3D printing helps Latécoère cut lead times

Latécoère is deploying Stratasys FDM additive manufacturing throughout its design and production process.

French aircraft design and manufacturing group Latécoère is deploying Stratasys FDM additive manufacturing throughout its design and production process. Latécoère – which services aerospace giants including Airbus, Bombardier and Dassault – is using its Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D Printer for both rapid prototyping and production tooling. According to Simon Rieu, composite and additive manufacturing manager at Latécoère’s R&D and Innovation Center, the adoption of this technology has been transformational for both design and manufacturing.

“Additive manufacturing has integrated seamlessly into our design and production process, and has seen us enjoy improved lead-times, reduced costs and enhanced operational efficiency,” he says. “As the requirements of the aerospace industry become more demanding, we’re also mindful of the need to maintain our competitive edge, and Stratasys additive manufacturing enables us to meet that objective.”

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FedEx launches 3D printing inventory and repair company Forward Depots

FedEx and 3D printing venture has been expected for some time.

From 3D printed drone-delivery, to on-demand bureau services, postage and shipping companies are investing in the future of additive manufacturing.

In the latest news from the logistics sector, FedEx has announced that it will be launching a new, 3D printing oriented, company under the name FedEx Forward Depots.

The company is the product of a company-wide structural realignment, dedicated to “customized,” “convenient,” and “intuitive” services.

Van, truck, plane, or 3D printing? Fedex is committed to customer deliveries. Image via FedEx

Van, truck, plane, or 3D printing? Fedex is committed to customer deliveries. Image via FedEx

FedEx and 3D printing

When UPS started offering on demand 3D printing services in 2013, many predicted that FedEx would be quick to follow. A case study from 2014, featuring 3D printed medical implant manufacturer Stryker, in fact shows that FedEx has been paying keen attention to 3D printing, and the idea of “Going local” with manufacturing.

“Currently, some medical device companies are delivering 3D printed implants manufactured around the world to hospitals within 24 hours,” reads the company case study.

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Impact of 3D Printing technology on supply chain in China

H.K. Chan, J. Griffin, J.J. Lim, F. Zeng and A.S.F. Chiu from Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Law School at University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, and De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines  prepared a very insightful paper on the impact of 3D printing on supply chains, with a focus on the Chinese market, but with lessons that can be extrapolated to other countries. Well worth a read.


Abstract:

The 3D Printing (3DP) industry has been receiving increased public attention. Many companies are seeking
ways to develop new means of creating and disseminating 3DP content, in order to capture new business
opportunities. To date, however, the true business opportunities of 3DP have not been completely uncovered.
This research explores the challenges posed in the development and deployment of 3DP, and focuses on
China which is still the main manufacturing hub in the world. By means of empirical semi-structured interviews
with 3DP companies in China, the current application of 3DP technology in the industry and the associated
challenges are investigated. Although many companies can see the benefits of 3DP, its potential has not been
delivered as promised. Several areas have been identified that could be improved further. The interviews with
3DP companies are used to learn about the gap between the 3DP technology in depth, and 3DP industrial
applications which can further improve the growth of the 3DP industry.

To read the paper, click here

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Mass Production – Is 3D printing up to the supply chain challenge?

Trends in additive manufacturing for end-use production was a recent in-depth look at what some see as the the next phase of 3D printing.

3D printed sneakers, custom-fit insoles, clothing and toys  – commercial 3D printing – are often the subject of hype surrounding 3D printing’s integration into the supply chain. There are many big names behind these projects, for example adidas and Carbon of Futurecraft 4D sneakers, Formlabs and New BalanceEOS and Under Armour. However, the making of 3D printing for series-level manufacturing will, in many ways, be shaped by its adoption in China and the surrounding countries – the global center of mass production.

The Impact of 3D Printing Technology on Supply Chain in China is considered in a new report by H.K. Chan, J. Griffin, J.J. Lim, F. Zeng and A.S.F. Chiu, of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, the University of Exeter in the UK, and De La Salle University in the Philippines.

“WITH 3DP PRODUCTION CAN BE STARTED ON A MADE-TO-ORDER BASIS. […] IN OTHER WORDS, THE EXCESSIVE INVENTORY STOCKING UP DUE TO UNCERTAIN DEMAND ALONG A SUPPLY CHAIN, KNOWN AS THE FAMOUS BULLWHIP EFFECT, SHOULD ACCORDINGLY BE REDUCED.”

