WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Posted by Editor On September - 16 - 2017

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

There was much to see and discover at this year’s WESTEC Conference

WESTEC 2017, the west coast’s largest manufacturing trade show and expo, delivered an impressive selection of companies on display, with much to see and discover.
Geared toward the milling and fabrication crowd, the show was a cavalcade of robotic devices, cutting tools, software engineers, filtering systems, and, of course, 3D printing manufacturers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

VP of sales Marc Franz at Raise3D, a new 3D printer manufacturer promising superior resolution and affordable costs

A new appearance this year was 3D printing manufacturer Raise3D. Vice President of sales Marc Franz was there to promote the new company, and he was enthusiastic about the resolution quality of his company’s products, especially when their price tag is approximately $1,000 less than comparable 3D printers.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

UnionTech representative Fred Kaplan, SOMOS’s Kevin Zarkis, and internationally-recognized industry expert Frank Speck at the UnionTech booth

Another company worth mentioning is UnionTech. The Chinese company has only recently begun marketing their products here in the U.S., but they are making a significant impact in the industry with the quality of their stereolithography prints. Jeremy Owen, midwest sales manager for RP America, mentioned that adding UnionTech to their list of companies they represent has given them a tremendous advantage in providing their customers with flawless SLA printing. And since UnionTech is open-source, material availability is unlimited and maintenance on the machines is a breeze.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Airwolf3D sales representative Paul Gallagher was swamped by WESTEC 2017 attendees at the Airwolf3D booth

Airwolf3D was also there, but it was hard to get a chance to speak to the staff through the student crowd that was three-deep at the booth. With the success of their Hydrofill water-soluable support material and the growing popularity of their Axiom 3D printer, it was easy to understand why they were a conference favorite. Other 3D printers there included 3D Systems, Stratasys, MarkForged, HP, Rize, and Ultimaker.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

Taylor Dawson of Hexagon displays both the ease of use and robust functionality of the Hexagon scanning software

Matterhackers was available for guidance on materials and online rapid prototyping questions, as was Purple Platypus. 3D scanning companies were also present and they included Innovmetric, Zeiss, Creaform, FARO, Capture3D, and Hexagon. As high-end 3D scanning remains an expensive but necessary investment for companies to make, WESTEC proved to be a great venue for comparing scanning products.

WESTEC 2017 Event Report

AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang talks about his company’s recent landmark innovation in rotary cutting tools, an adapter that uses ultrasonic vibration for improved CNC performance

Every show has something new to discover, and WESTEC 2017 was no exception. This year’s surprise development in technological innovation goes to AccuServe.
While this product may not be directly related to the practice of 3D printing, the inspired genius of their newly patented device could not escape our attention.
We spoke at length with AccuServe General Manager Charles Huang regarding the creation of their CNC tool adapter and were amazed at what this device can do for milling and drilling operations.

“What we have created is the next step in the use of ultrasonic frequencies to improve the cutting tool operation,” said Huang as he held the tool. “Before this, there was UM, ultrasonic manufacturing, which uses sound waves to penetrate materials. This is RUM, rotary ultrasonic manufacturing.”

Huang pointed out that, when dealing with dense, hard materials such as tungsten and high-tempered glass or ceramics, machinists would have to increase their revolutions up to ridiculously high speeds to burrow into the material. Through the use of RUM and the application of ultrasonic frequencies directed to the cutting tool, machinists were able to burrow faster, at lower RPMs, with cleaner, tighter results. “Because the ultrasonic frequencies are able to ‘peck’ at the surface being drilled, the molecular structure of the material is weakened and the build-up of material on the cutting tool is shaken away. With the addition of this adapter, precision is increased dramatically, and the instance of material fracture is greatly reduced.” Huang went on to say that the companies using their product were reporting a 30% to 70% reduction in cutting time and a valued cost savings in their material inventory, thanks to the lessened rate of fracture. The price tag for the adapter is under $12,000 — a comparable savings to the $400,000 CNC machines that can do similar work with similar RUM technology.

To find out more about the RUM cutting adaptor, visit AccuServe at AccuSereMTS.com. And be sure to sign up now for next year’s WESTEC conference.