Monthly Archives: July 2016

3D printing could help restore out-of-action US Marine Corps aircraft

Burdened with a number of obsolete and broken aircraft, the US Marine Corps (USMC) is turning to additive manufacturing technology to help restore its fleet, giving pilots a better opportunity to receive essential training. The USMC has already trialled a 3D printing scheme in one of its battalions.

Back in April, we heard news of a military 3D printing experiment being carried out by the Marines of 1st Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group. The battalion had been given a number of on-loan 3D printers for a six-month period in order to print its own spare parts, with the USMC curious to see how the technology could be used to solve real-world defense problems. After seeing the 3D printers in action first-hand, ground radio repairman Cpl. Samuel Stonestreet commented that it was “very important for the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense as a whole to look into [3D printing] and see how we can implement it into missions.” Now, according to a report from Cpl. Jim Truxel (US Marine Corps 1977-1981) written for SAAB USA, the Marines could soon be heeding Cpl. Stonestreet’s advice as they look to take their additive exploits to the next level.

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3D printing, a supply chain challenge

Panalpina’s strategic partnership with 3D printing specialist Shapeways is one more step in a march towards digital manufacturing that will challenge supply chain suppliers, including air cargo.

In May this year, software company SAP signed an agreement with UPS to collaborate to transform the ad hoc world of industrial 3D printing into a “seamless, on-demand manufacturing process from order through manufacturing and delivery”.

But just where are we in the development timeline of 3D technology, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, and what is the immediate challenge for airfreight?

In the aerospace industry, additive printing is already taking place for certain aircraft components.

At the Farnborough International Airshow, SAP signed a co-innovation agreement with APWorks, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, which aims to “accelerate the adoption and standardisation of industrial 3D printing initiatives for the aerospace and defense industry”.

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Interactive platforms will drive collaboration in 3D printing

A new study has shown how online 3D printing platforms have fostered a new culture of collaboration that can turn almost anybody in the world into a serious innovator, but there’s a long way to go to make that happen.

A connected world will spur collaborationThe study focuses on turning users into innovators and analysed 22 online platforms. The results in the Journal of Engineering and Manufacturing Technology Management clearly state that companies have to set to build advanced platforms that help bring the end user into the design process.

3D printing has already changed the world and there is a vast amount of untapped potential. Every day we report on new breakthroughs and we have barely scratched the surface of what 3D printing is actually capable of.

 

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Patent infringement: Promises and pitfalls of 3D printing

3D printing offers great promise for innovation and manufacturing, but this tool has expanded the scope of patented products that can be easily and cheaply copied, and may make it harder to identify and prosecute infringers. The USPTO held a conference on legal and policy issues surrounding 3D printing on June 28, 2016.

According to Russell Slifer, Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, patent filings relating to 3D printing have increased 23-fold over the last five years, and trademark filings for businesses involved in 3D printing have increased 300% over the same time period. While there is great interest and excitement surrounding the promise of 3D printing, there also is concern about how 3D printing could make it easy to copy a patented product with just a push of a button.

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GE’s Christine Furstoss: Cohesive 3D Printing ecosystem must exist before there is a true manufacturing revolution

globalMany are still waiting for the advent of a desktop 3D printer in every home—as ubiquitous as the PC or the kitchen stove—and the common practice of simply fabricating virtually whatever we want due to need or whim before they will believe 3D printing truly has a future. It may be easy to adopt that opinion if you aren’t keeping track of the accelerated pace at which the technology is evolving, and missing out on projections from expert analysts researching areas like that of 3D printed medical devices or investigating what kind of revenues the industry of 3D printing and related technology will produce just in the next year.

Somehow though, it’s all very believable when you hear it from GE—a company that’s certainly not only an inspiration for many others in terms of massive innovation but perhaps a role model too for other industrial heavy hitters as they pave the way for additive manufacturing to progress further around the world, from a smart factory in Chakan, India to their latest $40 million Center for Additive Technology Advancement in Pittsburgh.

 

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Daimler keeps on trucking with 3D printing

Daimler trucks rely on 3D printingThe world’s largest manufacturer of trucks has turned to 3D printing to produce spare parts for its vast range of trucks.