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3D printing 10 times cheaper than machining for Moog Aircraft Group

Moog's aircraft portfolio includes work on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jet, pictured here successfully landing in a crosswind test. Photo by Tom Reynolds/Lockheed MartinFDM 3D printing proves better than traditional manufacturing in this latest case study from Moog Aircraft Group (NYSE:MOG.A) and leading Stratsys reseller SYS Systems.

As a solution for spare parts and tooling, fused deposition modeling (FDM) is the 3D printing technology of choice for cutting costs and lead times at factories around the world. In recent news, Ricoh opted to switch out metal for FDM 3D printed plasticsat an assembly factory in Japan. And Spain’s Indaero won a lucrative Airbus contract on the back of its FDM part production.

The Moog Aircraft Group is already a key part of the supply chain for many aerospace/defence companies including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus and Northrop Grumman. In collaboration with SYS Systems, Moog identified FDM 3D printing as the best solution for producing bespoke fixtures, used in the machines that qualify aerospace-grade parts.

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3D printing saves 17% on Navantia supertanker parts

The Monte Udala under construction. Photo via Puente de Mando3D printing for ships is gaining steam. In the U.S., the navy is holding a number of trials for both offshore and yard-based tooling and also investigating 3D printing spare parts. And wire-arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) has become increasingly used in the Netherlands for producing large, sea-faring and rig components.

Now, Spanish ship builder Navantia has launched a 3D printed parts trial aboard the Monte Udala Suezmax oil tanker.

The unlimited ship

Suezmax tankers are built to the largest ship measurements capable of transiting Egypt’s Suez Canal. While not constrained by length, Suezmax tankers are typically 50 meters wide, and can be up to 68 meters tall.

In 2015, Navantia was commissioned by Ondimar to build four of these supertankers to specifications of 274 m by 48 m (L x W). Looking for ways to innovate the process, Navantia is collaborating with the INNANOMAT (Materials and Nanotechnology Innovation) lab at the University of Cádiz (UCA).

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How did GE Power Engineers learn from 3D printing mistakes to become leaders in field?

Epic failures often are just a precursor to great success in the realm of invention and innovation. Kassy Hart, a lead additive manufacturing engineer for GE Power, can certainly attest to this, and her team has their own corresponding motto relevant to the challenges in creating: ‘Fail fast to learn fast.’

Initially, Hart had a substantial learning curve in attempting to 3D print parts at GE Power’s Advanced Manufacturing Works in Greenville, South Carolina. She and her team were beginning to work in metal 3D printing. Hart made a metal 3D printed probe (an item called a super rake) for use in evaluating engines during testing. Build space was not taken into account correctly though, and Hart remembers the print expanding all the way to the edge, resulting in great difficulty for removal.

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2018 Manufacturing Outlook and 3D printing’s impact

Data-driven systems. Unique partnerships leading to increased productivity, efficiency and cost reductions. A changing landscape with a bigger focus on automation. Manufacturing’s outlook at the start of 2017 began a conversation on ways to propel the industry headfirst into the integrated, digital world.

One of the digital initiatives at the forefront of this crusade is the Internet of Things (IoT). Over the past several years, the industry has been learning best practices and watching its impacts on production, and 2017 proved to be no different. This past year, companies continued to focus on modernizing their production floors by developing IoT business strategies, and implementing it through software, equipment and training.

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Additive manufacturing ups its game

A 3D-printed front-end structure built by EOS in collaboration with Altair, APWORKS and csi.Additive manufacturing builds up parts by binding plastics and other materials together, with lasers, LEDs, other light sources, heaters or electron beams supplying the necessary energy. The resulting parts are light yet still strong. What’s more, they can be built to order and customized as needed.

Additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing, makes parts one at a time and eliminates the need for retooling when a design is changed. It is used for aerospace, military and other demanding applications, as well as in automotive prototyping or other areas where it offers a cost advantage. For now, high-volume additive manufacturing remains more expensive than traditional production, but the goal is to make it part of the standard manufacturing tool kit.

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IDC forecasts worldwide spending on 3D printing to be nearly $12 billion in 2018

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has updated its Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide forecasting market-wide spending on additive manufacturing throughout 2018.

IDC’s international team of analysts looked at key markets across 9 regions including Europe, Asia/Pacific and the U.S.

In the trifecta of 3D printing, hardware will constitute $6.9 billion, materials $6.7 billion, and software will experience a slower growth than the rest of the market.

Chart showing top spends by application as forecasted by IDC. Image via IDC

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