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3D printing has been a huge step forward for many industries, sometimes completely changing the game for some of them, but there are some companies that are looking to take 3D printing even farther. These startups are experimenting with adding different material enhancement and tech to offer a better product using better 3D printing materials while still saving money and time.

Carbon, a six year old startup based in California is one of those companies hoping to propel 3D printing beyond just prototyping and manufacturing. They are hoping to achieve this through continuous liquid interface production or CLIP technology. The company described the technology as “a photochemical process that eliminates the shortcomings of conventional 3D printing by harnessing light and oxygen to rapidly produce objects from a pool of resin.”

In collaboration with Specialized, a bicycle maker and in partnership with Riddel and Adidas, Carbon has now developed a new bicycle seat that will use the same lattice structured Elastomeric Polyurethane seen in Adidas’ Future Craft sneaker and Riddell’s SpeedFlex helmet.

By using this new 3D printing material, the seat is able to act as suspension for the rider, rebounding quickly underneath the rider. This feeling of suspension and the ability to disperse pressure could contribute to a more comfortable ride and result in fewer injuries for riders.

According to, the saddle is more eco-friendly than other 3D printed products due to its solvent-free post processing technique. They also stated that because the saddle uses “Mirror Technology”, the seat is able to adjust to the riders anatomy, increasing the comfort of the saddle even more.

Wanna learn more about the latest innovations in 3D printing? Find out what researchers at Iowa State University are experimenting with.


In 2017, the founders of FarmWise, a Silicon Valley based startup, had an idea for a new method of removing weeds for large farms without the use of chemicals. The result was an autonomous weeding robot that offered a huge benefit to most of the Midwest and is currently working in farms across the United States.

“We wanted to build an automated machine for farmers,” said the co-founder of FarmWise, Thomas Palomares. “We saw the labor challenges, the problems with chemicals and all the regulations around them, and we had an idea to help.” In December of 2017, he and his friend Sébastien Boyer formed their startup and started conducting a seed round of funding. With the 5.7 million dollars they raised, they began to design and build their prototype. The prototype was able to differentiate between weeds and crops as it drove over the field and pull out weeds, leaving the crops unscathed. Once the working prototype was built, they began to conduct the initial test in California.

While the initial tests were a huge success, they started to run into a bit of hurdle. They machines were working perfectly, but they had no way to mass produce them. “We had a big challenge – getting everything ready for a huge scale-up of machine-making,” Palomares said. “That meant all aspects of scaling – not just manufacturing, but support, shipping, hardware, and more as machines hit the fields.”

Through PlanetM, a Michigan based partnership that connects companies with automotive manufactures, FarmWise was able to partner up with Roush Industries, a design and manufacturing firm based in Detroit that has a lot of experience in auto racing. “We’ve been known for many things over time,” said the CEO of Roush, Evan Lyall. “Now we specialize in product development, commercialization, and engineering consultation.” FarmWise’s concept of an automated vehicle wasn’t completely new to Roush. They had previously worked on a self-driving automobile for Google’s Waymo project, about a decade ago. “We have other things in the works in a similar vein as well – but those are confidential,” Lyall said.

Roush was exactly what FarmWise needed. “This was a great opportunity for FarmWise to make use of Roush’s capabilities,” said Lyall. “We can serve as a bridge between low and super-high production volume. As they get big, we can help them move to automated systems, and move their manufacturing to scale.”

“This is a very exciting partnership and exchange of knowledge,” said Palomares. “It’s giving us exposure into what it takes to make long-lasting products for harsh environments. Roush already had an extensive knowledge of what works – and it’s impossible to re-invent everything.”

Another important partnership for FarmWise was with the farmers themselves. “We’ve been working with farmers from day one,” Palomares explained. “We’ve shared what we’re doing and we’ve been getting their feedback on a daily basis. We wanted to make sure we’re building a machine they want, and that they’re willing to pay for.”

