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Of all the advances and innovations this year brought, we are proudest of our customers’ progress. Whether they accelerated design, streamlined intermediate processes, transformed their products or optimized their business, we have many accomplishments to celebrate in 2016. As we prepare to bring even greater capability and productivity to workflows in the New Year, we thought we’d take one last look at this year’s achievements.

Here’s our list of the top 10 applications supported by our solutions in 2016:

10. Craft

For nearly 50 years, Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry has helped artists develop and produce their work. Using a complete digital workflow that combines 3D scanning with Geomagic software and wax 3D printing, Polich Tallix’s digital production department helps its clients deliver art exactly as envisioned. According to the foundry’s 3D Artist and Production specialist, these solutions have helped Polich Tallix extend its capabilities beyond what anyone thought possible.

9. Autonomy

After seven decades of relying on external suppliers, Hyde Park Partners decided to take product development applications into its own hands with in-house 3D printing on the ProJet® MJP 2500. Now able to implement new ideas and designs faster without the cost and delay of contracted work, Hyde Park is more nimble and effective in its day-to-day operations.

8. Ingenuity

While there’s no denying the uniqueness of a live performance, Intel and Lady Gaga took things to the next level at this year’s 58th Grammy Awards. Facilitated by the on-demand manufacturing expertise and digital artistry of our Gentle Giant Studios entertainment specialists, Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie was full of the inventiveness and creativity of the team that conceptualized it and the man it honored, with a supporting role by 3D scanning and 3D printing.

7. Inspiration

The members of the University of Connecticut’s Formula SAE team showed incredible initiative in the making of their most recent racecar. Realizing that they could dramatically impact the weight, lines and performance of their car by designing the body around the engine, rather than accommodating the engine after the fact, they turned to Bolton Works, a local reverse engineering specialist, to help them with their task. Using a suite of Geomagic scan-to-CAD software, the team devised a perfect on-screen replica of their engine to tailor their car like never before.

6. Efficiency

In collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE) is on a quest to develop next generation heat exchangers for HVAC and refrigeration applications. Using automated design algorithms for optimal thermal resistance at a reduced size and weight, CEEE produced a 1kW heat exchanger that was 20% more efficient, in addition to being lighter and smaller. CEEE was also able to reduce the manufacturing cycle from months to weeks with the help of our on demand manufacturing service and direct metal printing.

5. Healing

Following multiple spinal fusion surgeries after a fall from construction left him partially paralyzed, Mark Weimer began to experience consistent lower body pain alongside bowel and bladder issues. To help alleviate the compression of Weimer’s nerves and spinal cord, Dr. George Frey designed his surgical approach with digitization and manufacturing services provided by 3D Systems Healthcare and his patented FIREFLY® Technology for pedicle screw placement. Equipped with 3D printed anatomical models and surgical guides specific to Weimer’s anatomy, Dr. Frey performed a 15-hour surgery that returned Weimer’s attention to more important things like his grandsons’ budding passions for hockey.

4. The Little Guys

The ability to customize solutions means no problem is too big or too small to fix. In the case of Grecia the Toucan and Yellow-Purple (AKA “Purps”) the penguin, this was good news in 2016. Using an array of 3D design and manufacturing technologies, the team of veterinarians and communities of animal lovers behind these birds had ample reason to whistle a happy tune.

3. Productivity

Conformal cooling in mold design enables vast improvements in overall cycle time and cost, but remains relatively underutilized due to the design and manufacturing hurdles that accompany the technique. Bastech tackled these problems with a streamlined workflow of digital design and manufacturing solutions. Using Cimatron™ software for accelerated mold design, direct metal printing on the ProX® DMP 320 and inspection with Geomagic® Control™, Bastech reduced design time by 70%, cut costs by 16% and shrank cycle time by 14% to set a new standard in productivity.

Bastech Takes Conformal Cooling to new heights with 3D Systems Cimatron Mold and die design software

2. Digital Molding

2016 saw the laying of considerable groundwork towards Digital Molding. Whereas traditional injection molding requires substantial time and material investment before a product can be realized, Digital Molding is changing the manufacturing equation. Powered by our Figure 4 technology, Digital Molding delivers tool-free plastic parts with exceptional efficiency, design flexibility and economics. This ultra-fast, automated stereolithography (SLA) system enables manufacturers to go straight from CAD to manufacturing to go to market faster.

1. Tomorrow

Grace Kablaenga was born with rare and severe facial cleft deformities, extreme distance between her eyes, and no bone separating her brain from her oral cavity.  Due to the physical difficulty of swallowing, she soon suffered from undernourishment and anemia, leading her childhood to be anything but carefree. Fortunately, Grace’s condition came to the attention of the World Craniofacial Foundation, and a team of doctors intervened to solve the anatomical puzzle of Grace’s condition with the help of VSP and 3D printed surgical guides.