Monthly Archives: October 2017

3D printing makes stainless steel three times stronger

Researchers have developed a way to 3D print stainless steel that triples the strength of the material.

3D printing has been used in everything from printing meat substitutes to vehicle components and has also prompted entirely new business models based on blueprint sharing and outsourced printing services.

Companies including GE, Siemens, and HP are all placing their bets on the future of this manufacturing process, and while 3D printing is currently reserved most often for weaker materials such as paper or plastic, metal is also of interest.

HP recently hinted at the 2018 release of a platform designed to “transform [3D metal printing] into more mainstream, high-volume production,” and as a research team from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have now demonstrated, the future of our metal products can be improved no end by 3D printing methods.

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3D manufacturing boosted by lower prices

A demonstration of 3D printing a car was provided at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.<br>Photo by Ian Shalapata.A price decrease in a major raw material used in the 3D printing of plastic products is expected to further advance the use of additive manufacturing, as 3D printing is also known, by high volume manufacturers such as Ford and Adidas.

Silicon Valley-based 3D technology company, Carbon Inc, says it will reduce the prices of some of its polymer resins and expects this will result in a significant increase in the addressable market for 3D manufactured parts.

In a news release, the company said it would lower prices by 40 per cent. It expects the reduction in the price of rigid polyurethane, or RPU 70, to $150 per liter, down from the current $250 per liter, will facilitate economic production particularly for Adidas.

The shoe manufacturer will be able to cost-effectively print, “… thousands or millions of parts … compared to other manufacturing methods such as injection molding,” noted Carbon Inc chief executive Dr Joseph DeSimone.

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Made Smarter Review report finds AI, robotics and 3D printing could contribute £445 billion to the UK economy

A demonstration of the Digital Innovation Hubs and satellite facilities to be launched throughout the UK. Image via The Made Smarter Review Report.An independent review of the UK’s manufacturing sector led by Jürgen Maier, CEO of Siemens UK, has reached completion. The Made Smarter Review Report calls for government and businesses to come together and embrace the nation’s potential as a leader of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

The study follows earlier recommendations from AM UK and the UK Additive Manufacturing National Strategy 2018-2025, which also found that 3D printing will make a significant contribution to high-value manufacturing.

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Is distributed manufacturing with flexible 3D printing filament worth it? Michigan Tech finds out

Researchers from Michigan Technological University have conducted a study into the cost of 3D printing consumer goods using flexible filament. The researchers 3D printed 20 flexible products in NinjaFlex filament, analyzing the overall cost and technical feasibility of the 3D printed items.

Flexible filaments have opened up a world of opportunities for 3D printer users. Once faced with the prospect of brittle and breakable 3D printed parts, makers can now easily make rubbery 3D printed items for a range of practical applications: mechanical parts, soft grips, and even the tires of an RC car.

But are objects made from flexible 3D printing filaments as good as their molded, off-the-shelf counterparts? Moreover, are they worth the cost? Those are two questions that intrigued Aubrey L. Woern and Joshua M. Pearce, two researchers at Michigan Technological University who recently carried out a study into the effectiveness of functional objects made from flexible filament.

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Globalization vs. Localization and why they both matter

Today’s manufacturing and supply chain landscape is prominently characterized by two seemingly competing forces: globalization and localization. They are both tremendously important while setting a different framework for growth. Globalization has emerging markets which are demanding a greater supply of goods, utilizing more sophisticated supply chain approaches as well as products must compete on a truly global scale. On the other side, with regulation relief, tax reform proposed and enthusiasm in the public debate for keeping manufacturing jobs at home, Localization has growing appeal even with the disrupter of 3D printing and smaller demand runs.

So, how should manufacturers balance both concepts while still being competitive?  First, we need to accept that Globalization and localization don’t necessarily have to be opposed. When we stop seeing globalization and localization as necessarily opposed to each other, we see many steps that manufacturers are taking to stay ahead of the curve can satisfy both needs. In addition to embracing automation technology, below are two key developments that every manufacturer and supply chain partner must consider:

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Can 3D printing live up to the hype?

