HP anticipating factories becoming huge printers

Good opinion piece from Rob Enderle


Last week, I was in Spain with HP and much of the conversation was on how 3D printers were going to disrupt and revolutionize manufacturing. However, underneath all of the discussions was a growing concept that the factory itself, as these 3D printers advance and become more capable, would evolve into a huge and vastly more capable 3D printer. Except, rather than printing parts, these huge printers would print things like fully capable automobiles. Granted, we are likely a couple of decades out but talk about disruptive technology revolutions this could be a massive game changer because it anticipates a time when, rather than regional warehouses, Amazon might have regional mega printers.

Let’s talk about that this week.

Evolution of 3D Printers

Until recently, 3D printers were more of a science experiment than an actual tool. The parts, while physically representative, weren’t very robust or, if they were robust, they cost more than most other manufacturing methods. HP’s Jet Fusion printers changed that by producing parts that were about 1/10th the cost of aluminum, had similar strength, but came in around 1/10th the weight as well. Suddenly, we had 3D printers that could produce parts that were arguably better than traditionally produced parts and, rather than being more expensive, they were significantly less expensive.

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3D printing increases efficiency for ETSEIB Motorsport Team

3D printing is giving a Spanish university team the edge in the annual Formula Student competition.

The ETSEIB team is comprised of engineering students nearing the end of their studies at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) Spain. Working with 3D printers from local manufacturer, BCN3D Technologies has streamlined the manufacturing process.

Since 1998, the Formula Student competition, has pitted international university students against each other to produce, construct, test and then race small-scale formula style racing cars. The event is organized by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, (IMechE) to promote innovative engineering.

The team has over four years of experience in manufacturing combustion and electric cars.

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With additive manufacturing in oil and gas, the future starts now

For the oil and gas industry, digitalisation is much more than automation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

For the oil and gas industry, digitalisation is much more than automation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. It’s the opportunity to reimagine the design, manufacturing and operation of the assets and technology, leading to expansive breakthroughs in safety, efficiency and performance.

Nowhere is this promise more evident than in additive manufacturing (AM). More commonly known as 3D printing, AM will provide oil and gas companies with the power to transform how parts are created and optimised. The ability to fabricate parts on-demand stands to upend established and often inefficient supply chain models, reducing costs and opening the door for innovation.

Radical change is coming. The successes of early adopters, coupled with the wealth of expertise and resources now available, gives little reason for companies to press pause on starting their AM journeys. The barriers to entry have never been lower – and the rewards so high.

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3D Printing Case Example: On the highway to the comfort zone

Case Study: 3D Printing is on the Highway to the Comfort Zone-1The history of the Oberle shoe company began more than 150 years ago. In 1859, the great-great grandfather of Oberle’s current General Manager, Achim Oberle, opened a cobbler’s shop in Ettenheim that made shoes for customers in town and the surrounding areas. In 2006, the company began specializing in “Healthy Shoes.” And today, it’s recognized as a leader in the orthopedic footwear technology space. The company saves a lot of time and money by using the German RepRap X350pro 3D printer.

Oberle – Gesunde Schuhe is a specialty manufacturer that develops products for everything associated with legs, feet, and/or extremities. Behind its products is a highly technical process. The so-called 3D posture analysis (which involves 3D measurements of whole body posture), as well as the 3D walking analysis (which measures gait, body angles, and forces), have long been standard procedures for this company. To stay on the cutting edge of the industry, Oberle – Gesunde Schuhe must continuously employ state-of-the-art technologies as they become available.

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3D Printing moves into manufacturing with gusto

At this year’s Rapid TCT show, additive manufacturing systems were on display, and booth-by-booth, we heard the rationale for serial 3D printing production, i.e., manufacturing.

Jabil, Stratysis, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, serial production, trade showsTrade shows often come with an unstated theme. The second LiveWorx conference in 2015 came with the theme: “IoT can be deployed from product development through manufacturing and customer use.” A couple years ago, Siemen’s PLM World users’ conference was all about digital twins. At Advanced Design and Manufacturing in Cleveland last year, presenters and attendees were talking about how small- to mid-size companies were ready for smart manufacturing technology.

