At the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, Martin Dury, Learning Design Manager, and his team are working to address the manufacturing skills gap, encouraging UK businesses to be agile and adopt new technologies. Currently, Dury is mapping a number of Additive Manufacturing Competency Frameworks for all roles in AM.
The frameworks are intended to define the skills, knowledge and behaviour required for newly developed AM roles and identify appropriate training programs for every step of the process, from requirement capture, design, material selection and manufacture through to post-processing, inspection and verification.
To help form a comprehensive outline of the roles and skills needed in additive manufacturing in the UK, the MTC is seeking input and contributions from industry experts.
Most of the talk surrounding 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) in the trucking industry centers on how it can be used to supply replacement parts for older vehicles. But the real value in 3D printing is much greater than that, including potentially enabling a return to more customization in the initial vehicle specification and manufacturing process, reduction in life cycle costs and bringing the supply chain closer to customers.
By its very nature, 3D printing allows parts to be made on a smaller scale and without a manufacturer having to commit the major resources required to mass produce a product.
It is proving a useful tool in enabling companies from multiple sectors to revolutionise their supply chains and 3D printing can also achieve significant cost-savings
Transforming computer-designed ideas into physical objects by applying layers of materials with a 3D printer is moving beyond early-use cases in manufacturing to make logistics more efficient and reduce costs across the supply chain.
MH Development Engineering, specialists in engineering bespoke systems and products, installed a 3D printer to enhance both its manufacturing business and systems design for research and development.
When creating systems that solve engineering problems, the company must be able to test concepts quickly. The 3D printer has aided this process by allowing prototyped parts to be created overnight.
The last five years have been the, “coming of age,” period for technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, mixed reality (MR), and blockchain. By late 2017, these technologies gained enough maturity and stability for use in industrial settings. As such, 2018 is shaping-up to be a pivotal year for these promising technologies to be applied in several realms of supply chain, such as end-to-end visibility, product tracking, fraud, settlements, compliance, productivity, worker safety, and delivery speed. Here are seven key trends that are driving innovation, change and agility in today’s supply chains.
No. 5 – 3D printing will continue its steady march into prominence
3D printing has been gaining adoption in many industries like automotive, aerospace, medical devices, fashion, and manufacturing industries. According to a recent PwC study, 71 percent of manufacturers have adopted 3D printing. The need for moving and storing inventory is diminished as 3D orienting enables local production, versus global production.
In 2018, 3D printing will continue its gradual adoption path. Its influence on supply chain operation dynamics will continue to evolve.
The Future of 3D Printing by Scott Fawcett, MD of Essentra Components
Now more than ever, manufacturers are having to respond to increased connectivity and digitisation in the industry. Driven by the changing demands of customers, manufacturers must be dynamic and flexible, responding quickly to find solutions that meet customers’ requirements. This industry evolution, more commonly known as Industry 4.0, will shape the future of 3D printing. Put simply, Industry 4.0 describes the current transformation of manufacturing practices towards a more automated and data driven model and 3D printing is a vital building block in that evolutionary process. As the rate of technological advancement increases year on year, and with trends such as personalisation and customisation also on the rise, 3D printing will allow manufacturers to stay ahead of the competition and get products to market faster and cheaper than ever before.
According to a report in i-Scoop, the smart building industry is predicted to be worth over $22bn by 2026, meaning it will impact all of our lives and effecting all industries. Technology already has a strong presence in the manufacturing industry through the use of data centres, Wi-Fi and smart devices which monitor the manufacturing processes. Every day, we are seeing more and more companies responding to this development and creating smart factories worldwide.
Most recently, German sportswear manufacturer Adidas announced it will be opening a new manufacturing facility bursting with innovative and technologically sophisticated machines, including 3D printers. The factory will rely on 3D printing technology to reduce manufacturing times and production periods, aiming to produce roughly 500,000 pairs of shoes annually, which works out at nearly 1,370 pairs of shoes on a daily basis.
SLM Solutions has revealed automotive giant, Audi has been using its selective laser melting process to produce prototypes and manufacture rarely-requested spare parts.
The German company has sought to adopt SLM’s metal 3D printing technology to target a number of automotive applications. Typically, it is the smaller, more complex, and less cost-sensitive components, like the water adapters for the Audi W12 engine, which are produced on-demand by Audi with an SLM 280 machine, that are most suitable to be additively manufactured.
Audi has been utilising metal additive manufacturing for special application areas, able to manufacture sizable components on the 280 x 280 x 365 mm3 build space. Thanks to the machines’ powerful 700W lasers build times are reduced, enhancing productivity while maintaining quality. It is enabling Audi to manufacture on-demand, supplying spare parts as and when they are needed, rather than producing them in advance and putting them into storage. Simplifying logistics and warehousing, implementing an on-demand production approach brings both economical and sustainability benefits, in addition to the rapid prototyping and greater creative freedom 3D printing technology is renowned for.
Essen/Berlin – DB Schenker plans to deploy innovative solutions to meet the rising expectations of customers in the automotive sector. This will see the logistics service provider focus on the latest developments in the car industry, such as 3D printing to manufacture replacement parts, in addition to continuing its provision of long-established core services. Schenker wants to devote its energy to meeting the technological requirements of “additive production” and maintaining its progress in this field. The major benefit for customers takes the form of reduced warehousing costs, as spare parts are manufactured only when they are required. Faster production reduces delivery times. Similarly, DB Schenker plans to strengthen its market position by specializing in storing and transporting lithium batteries. Battery logistics entail extremely complex processes, as car batteries are classified as hazardous items requiring special transportation and storage.
“Our declared aim is to offer our customers around the globe the best logistics services in the aftermarket sector. Thanks to our vast experience in the automotive sector, our highly trained specialists and our dedicated innovation and quality programs, I am confident that we will achieve this aim,” says Stephan Allgeier, Vice President Vertical Market Automotive – Global Business Development Schenker AG.
Boeing is co-operating with Swiss engineering group Oerlikon to jointly develop additive manufacturing processes in a bid to accelerate the technology’s wider employment.
Oerlikon says it signed a five-year collaboration agreement with the US airframer to create “standard materials and processes” for the production of “structural” titanium components through 3D printing.
“The research will initially focus on industrialising titanium powder bed fusion additive manufacturing and ensuring parts made with this process meet the flight requirements of the US Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense,” says Oerlikon.
The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is where 3D printing and traditional manufacturing converge. Established as an independent Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) in 2010, the centre is the product of a collaboration between Loughborough University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Nottingham and TWI.
The centre’s privileged position in the market and well-cultivated contact list of over 100 industry members, places it in an ideal position for providing well-trained and talented individuals to the industry – a gap that the MTC struck upon in 2016 with the launch of the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC).
Picture this: you need a medicine but your illness is so rare that the required drug is extremely expensive and not widely available. Or maybe you are travelling and the drug you need can’t be easily shipped all the way to you. Could three-dimensional printing offer a solution? Could a local, 3D-printed mini-factory make medicine for you?
Three-dimensional printing, which builds up layers of materials to print a product, is making its mark in the world of medical devices, opening up new ways to make implants and biocompatible scaffolds.
Using the technology to manufacture medicines is still niche, but interest is there. A 3D-printed drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, and researchers are starting to prise open the potential of 3D printing low-cost equipment to build the chemicals needed for drugs.