The framing partnership was a new experience for Roush. “This is an interesting example of how the world is changing,” Lyall said. “From our end, we’ve seen it before in automotive, aerospace, and defense – the increasing use of automated vehicles. Now we’re seeing it in agriculture.”

“We’re proud of the partnership,” Lyall stated. “It’s great to help make tech come to life quicker, in a way that will benefit all of us.”

As FarmWise begins to scale-up their production, they are conducting a final review of their designs and manufacturing process. Their goal for this year is to produce around a dozen automated weeding machines. “We’ve got their supply chain all set up,” said Lyall. “The scale-up will offer an opportunity to continue to refine it.”

FarmWise is continuing to refine things from their side as well. “This is what it means to bring innovation together with knowledge in a given field,” Palomares said. “We’re building new technology on top of existing things that already work very well. We don’t have to disrupt everything.”

Once they get their autonomous weeder in full production, FarmWise plans to apply their technology to other farming applications. One idea they’re currently considering is automating fertilization for different crops. For the moment, both companies are very pleased with their partnership and how it was able to bring together very different skill sets from very different parts of the country. “This is just a great example of Silicon Valley and the Midwest working together,” said Lyall. “It’s the California technology startup FarmWise bringing their expertise to bear on a common farm problem, and then taking advantage of the industrial knowledge in the Midwest for manufacturing.”


Industry, Innovation
Most of today’s drones are designed for basic aerial photography, but there are some that have been recently outfitted with flamethrowers. Designed by Throwflame, the TF-19 Wasp was made for industrial or agricultural use to remotely and safely ignite ground or aerial targets. By using the TF-19 drones, companies can safely remove debris from power lines, eliminate insect nests, and create remote agriculture burns. The TF-19 Wasp has an ignition range of up to 25 feet and a fuel capacity of one gallon, giving the drone a torching time of about a minute and a half. Throwflame designed the drone off of the DHI S1000 which offers a five pound payload capacity. The DJI S1000 then connects to a rail attachment which allows for flamethrower use.

Interested in reading about other real world drone applications? Check out FLIR Systems’ Black Hornet pocket drone.

Up until now, Ice Berg lettuce has been a tough crop to automatically collect, but engineers at the University of Cambridge have created a new robot, called Vegebot that harvests lettuce using a machine learning algorithm. According to The Journal of Field Robotics, what originally started as a proof of concept lab test has now advanced to a full fledge machine that has been consistently and successfully picking lettuce in an assortment of different fields.

The Vegebot has a computer vision system built into it and using its overhead camera, it can identify the head of lettuce and determine whether the lettuce is still growing, ready to harvest or diseased. After the Vegebot determines that the lettuce is ready to harvest, a second camera is used to guide a Universal Robots UR10 arm with a blade anchored to it to cut the head. A gripper or end effector is then used to collect the harvested lettuce from the ground.

While this prototype was success in picking the lettuce, researchers admitted that this process currently takes more time and is less efficient that using human workers and still needs a lot of work. Harvesting lettuce automatically is an arduous problem to solve because the heads grow low to the ground making it difficult to cut and they can be easily damaged during handling.

The researchers at Cambridge were able to use a set of lettuce images to train the Vegebot to recognize and classify diseased or infected heads of lettuce through a machine-learning algorithm. They were also able to teach the Vegebot the proper grip to employ when handling the delicate crop so it doesn’t get damaged. Although not fully complete yet, the Vegebot and other robotic harvesters could not only help relieve labor shortages in the farming industry but it could also diminish food waste.  Instead of picking the whole field in one pass, forthcoming iterations, according to researchers will be able to continuously and repeatedly analyze and harvest fully developed vegetables 


In an effort to raise road safety, a new prototype for an airless tire was produced by Michelin, an automotive tire company in partnership with General Motors.

The prototype, called Uptis needs to be tested and approved before they become commercially available.  We expect to see them on models in 2024 at the earliest.  The partnership has plans to test the Uptis in Michigan on the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle within the year.