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3D printing moves into manufacturing with gusto

Trade shows often come with an unstated theme. The second LiveWorx conference in 2015 came with the theme: “IoT can be deployed from product development through manufacturing and customer use.” A couple years ago, Siemen’s PLM World users’ conference was all about digital twins. At Advanced Design and Manufacturing in Cleveland last year, presenters and attendees were talking about how small- to mid-size companies were ready for smart manufacturing technology.

Jabil, Stratysis, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, serial production, trade shows

At the Rapid TCT 3D printing show last month, the unstated theme on the trade show floor was: 3D printing is ready for product manufacturing. Not just small runs, not just custom production, but honest-to-goodness manufacturing across multiple industries. The buzzword on the show floor was “serial production”—code for “manufacturing.”

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People, not 3D Printers, the most valuable assets at On-Demand Manufacturer

concept-laser-printed-pieces

A recent tour of Protolabs’ 3D printing facility showed that as cool as the equipment was, the operators were the real reason for the company’s success.

When I found out one of IndustryWeek’s scheduled plant tours in Raleigh for our recent conference was going to be at an on-demand 3D printing manufacturer, Protolabs, I knew what I had to do: Demand I be the tour guide. I thought of all the reasons I needed to go, from seeing all the high-tech machines to seeing cool processes such as stereolithography (SLA) up close to a recent chat with Protolabs CEO Vicki Holt. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to storm into my boss’s office like a cop show detective would to present my evidence, as evidently, I’m the technology writer and was the going to go anyway.

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Chanel to produce up to 1 million 3D printed mascara brushes a month

Chanel Parfums Beauté, the cosmetics unit of the famous French design house, has turned to 3D printing for the production of an unlikely item: a mascara brush. In partnership with France-based Erpro 3D Factory, Chanel says it will begin manufacturing mascara brushes on an industrial scale using 3D printing.

When applying mascara, one might not think twice about the wand they unscrew from the bottle and lightly drag across their eyelashes. The truth is, however, that a ton of engineering and testing has gone into that seemingly simple object before it was put into production, marketed, and ultimately purchased.

From being eye-friendly, safe, effective, and even aesthetically pleasing, a lot goes in to making a mascara brush, which is why Chanel became interested in exploring 3D printing technologies for their production.

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Carbon fiber bikes may become a whole lot cheaper with 3D-printed frames

A company backed by the CIA that calls itself Arevo is hoping to lead a revolution in manufacturing that uses 3D printing to build products in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. The Silicon Valley, California startup recently picked up $12.5 million in funding to help pursue this goal and has revealed an impressive proof-of-concept product to help demonstrate its capabilities. That product is a carbon fiber bike frame that could give us a glimpse of the future for the cycling industry.

Arevo 3D printed bike

According to Arevo, its bike frame is the first to be 3D printed using carbon fiber. The company uses 3D printer technology, paired with a custom-built robotic arm and web-based software, to create products made from proprietary raw materials. The robot arm is able to print out shapes in a single pass using a thermoplastic material that is melted into strands of carbon fiber that helps bind everything together. The end result is a bike frame that costs about $300 to make, which is considerably less than what most bike manufacturers pay.

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Six ways to cut costs with 3D Printing

3D printing can cut costs by accelerating production and reducing tooling costs, work-in-process, and waste. Here are some design considerations for making this happen.

3D printing3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) has gone far beyond making prototypes quickly. It is now entrenched in manufacturing, and examples abound:

  • The Juno spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin and NASA and currently completing its mission in orbit around Jupiter, carries a dozen 3D-printed waveguide support brackets.
  • Activated Research Co. used 3D Printing to develop a new design for its Polyarc gas chromatography catalytic microreactor, bringing it to market in just 15 months.
  • Raytheon uses 3D printing for rocket engines, fins, and control components for guided missiles, creating parts in hours rather than days.
  • Boeing set a world record in 2016 by building the largest 3D-printed item ever made, a fixture used in building 777 airplanes, reportedly cutting weeks off its manufacturing time.
  • Brunswick Corp. relied on 3D printing for air conditioning grills on its Sea Ray yachts, eliminating the need for disposable tooling and speeding product development.
  • This air-conditioning grill for Sea Ray yachts was 3D printed.

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