugural exhibition. The corporate intends to focus on totally different case research and increase consciousness of its technological choices.
“We’re searching for there’s to construct consciousness for what we’re doing and get individuals coming in,” Hartmann mentioned, highlighting the agency’s main goals. By participating with potential companions and clients, Hartmann views the occasion as a crucial stepping stone to a 12 months of scaling. The last word aim is to drive leads and embark on tasks the place their expertise might be additional understood and utilized.
Go to Helio Additive throughout Formnext 2023; discover them in Corridor 12.0, B81L.
Featured picture exhibits David Hartmann (CEO) & Dr. Priyesh Patel (CTO) of Helio Additive. Picture by way of Helio Additive.
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