The Uptis prototype was created with two main objectives in mind. The first was to give the drivers of the road another layer of safety by eradicating the chance of flat tires or blowouts. The second was to reduce environmental harm by limiting the need for replacement or spare tires.

Uptis was first revealed in 2017 as Vision. The project hoped to develop the mobility of the future that would incorporate features like airless, 3D printed and renewable or bio sourced materials 

According to Michelin, the airless tires can work with all types of vehicles from autonomous self driving cars to all electric cars and many other applications.

The composite material that the tires are made of and the architecture removes the need for compressed air so the tires have an almost non-existent level of maintenance. There are around 200 million tires that are thrown away annually due to flat tires or penetrations from road hazards. Uptis removes the need to replace these 200 million tires, helping the environment by saving the raw materials used to make spare tires.


In Quarter 1 of 2019 FLIR systems received a 39.6 million dollar contract for their Black Hornet PRS(Personal Reconnaissance System) drones by the United States Army. These tiny drone systems are no bigger than a human fist being only 4 inches long and weighing 1.16 ounces. They are designed to be deployed and operated  by a single soldier.Their small size makes them easier for soldiers to transport, but their biggest edge against the competition is their unmatched line of sight distance that reaches up to 1 mile and their top speed of 20 feet per second even in winds gust reaching up to 20 knots.

In 2013, the British army had over 300 hornet nanos in its service. After hearing about this the United States Army quickly wanted to get into the game of small scale UAV’s so the Natick Soldier and Research, Development and Engineering Center looked into the PD-100 Black Hornet for their Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Program. They were impressed with the initial features but felt it still need some refinements like night vision and improved data-link and navigational capabilities. FLIR systems quickly delivered an upgraded version of the PD-100 and testing with U.S. troops begin in March of 2015.

 Towards the end of the year, the Black Hornet will make their premiere with the 82nd Airbone’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team as part of the US Army’s new Soldier Borne Sensor Program. One of the main benefits of the drone is its high-definition video and photography abilities which allow it to provide continuous data on the surrounding area of a soldier. These drones can scout surrounding areas and obtain data for 30 minutes with the reduced exposure to danger. In fact, the Army has stated that the Black Hornet reduces casualties by reducing soldier personnel usage in the battlefield. Usage testing shows that there is a fast learning curve for soldiers to master the controls, even if they had never flown a drone before. Because of this, the Army aims to introduce a Black Hornet Drone to every infantry squad.



Press Releases
From IronWorkers Magazine – August 2015 Local 401 Member Invents the “Cable Vault” to Protect Ironworkers In March 2014, Tom Scannell, an 18-year ironworker member of Local 401 (Philadelphia), attended a foreman’s safety meeting at the Local 401 meeting place hosted by Steve Rank, executive director of safety and health for the Iron Workers International, Susan Dachowski of Northwest Erectors and Michelle Paxton of Berlin Steel. At that meeting was discussed the importance of maintaining the integrity of the perimeter cables on a jobsite, and the responsibility, man-hours and liability involved with maintaining the perimeter and interior safety cables. Everyone involved with the erection of a high-rise building is well aware these cables are often removed or altered during the construction process. There are many reasons to alter the cables, whether it is for loading materials, better access to a particular trades work, working with a Lull or to create head room for clearance for a crane pick. Unfortunately, there have been many fatalities and serious injuries attributed to altering perimeter cables. On Tom Scannell’s way home from the meeting he had an idea to design a product that could prevent the removal of cable clamps on safety cables. Tom developed a working draft and prototype of the cable vault and realized there was a great potential for the product to prevent incidents involving the alteration of safety cables. The cable vault can be easily slid over safety cables and clamps immediately after using a cable dog, come-along and installing the cable clamps. Once the cable vault covers the safety cable and clamps, it is locked and cannot be removed without a key. The cable vault is made from HDPE high density polyethylene molded plastic, colored yellow for high visibility, reusable and durable for a shelf life of 2 ½ years, and designed to withstand extreme hot and cold weather conditions. Enser Corp., located in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, fabricates the cable vaults, a family owned company for over 40 years and proud members of American Made Matters. Tom Scannell’s cable vault product helps to prevent workplace incidents attributed to unauthorized removal of perimeter and interior safety cable systems. Congratulations Tom, another great safety innovation developed by a union ironworker. For more product information and to view a photo gallery and video on the cable vault, visit Tom Scannell’s website at or call (215) 708-0189.

