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Nikon invests in Optisys and Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences in new metallic 3D printing drive


Japanese optics and imaging multinational Nikon has accelerated its latest 3D printing enlargement by investing in two extra additive manufacturing firms. 

Sizzling on the heels of Nikon’s SLM Options takeover bid, it has now invested in Optisys and Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences (HMT), builders of hybrid 3D printers and additive manufactured antennas respectively. 

Yuichi Shibazaki, VP and GM of Nikon’s Subsequent Era Venture Division, says that transferring forwards, Nikon goals to harness synergies between its portfolio and people of its new 3D printing companions. In doing so, Shibazaki believes it may very well be potential to spice up the applying of each corporations’ choices, whereas working in direction of the targets of Nikon’s digital manufacturing-driven Imaginative and prescient 2030 program. 

“As an trade chief with demonstrated collaborative capabilities, HMT and its AMBIT portfolio are well-matched with Nikon applied sciences,” defined Shibazaki. “We sit up for working with them as a part of our dedication to creating worth and advancing society by way of novel industries like hybrid manufacturing.”

“This funding in HMT is the most recent part of our Subsequent Era Venture program to additional industrialization of digital manufacturing.”

Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies' AMBIT DED printhead. Image via Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies.
Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences’ AMBIT DED printhead. Picture through Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences.

Nikon’s Subsequent Era Venture 

Nikon primarily operates within the optical know-how market, and its providing displays this, protecting all the pieces from digital cameras and binoculars, to microscopes and measuring devices. Nevertheless, the agency has additionally had a stake in 3D printing for a while, buying optical instrument developer Metris again in 2009. 

This was adopted by the institution of a partnership with 3D scanning and modeling firm 3D Engineering Options in 2014, which spawned the creation of a new technology of metrology-grade industrial CT scanners able to utilizing x-rays to penetrate components, and convert scans into 3D fashions and CAD recordsdata.

Since then, Nikon’s 3D scanning methods have been used to qualify 3D printed hip implants for Orthic Balto, and within the growth of Materialise Streamics 3D printing software program. With the launch of its Subsequent Era Venture Division in 2019, nonetheless, the agency modified course, deciding to focus on extra high-growth companies, and this ambition has more and more seen it spend money on 3D printing. 

In April 2021, Nikon purchased metallic 3D printing bureau Morf3D, and earlier this month it stepped this up additional with its bid to take over SLM Options. Provided that the latter’s methods are utilized by the likes of Rolls Royce, BOSCH and Czinger Autos, developer of the 3D printed Czinger 21C hypercar, Nikon’s transfer represents a major step into the trade.

With GE’s failed SLM Options takeover bid valuing the corporate at $745 million in 2016, Nikon’s proposed $622 million deal is also seen as a cut price by comparability. 

An SLM Solutions showroom.
An SLM Options showroom. Picture through SLM Options.

An accelerating AM enlargement?

Only a matter of weeks after saying plans to purchase SLM Options, Nikon has now stepped up its curiosity in 3D printing additional, through investments in Optisys and Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences. The previous is best-known as a specialist in growing metallic 3D printed antenna components for personal and authorities functions.

Previously, Optisys has managed to scale back antenna components by as much as 99% utilizing a mix of 3D printing and simulation software program. Using an SLM Options system, the agency has additionally developed a 3D printed Ka band-tracking antenna for a high-altitude UAV, that includes light-weight, topology-optimized geometries designed to assist scale back the prices of launch suppliers. 

Optisys has been capable of function in these areas due to its built-in design, manufacturing and check processes, which allow half iteration and consolidation. In line with Shibazaki, the agency’s “manufacturing capabilities are well-aligned” with Nikon’s personal, whereas Optisys CEO Janos Opra says recent funding ought to assist it handle “probably the most demanding market segments.”

A 3D printed 4x4 Ka-band tracking antenna.
A 4×4 Ka-band monitoring antenna that Optisys 3D printed utilizing SLM Options’ know-how. Picture through SLM Options.

Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences, in the meantime, focuses on combining 3D printing and milling by way of its AMBIT Directed Power Deposition (DED) heads. As a result of printhead’s built-in design, customers are capable of fabricate components with additive and subtractive applied sciences, while not having to vary machine setup. 

On prime of its established portfolio of AMBIT heads, toolheads, inspection heads and laser scanners, the agency continues to spend money on R&D. In 2020, Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences unveiled ‘AXIOM’ thermoplastic manufacturing, a technique designed to discover a ‘center floor’ with each the advantages of 3D printing, and the top quality and throughput related to injection molding. 

Since then, the corporate has introduced its participation within the FastWireAM program, by way of which it goals to develop a novel compact wire-feed 3D printing system. When the know-how was revealed in early-2021, Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences dedicated to working with TWI and Epoch Wires to optimize its efficiency, and speed up its uptake.

In terms of Nikon’s funding, Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences CEO Jason B. Jones, stated his staff is “honored to obtain funding from such a longstanding know-how chief. He added: “Collectively, we’ll extra absolutely ship on the promise of additive and digital manufacturing. We anticipate the outcomes of this know-how will contact the lives of just about all individuals on earth within the coming a long time.”

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Featured picture exhibits Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences’ AMBIT DED printhead. Picture through Hybrid Manufacturing Applied sciences.



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