3dprinter for schoolsAs 3D printing continues to get more traction across industries, the hype increases – but can the additive manufacturing live up to it?

Some may call it disruptive, others may love the idea, but the rise of technologies such as 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, could herald a vast change to the future of a range of industries.

Even across industries such as automotive and healthcare, there has been increasing adoption across different areas which is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.

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How far away are we from 3D printed drugs and medical devices?

pharma-3d-printed-drugs.pngDecades ago, we used to say technology was the wave of the future.  Today, with technologies such as additive manufacturing, we are living in the future.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is being used increasingly across numerous industries, from automotive to entertainment to pharmaceutical and medical device.

According to a recent report, North America is expected to account for the largest share of the global 3D printing medical device market in 2017, a global market which is projected to reach USD 1.88 billion by 2022 from USD 0.84 billion in 2017.

While 3D printing is here, the future holds many questions. As the use of 3D printing continues to expand in the pharmaceutical and medical device space, how the FDA regulatory regime and traditional products liability principles will evolve are among these questions.

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IT pro’s guide to 3D printing technologies (free PDF)

3D printing is a revolutionary advancement in the way industries design and manufacture products. For decades, 3D printing has been used for industrial purposes, to quickly produce parts for rapid prototyping before employing traditional manufacturing techniques. Now, with the increased precision of 3D printers and a dramatic increase in the lifetime durability of 3D-printed parts, many industries are adopting 3D printing as a form of just-in-time manufacturing to reduce design complexity and warehousing costs and to simplify supply chains.

For hobbyists, 3D printing allows the custom creation of parts to meet the needs of their projects, such as a plastic housing for a circuit board. Websites like Thingiverse feature crowd-sourced designs for replacement car parts to 3D printed art.

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Analysis: Fourth Industrial Revolution will disrupt shipping

“One technology that is starting to change production is 3-D printing. 3-D printing enables not only totally new designs but also manufacture-to-order in a new way.”

Wolfgang Lehmacher, head of supply chain and transport industry, World Economic Forum, outlined six trends of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that are disrupting the Shipping Industry at the JOC’s TPM Asia conference in Shenzhen.

SHENZHEN — Disruption is unavoidable for container shipping as multiple technologies converge with unprecedented speed, requiring a complete revision of strategies to deal with the opportunities and threats facing the transport industry.

In a keynote address to TPM Asia in Shenzhen, Wolfgang Lehmacher, head of supply chain and transport industry at the World Economic Forum, described six trends caused by what is known as the Forth Industrial Revolution (4IR) that is disrupting world shipping.

“The world will significantly change,” he said. “The shipping industry has been impacted by the previous industrial revolutions: It moved from sail-powered shipping to steam-powered shipping in the First Industrial Revolution, to oil-powered shipping in the Second, to satellite guided navigation and digital transport in the Third. The [4IR] is expected to bring to the sector networks of autonomous vehicles.”

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Is your supply chain ready for additive manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing and 3D printing promise to simplify manufacturing, reduce inventories, and streamline operations. But, to determine when and how to apply additive manufacturing, organizations need a decision model that assesses it’s market strategy, supply chain performance, and complexity.

Long before manufacturers talked about custom manufacturing and batch runs of one, there was orthodontics. Orthodontics treatments are customized by nature. Orthodontists meet one-on-one with every patient to take X-rays and make molds of their teeth and then create a unique treatment plan to correct a patient’s misalignments. That custom approach spawned an industry of decentralized dentists, orthodontists, and dental laboratories who each have a role in the treatment plan. Think of it as a complex and expensive dental supply chain. For a long time, the question was: Well, what is the alternative?

Enter Align Technology, Inc., a global medical device company that disrupted the rules of the orthodontics game. Align Technology produces clear aligners—sold under the Invisalign brand—as a malocclusion treatment. Made of a nearly transparent plastic material, clear aligners work on the same principle as metal braces: They put soft pressure on individual teeth to move the denture into the desired position. However, instead of adjusting metal arch wires and brackets throughout the treatment, Align Technology provides a customized, transparent plastic rack for each phase of the plan. Clear aligners have the added benefit of being much more discrete than a mouth full of metal.

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