Learn more about how ENSER can help you with your Fabrication needs?

Press Releases
Enser_CDT_Press Release_ENSERltrhd_010413

Cinnaminson, NJ January 4, 2013 – ENSER Corporation, a 65-year-old engineering services company, is proud to announce that CDT, a Platinum Value Added Reseller of PTC® has acquired ENSER’s PTC (Nasdaq: PMTC), the Product Development Company, Value Added Reseller (VAR) for MCAD/Windchill sales, training and services business.

This acquisition allows CDT to more effectively service ENSER’s existing PTC customers, while ENSER continues its focus on the Engineering Services market by providing engineering, staffing and fabrication services. The synergy of the two companies offers to the PTC engineering community a strong, stable relationship built upon both company’s reputations for stellar client service.

“We are very excited the acquisition,” said TJ Dial, Director-CDT. “They have a proven track record of offering premium engineering services and PTC products to enable clients to meet their product development goals. This acquisition will be a key driver of our growth path to representing PTC across the United States and offering best-fit solutions to our esteemed clients.”

“This acquisition enables ENSER to re-invest in its core engineering and contract staffing divisions,” explained Marco Arnone, President, ENSER Corporation. “With more and more of our clients bringing back to United States, or “re-shoring,” their engineering and design, we look forward to building ENSER into one of the premier engineering services companies in the country.”

CDT was acquired in February 2012 by Barry-Wehmiller Companies, Inc., a $1.6 billion diversified global supplier of manufacturing technology and services across a broad spectrum of industries. This merger makes CDT the largest company in the PTC Reseller Channel with expanded capabilities to offer world-class engineering and enterprise solutions. By leveraging the vast resources of the Barry-Wehmiller family of companies, CDT is now positioned to offer clients comprehensive solutions to increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve ‘time-to-market.’

“The acquisition reiterates the strong foundation in engineering and manufacturing that Barry-Wehmiller and ENSER share,” explained Jim Webb, VP of PTC Product Group and PLM for Barry-Wehmiller International Resources. “In today’s economy, companies are looking to bring efficiencies in their new product design, manufacturing and production through tight integration of their CAD, ERP and PLM systems. Our synergy with ENSER will further strengthen CDT’s expertise to offer comprehensive, cutting edge solutions to engineering and manufacturing clients across diverse industry segments.”


For more than 65 years, ENSER Corporation has been one of the premier providers of engineering and project management solutions offering unparalleled expertise and commitment. ENSER provides support throughout the engineering, design and build cycle. ENSER’s extensive experience as a leading engineering services company uniquely positions them to provide the best and most cost-effective solution. Further information on ENSER is available here.

About CDT

CDT provides products and services to meet the rapidly changing landscape of product development, product lifecycle management (PLM), and global project collaboration. As a “total solutions” provider, CDT offers the full-line of PTC software products together with a comprehensive suite of services including implementation, training and core engineering services. CDT is “National Reseller” for PTC spanning the entire United States and with offices globally. CDT has a unique perspective on manufacturing with more than 100 years of manufacturing technology experience from Barry-Wehmiller. For more information, go to

About PTC

PTC (Nasdaq: PMTC) develops, markets, and supports software solutions that help manufacturers win with superior products. PTC is the world’s largest software company with a total commitment to product development. The company services more than 33,000 customers worldwide. Further information on PTC is available at


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