3D printing: from the automotive design studio to the factory floor

The automotive industry is in a state of flux. Significant swings in gas prices, as well as environmental and political pressures, challenge the industry to balance between the economics of gas guzzling SUVs and lightweight electric vehicles. Ride-sharing and shared ownership business models are gaining momentum, and leaps in technology have put autonomous vehicles on the road, changing the way we view our use of cars. Automotive manufacturers must adapt to all that change, whilst also facing the age-old challenge of minimizing p roduction costs. Scott Sevcik, VP Manufacturing Solutions at Stratasys, considers 3D printing – the definition of disruptive technology – and its role supporting the automotive industry as it adjusts to a new reality.

Using additive manufacturing in the automotive industry

The automotive industry was one of the first to really grasp the benefits of 3D printing. Long used as a tool for rapid prototyping, it was this industry that led high-end 3D printer and material sales in recent years, but this was often kept under wraps as cagey design studios withheld their secret weapon. By slashing design costs and timescales, even contributing to better design by enabling adaptations on the fly with multiple iterations in a matter of hours, 3D printing has made a significant contribution to the automotive design process. As the technology and materials continue to advance even further, it’s a trend set to stay for the foreseeable future.

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US Navy will rely on 1,000 3D printed parts by the end of 2018

The U.S. Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR) is ramping up production of 3D printed parts.

System Command estimates that it will have approximately 1,000 3D printed parts approved for use across the fleet before the end of 2018. Currently only 135 3D printed parts are authorised for use.

3D printing helmets to flight-critical parts

3D printed parts will be used in a range of Naval applications, from modifications to helmets to critical parts for aircraft: NAVAIR categorizes parts depending on their air-worthiness. Parts not requiring airworthiness can be fabricated more quickly.

Fabricating a MV-22B nacelle link inside a directed energy deposition 3D printer. Photo via NAVAIR.

In 2016 NAVAIR proved that 3D printing could be used to produce safety-critical parts with the successful flight of an MV-22B Osprey, fitted with a 3D printed titanium engine nacelle link and attachment. Last spring, a 3D printed flip-top valve was added to the T-45 Goshawk breathing mask, allowing pilots in training to breathe cabin air up to a certain altitude. 300 valves were printed within a month without which training would have been impossible.

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The difference between: 3D printing and CNC machining

With today’s increase in complexity for engineered products and the need for faster production of these products, manufacturers are having to choose between technologies. This paper will discuss and compare two of the methods used to produce parts, while recognizing that each has its place, and can complement each other in the design and manufacturing workflow. Download this paper to learn about the differences between 3D Printing and CNC Machining and when to choose each technique.

The Difference Between: 3D Printing and CNC Machining

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HP accelerates digital transformation of manufacturing with high-volume 3D production and applications

Customers worldwide ramping up 3D printing installations;
More than 3 million Multi Jet Fusion parts produced in last year alone;
Breakthrough program to digitally reinvent HP product lifecycle

News highlights:                 

  • Industry-wide acceleration of 3D printing for production of end-use parts and large-scale prototyping
  • Forecast 3D, GoProto, Stern, and more increasing Multi Jet Fusion capacity to meet rising demand
  • Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program leverages 3D across HP’s product lifecycle

ST. LOUIS, April 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today at the world’s largest 3D printing user event, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) conference, HP Inc. showcased new large-scale customer deployments and its own Reinventing HP With Multi Jet Fusion program as the industry accelerates its journey to full-scale 3D production.  According to Wohlers Report 2018, the production of functional parts, including functional prototyping, is now the industry’s leading additive manufacturing use-case and the demand for production-grade parts is expected to continue to grow exponentially.  As the market leader, shipping more plastic production 3D printers than any other company in the world[1], HP is delivering both unprecedented capabilities and economic advantages to its manufacturing customers, and also embracing its own technology to transform the design, production, and distribution of HP products worldwide.

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3D printing saves the world, Part 2

How one process may single-handedly solve some of society’s greatest problems.

