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AMT Tech Report: Issue #159

“Copying your competitor won't help you beat your competitor. You need to think beyond your competitor.” – Gerhard Plenert and Bill Kirchmier
May 21, 2021

3D printing lithium-ion batteries for Japanese carmakers. From V12 to 12v: Lambo going plug-in hybrid. Laser industrial 3D Camera for AI-Defined Robotics. Tuning the ratio of 3D bonding agents to achieve flexibility. Desktop Metals acquires Adaptive3D.

1. Additive Batteries

3D-printed solid-state batteries (or 3DPSSBs because why not?) is, in fact, a thing. Can confirm. Sakuu Corp. will supposedly have their additive-made lithium-ion batteries ready by Q4 of this year. I’ve been asking around if anybody has heard of Sakuu, and with exception to an Asian bakery/deli in Arkansas, not even ye olde Google machine has heard of it! My apologies if I’m coming off as a bit pessimistic, but a quick Tom Glancy at their homepage sure promises a whole lot from this additive battery tech. However, if the infallible Japanese auto industry has bought in, there is most definitely something special here!


2. Lamborghini’s Electrification Plan Sparks Zero Joy

Speaking of advanced battery tech and the automotive industry, have you heard new Lambos will only be offered as plug-in hybrids by 2024? I’m gonna have a panic attack. This is the quartz crisis all over again. The house of the raging bull was only ever supposed to make V12s (and tractors – but that’s beside the point). Do you remember what happened when Lamborghini introduced the runt V10 Gallardo to the lineup? Car afficionados the world over fell to their knees and cried out: “Why must we be punished like this? What have we done to have two cylinders torn from us?” Then, to rub salt in our wounds, they took away the manual transmission! So, what was the result of these awful decisions? It pains me to say it, but the tech improved. The Gallardo became not just the bestselling Lambo of all time, but the bestselling supercar of all time! And for the first time in a long time, Lamborghini made a profit. Now they think they can do it again with hybrids made using the latest advanced manufacturing technology.


3. Laser Industrial 3D Camera For AI-Defined Robotics

Every day, material handling/processing equipment, metrological equipment, and AI seem to become more and more intertwined. “The new industrial 3D camera presents ambient light resistance, high-accuracy imaging, and extended field-of-view … overcomes ambient light interference, greatly optimizing the operational capacity of industrial robotics.”


4. Not a New Type of Additive but a New Concept

When I first watched the three-minute video in the article, I thought, “This isn’t that special; all they did was make a CN J-B Weld applicator!” Well, yeah, kind of. But it’s still cool and a little fancier than that. It’s a combination of material extrusion and material jetting. I mention J-B Weld because the tech mixes two bonding agents like the popular epoxy but does so in midair before it lands on the workpiece. What’s really cool is the ratio of the two agents used is tunable for flexibility; and not just for the whole print – it can vary throughout the print as desired! Again, I don’t think there’s anything groundbreaking here, but it is very cool nonetheless.


5. Desktop Metal and More!

If you haven’t heard, Desktop Metal’s kind of a big deal. Metal additive has been popular in the industry at least as far back as 2016, when additive companies filled the Emerging Technology Center of IMTS 2016. Naturally, all the technology consumers in a metal-heavy industry asked, “Yeah, but where’s the metal?” However, plastics have since come a long way, and this here is some undeniable evidence!


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Stephen LaMarca
Manufacturing Technology Analyst
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