Daimler has joined the likes of Audi and BMW, who have both adopted additive manufacturing for producing spare parts on a ‘just in time’ basis.

The German company sits alongside Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz in the Daimler Chrysler Group, so this is a significant development.

It will introduce 3D printing on a limited basis from September. It will start with simple plastic items like spring caps, mountings, air and cable ducts and clamps. In the end, though, it is almost inevitable that every service centre in the world will have a 3D printer and the capability to produce replacement metal and plastic parts on site.

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GE’s Christine Furstoss: Cohesive 3D printing ecosystem must exist before there is a true manufacturing revolution

globalMany are still waiting for the advent of a desktop 3D printer in every home—as ubiquitous as the PC or the kitchen stove—and the common practice of simply fabricating virtually whatever we want due to need or whim before they will believe 3D printing truly has a future. It may be easy to adopt that opinion if you aren’t keeping track of the accelerated pace at which the technology is evolving, and missing out on projections from expert analysts researching areas like that of 3D printed medical devices or investigating what kind of revenues the industry of 3D printing and related technology will produce just in the next year.

Somehow though, it’s all very believable when you hear it from GE—a company that’s certainly not only an inspiration for many others in terms of massive innovation but perhaps a role model too for other industrial heavy hitters as they pave the way for additive manufacturing to progress further around the world, from a smart factory in Chakan, India to their latest $40 million Center for Additive Technology Advancement in Pittsburgh.

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Intellectual Property & 3D Printing: A changing landscape

Paris in the springtime, the phrase doesn’t immediately call to mind tear gas and improvised missiles. But it is against that background I find myself sat in the lobby of a conspicuously boutique Montmartre hotel sipping red wine with IP counselor John Hornick, while outside some of the estimated 100,000 demonstrators clash with police nearby. That morning Hornick delivered his provocatively titled presentation, “3D Printing will rock the world” at the Paris edition of the Inside 3D Printing conference and expo. As actual rocks shook the streets outside, Hornick provided additional insight into his earlier themes: “the world of 3D printing and its potential future impact on business, manufacturing, the law and crime, and, basically, life as we know it.”

Hornick takes an expansive view of the 3D printing landscape and muses on the implications for his profession. In a nutshell, what happens when tangible goods become free flowing digital files? 3D printing, Hornick says later, is part of the, “democratization of manufacturing.” This is an idea that has intrigued for centuries and may resonate with some of the demonstrators in Paris. Published in 1899, ‘Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow’ is about techniques of production and distribution. The book’s author, scientist and anarchist philosopher, Kropotkin wrote, “Have the factory and the workshop at the gates of your fields and gardens, and work in them.” In such a decentralized system, where production runs might consist of a single unit, how can current methods of regulation and enforcement adapt? This is, “what I call 3D printing ‘away from control,’ which means the ability to make a part or product without anyone knowing about it or being able to control it,” says Hornick.

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Mercedes Benz 3D printing creates durable, authentic parts just like Daimler AG

Mercedes Benz 3D printing produces various plastic truck components and other car parts from old catalogues or model lines. This environmentally friendly process is usually applied to create low-volume parts of old series members.

Mercedes BenzThe Mercedes-Benz 3D Printing is printed easily and prevents the waste of space storage. Mercedes Benz 3D model can be produced using this technology particularly covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements. The Mercedes-Benz 3D Printing experiments started since the 1990s. They tried to use the process in creating parts  for the Rolls-Royce Phantom and indicator light casing.

The use of 3D printing was also practiced by Daimler, the world’s largest truck manufacturer; producing 100,000 prototype parts annually. They just send a digital blueprint of a spare part to a 3-D printer that will convert special inks to plastics without stocking or shipping the part.

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Defective products could result from cyberattacks on industrial 3D printers

Many 3D printers lack cybersecurity features, which presents opportunities to introduce defects as components are being built, a new study shows.

TGE 3D printer jet enginehe study, performed by a team of cybersecurity and materials engineers at New York University, concluded that with the growth of cloud-based and decentralized 3D printer production supply chains, there can be “significant risk to the reliability of the product.”

 

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is creating a globally distributed manufacturing process and supply chain spanning multiple services, and therefore raises concerns about the reliability of the manufactured product, the study stated.

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