The 6 types of manufacturing processes: The impact of AM

AM will overtake Discrete and Job Shop manufacturing.

Manufacturing processes

The arrival of Additive Manufacturing (AM) as a valid alternative to the original five manufacturing processes is really going to shake up the factory. Within 3 to 5 years, engineering and manufacturing leaders will look out at their production floors and wonder if they should tool-up or modify an assembly line for a new product or just buy the 3D or Metal AM machines they need for the volume they anticipate.

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Researchers investigating the use of blockchain to increase efficiency in the 3D printing industry

Blockchain, the underlying technology of decentralized cryptocurrency Bitcoin, makes it possible for all members of a network to process transactions in a decentralized, transparent manner that is free from tampering. The technology stores a series of data sets, or blocks, containing transactional data, through an individual concatenation (hash values) on the preceding set. This forms a connection, or chain, between the blocks, which are then stored within the data set in a secure transfer.

Recently, we’ve been seeing increased interest in incorporating Blockchain technology into the 3D printing industry, from being used in a military testing capacity to storing data of 3D printed aircraft parts. A pair of researchers – Wjatscheslav Baumung from Germany’s Reutlingen Universityand Vladislav V. Fomin from both Vilnius University and Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania – are looking to increase efficiency in the 3D printing business world by incorporating Blockchain.

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3-D printing set to offer low-cost, high-speed dentures

TSUKUBA, Ibaraki Prefecture–Scientists here have developed technology to create metal denture frames with a 3-D printer, a breakthrough that could mean false teeth will be provided more cheaply and quickly than with current methods.

Researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) said under their new method the oral structure is measured with a special scanner to make high-quality dentures at less than half the cost of conventional techniques.

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The good, the bad and the ugly of 3D printing technology

When the first 3D printed gun was fired in 2013, the blueprints were posted online for anyone to access. They were immediately taken down by order of the US government, but not before they had been downloaded nearly 100,000 times.

On August 1, plans for printable guns were allowed to be posted online once again. But attorneys-general in eight states, plus the District of Columbia, filed suits in an attempt to ban them. The court battle continues.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is the production of an object using a digital blueprint. The latest 3D printers can fit on a desk and cost less than $1,000. So long as you can find the right design and materials, you can make previously off-limit objects in your own home.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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