3D printer

Our previous installment discussed how 3D printing is having a significant impact on education, healthcare, and humanitarian relief. Continuing on, let’s examine how the process is helping to reduce pollution, as well as to protect soldiers and civilians from explosives.

The Environment

Shipping and logistics

Part 1 detailed how 3D printing will reduce the shipping and logistics of pills and humanitarian relief, but this trend looks like it is going to become a lot bigger. Ing, the bank and financial service corporation, predicts that printing could cut trade between countries by 40%: “For now it has very little effect on cross-border trade. This will change once high speed 3D printing makes mass production with 3D printers economically viable. The first technical steps have already been taken…3D printers use far less labor, reducing the need to import intermediate and final goods from low wage countries.”

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LINK3D integrates blockchain technology and industrial 3D printing for the first time

We’ve been seeing increased interest in incorporating Blockchain technology into the 3D printing world over the last couple of years, from being used in a military testing capacity to storing data of 3D printed aircraft parts. Blockchain, the underlying technology of decentralized cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is a set of records (blocks), that hold transactional data. In a secure transfer, important financial information, like recipient details, are then stored within the data set. Innovative companies all over the world are sitting up and taking notice, including LINK3D, which develops industrial 3D printing software to help organizations working to adopt Industry 4.0.

This fall, the AM software company, headquartered in New York City, introduced Digital Factory, its flagship, cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) that allows engineering companies to automatically manage all of their 3D printing processes for increased efficiency. Now LINK3D is announcing the first integration of blockchain technology for industrial 3D printing.

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Nadcap certification of metal 3D printing in aerospace

Achieving the highest quality standards is crucial in the aviation industry, where even the smallest of defects can have serious consequences. Besides the expansion of e-mobility, one of the most important recent developments in this field is the ability to produce components using additive manufacturing.

Nadcap certification of metal 3D printing in aerospace

This is particularly beneficial in the aviation sector, where every single gram of weight saved can reduce flight operating costs. This is why toolcraft not only produces aircraft parts conventionally using CNC machining, but employs additive manufacturing processes as well. The company covers the complete process chain, from design and manufacture to quality assurance and testing. 3D metal printing has been an established manufacturing technique in its own right for many years, having successfully made the transition from being used for prototype production. Nadcap certification of the process is a further milestone in its development.

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Interview: Maritime 3D printing with RAMLAB and SEMBCORP Marine

Simon Kuik from Sembcorp Marine. Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/Visual Verve Studios.3D printing for the maritime and energy industries is the focus of NAMIC’s 5th additive manufacturing summit later this month.

Taking place in Singapore, the Maritime and Energy AM Summit is organized by the country’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), an organization focused on developing a collaborative and innovative ecosystem for additive manufacturing.

At the event 3D printing experts will gather to discuss operationalising AM, how 3D printing is revolutionising the energy industry, the future of advanced manufacturing and other related topics.

I caught up with two of the experts presenting work at the NAMIC AM summit to learn more.

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3D Printing: Seven products to finish the job

GEFERTEC GmbHFrom beginning to end, take a look at all the components of 3D printing to ensure you are making the best possible products safely, quickly, and not wasting materials in the process.

3D printing is taking over the industrial world and new printers are always a source of excitement. But, what seems to rarely be a source for that same excitement, is all the components that actually go into completing the job. We’re talking about hazardous material clean-up, recycling old materials, software to get that precise cut, and cost-effective technology, to name a few.

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Startup to make 3D-printed concrete homes for US$4,000

A non-profit partnership is raising money to 3D-print durable and affordable concrete homes in El Salvador, in an effort to offset the global housing crisis.

Each single-storey, 650 square-foot home costs US$4,000 to build using a concrete-extruding printing apparatus, which is programmed to create the foundation and walls of the structure. The printing plans leave room for windows and a non-concrete roof, and can be adjusted to make room for wiring and plumbing as well.

The whole thing is the brainchild of three Texas-based entrepreneurs, whose tech startup Icon aims to revolutionize sustainable home construction.

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