Betatype’s volume additive manufacture of automotive headlight parts saves days in time and thousands of pounds

Betatype reduced costs by thousands, and time by hundreds of hours.

Betatype headlight component

Betatype, a provider of additively manufactured components, has produced 384 headlight parts in a single build using metal powder bed fusion, saving days in time and thousands of pounds.

Through this process, the company streamlined the production of large heatsinks for LED automotive headlights, which were identified by Betatype as well-suited to being additively manufactured with the powder bed fusion process. Betatype noted the process would be ideal for the specific geometry of these metal parts, since it can consolidate multiple builds into one.  

Read more

The pros and cons of 3D printing

There are a number of challenges facing lab design/build experts—cost and availability of equipment and supplies, as well as ordering and transporting them, are among such concerns. Time is also a factor in many lab builds or renovations.

A relatively new innovation, 3D printing, could offer a solution to such challenges. First developed in the 1980s, 3D printing has picked up steam in recent years and has been used in a number of fields—medical devices and prosthetics, surgical models, dental molds, aircraft parts and entire, road-ready cars. Novelty keepsakes have also taken off, proving that such technology isn’t exclusively for big labs and major companies. For example, a coworker has a four-inch figurine of himself perched proudly on his desk. If you’ve got the cash, then a 3D printer could be yours. 

Read more

Webinar: Ready for flight: Gaining a competitive advantage using additive manufacturing

The ability to produce parts with repeatable characteristics and consistent quality is a key factor to the increased adoption of 3D printing in the multi-billion dollar aircraft interior parts segment. 3D printing aircraft interior parts can have key inherent benefits for both supply chain efficiency and for the product offering of aircraft interior manufacturers.

Hear from John Wilczynski, Deputy Director – Technology Development for the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and Chris Holshouser, Director, Specialty Solutions at Stratasys, as they discuss the challenge of using FDM additive manufacturing for certified aircraft applications and the Stratasys solution that includes the new Aircraft Interiors Configuration Fortus 900mc.

Read more

What 3D printing holds for Indian automakers

Indian automakers such as Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki are riding the 3D printing revolution for prototyping of car models with the hope of eventually using it for manufacturing. 

What 3D printing holds for Indian automakers      

Looking for a spare part for your old Hyundai Santro or Chevrolet Beat that’s no longer in production, but haven’t had much luck so far? No worries. Automakers are working on a unique solution to help you out: three dimensional or 3D printing.

Huh? What does 3D printing have to do with car parts? You’ll be surprised, but global automakers are using the cool technology to produce spare parts for vintage models. If you’re still baffled and wondering how this works, it’s really quite simple. Basically, 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the technology of assembling three-dimensional objects layer by layer using lasers or electron beams guided by a computer.

Read more

3D printing companies take action against 3D guns amid debatable public safety threat

A 3D printer at work in Philadelphia's NextFab studios. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

At the South Philadelphia high-tech makers’ space NextFab, creators of all types work on projects using laser cutters, robots, and a room full of 3D printers.

Walt Barger, who manages the printing operations there, is standing between two printers the size of refrigerators, noting both their power and price tag.

“It’s an older printer, but it’s still a $40,000 machine,” he said, pointing to one. “And the one next to it, the ProJet, is a $100,000 machine.”

Lately, Barger has been extra vigilant about the kinds of things people are hoping to create here.

“Our staff is always monitoring. If we see anything that even looks like a gun, we’re going to stop the person,” he said.

Read more

Will 3D printing disrupt the metalworking industry?

Based on the survey, machinery companies have high potential to realize great benefits with 3D printing.

Historically, metalworking has involved a process called subtractive manufacturing, where a metal block is put inside a computer-controlled machine. The machine cuts the block into desired shapes that later become automotive, aerospace, or electronic parts. In most cases, it takes multiple cutting steps and processes to create a component, given the complexity of the desired shape.

The advent of 3D printing (sometimes called additive manufacturing or AM) could potentially disrupt the traditional metalworking process. In 3D printing, powdered materials are joined to create a solid object in almost any shape. The technology poses a significant challenge to metalworking companies, given that metal parts can be printed in only a single step, resulting in lower cost per unit and lower lead time at low volumes.

Read more

How ASCs can be held liable for 3D medical devices — And 5 strategies to avoid risk

3D-printed devices such as surgical instruments and implants offer treatment advantages for ASCs and hospitals but also entail liability risks if the device isn’t ‘manufactured’ properly, according to CNA Vice President of Underwriting Ryann Elliott.

The FDA defines a manufacturer as “any person who designs, manufactures, fabricates, assembles or processes a finished device.” Therefore, the FDA may be authorized to regulate and inspect healthcare facilities creating medical devices through 3D printing.

Facilities should implement these five strategies to mitigate risks:

1. Tracking. Implement procedures to track all 3D-printed products brought into the facility. Identify which physicians have the appropriate credentials and privileges to use the products.

Read more

Hybrid AM Supply Chains: The future of manufacturing?

A map of proposed metal AM hubs based on demand patterns across the United States.

The proportion of the manufacturing market that can be addressed by 3D printing technology is growing by the day. Improvements in underlying additive processes have brought economic feasibility to applications across the entire spectrum of 3D-printable materials, but the trend has been most pronounced in metals. Up to now, metal AM’s strong ability to occupy an important place in the value chain for OEMs of all sizes hasn’t matched up with its relatively low levels of adoption. The issue can be summarized thus: the massive business advantages that incorporating AM might unlock remain off limits for most companies because the costs associated with bringing the technology in-house remains prohibitive.

Inspired by this challenge, a new research effort published earlier this summer in Additive Manufacturingtook a close look at a practical way to make the value of metal AM accessible to more companies. The paper, titled “Hybrid manufacturing—integrating traditional manufacturers with additive manufacturing (AM) supply chain,” imagines what it would look like to develop a system in which additive manufacturing “hubs” throughout the country were brought online by independent providers. These hubs would then be accessible as vendors for those OEMs that might have niche uses for metal 3D printing, but are unable to make the technology investment on their own. The study paints a tantalizing picture of how a hybridized supply chain might propel the manufacturing sector forward by democratizing access to this revolutionary technology.

Read more

7 in 10 retail leaders say 3D printing results in happier, more satisfied customers

Satisfying consumer demands for rapid fulfilment and customisation, a new study commissioned by Ricoh Europe reveals the vital role retail business leaders see new printing technologies playing in driving their competitive advantage. 73% of those surveyed believe investments in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, directly lead to greater customer satisfaction.According to the research, 84% of retail leaders report a growing demand from customers for shorter delivery times and 74% say customers increasingly want more personalised products. With that in mind, 68% say new printing technologies provide a key source of differentiation for their business.

Read more

Boeing invests in 3D-printed parts in wake of supplier shortfalls

Boeing has pledged to deliver 800 airliners this year, more than ever before, but a main hiccup causing delays is supplier shortfalls. 

New technology from startup companies like Digital Alloys could give Boeing more control over its supply chain. Boeing spokesperson Vienna Catalani told Supply Chain Dive the company is not yet certain how and if it will integrate Digital Alloys’ specific technology, but whether used internally at Boeing or in the hands of suppliers, 3D printers can produce metal parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Read more