More highly automated and Cloud based 3d printing

MIT spinout New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) has brought to market the only fully automated commercial 3-D printer that’s equipped with cloud-based queuing and automatic part removal, making print jobs quicker and easier for multiple users, and dropping the cost per part.

To use the printer, called NVPro, a user submits a project from any device, which queues up in the NVCloud software. When a part gets printed, a retractable blade cuts the piece out and moves it into a bin, and the next project begins automatically. Projects can be monitored remotely via webcam.

It was commercially launched last April, the printer is now used at more than 100 businesses and schools, primarily as an education tool. Over the past year, there have been more than 84,000 prints, saving more than 165,000 labor hours, according to the startup.

NVLabs, the startup’s research arm, is now bolstering security, analyzing big data, working with materials, and improving human-robotic interfaces for 3-D printing. In January, NVLabs spun out Digital Alloys, a startup developing high-speed, multimetal manufacturing systems that run at lower costs than traditional systems.


MIT spinout New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) has brought to market the only fully automated commercial 3-D printer that’s equipped with cloud-based queuing and automatic part removal, making print jobs quicker and easier for multiple users, and dropping the cost per part.

Moving forward, NVLabs and Digital Alloys will bring even more innovations to 3-D printing, Perez says.

Digital Alloys is developing a new print head that, according to the startup, allows for multimetal prints at significantly higher speeds than traditional methods, for aerospace, defense, and automotive applications.

Traditionally, metal printing systems are a layer-by-layer slog. One layer of powder, about 20 to 50 microns thick, gets spread across a plate. A laser positioned above the plate melts one layer of powder to the layer below. This repeats until the object is complete. Digital Alloys’ process uses thicker wire as the material, which builds up more quickly. The industry leader for metal printing produces 2 kilograms per day, while Digital Alloys produces 20 kilograms, Perez says.

NVLabs is gathering data on NVBOTS printers to improve performance. Each time a user prints, the startup gathers data on the job’s success, quality, length, and material, among other information. Since launch, the startup has generated 3.8 terabytes of data related to the manufacturing process. The lab is also tackling security issues, improving human-machine interfaces, and, as a major challenge, enabling 3-D printing with any plastic.

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