3D printing predictions for 2019

3D printing has come a long way from its origins in the 1980s, with a brief entry into the consumer space galvanizing its growth in the earlier part of the decade. Now, it seems as though mass production with additive manufacturing (AM) technology is just around the corner, as a number of companies introduce methods for batch 3D printing.

A metal part 3D printed with Metal Jet technology from HP. (Image courtesy of HP.) A metal part 3D printed with Metal Jet technology from HP. (Image courtesy of HP.)

To learn how the AM space will change in the next year, engineering.com got feedback from several experts in the space, including those from exciting new startups that will break onto the scene in 2019.

Read more

3D printing will ‘transform’ the oil industry, says BP

BP has begun using 3D printing to manufacture components for its petrochemicals business and claims the technology could turn out to be “transformative” for the oil industry’s supply chain.

BP says 3D printing could transform oil industry supply chains

David Eyton, BP’s head of technology, said the oil giant was already using 3D printing to make specialist components used in its chemicals division such as the agitators used inside catalytic reactors.

“3D printers are fantastic for making quite bespoke devices,” Mr Eyton said. “The internals of our reactors are really quite bespoke… We can make anything now.”

Read more (subscription required)

3D Printing and gaps in Intellectual Property law

In a paper entitled “From IP Goals to 3D Holes: Does Intellectual Property Law Provide a Map or Gap in the Era of 3D Printing?” author Autumn Smith discusses issues with intellectual property law and 3D printing. 3D printing complicated as it “stretches across many facets of the law,” says Smith. It involves a machine, a product, a digital process, and often the translation of that process.

In a paper entitled “From IP Goals to 3D Holes: Does Intellectual Property Law Provide a Map or Gap in the Era of 3D Printing?” author Autumn Smith discusses issues with intellectual property law and 3D printing. 3D printing complicated as it “stretches across many facets of the law,” says Smith. It involves a machine, a product, a digital process, and often the translation of that process.

“The eventual low cost of 3D printing combined with their ability to produce most physical things will fundamentally change the economics of industrial manufacturing,” states Smith. “Much like the Internet, 3D printers separate the content of the product from the information used to create it, which, in turn, will substantially reduce the manufacturing costs. This feature will inevitably mean that the production of items can come from virtually anywhere which will certainly present problems for governments and markets.”

Read more

Andy Simpson: Scottish firms need to adopt 3D vision

Why do we need 3D printing? is unfortunately not an ­uncommon response from Scottish companies when I ask if they’re interested in using additive manufacturing in their business.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it’s fondly known, is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D-printed object is achieved using additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material.

Companies wrongly presume they have to be involved in one of the ‘sexy’ manufacturing industries like ­aerospace, F1, automotive or ­medical to benefit or use this technology, which is far from reality. Additive manufacturing was used significantly in the creation of ­concept and ­prototype models for new designs and products.

Read more

Reinventing manufacturing with advances in 3D printing

In recent years, 3D printers have proven themselves as viable solutions for rapid prototyping for product designers. But, Markforged believes that with the advancements in the technology, the scope for industrial 3D printing goes far beyond that.

As Markforged’s vice president of application engineering, Andrew de Geofroy, told Manufacturers’ Monthly, advancements in 3D printing technologies have opened up new manufacturing opportunities in at least two distinct areas.

As Markforged’s vice president of application engineering, Andrew de Geofroy, told Manufacturers’ Monthly, advancements in 3D printing technologies have opened up new manufacturing opportunities in at least two distinct areas.

“The first one is the ability for existing manufacturers to positively disrupt the way they’ve traditionally brought products to market – from prototyping to tooling up their assembly lines or producing end-use parts for final products or service/replacement parts.

Read more

The retail supply chain: has technology advanced the process?

The world of retail appears to be more reliant on technology to survive. But how has it affected the supply chain specifically? Read on as we explore how technology has transformed and helped businesses maximise their supply chain efficiency, including making deliveries speedier and keeping up with fluctuating consumer demands.

Consumer demand

Retail

Apparently, consumers are getting more demanding, which has caused companies to react if they want to retain and attract customers. Many consumers expect convenience now that they know it’s possible. When they’ve received one service from a business, the bar is raised, and they expect that all their other favourite brands will do the same.

Tracking a package throughout its entire journey and getting the item you purchased last night the next day is no longer a luxury in retail for many customers. For businesses, this means that an efficient supply chain with a well-managed inventory tracking system is essential. And, when it comes to getting in touch with the business, customers expect instant contact through the channels that they’re most used to — Twitter, Facebook and instant messaging platforms.

Read more

Stratasys to 3D print spare parts on demand for Angel Trains

Angel Trains, a British rolling stock operator company (ROSCO), has partnered with Stratasys and ESG Rail, a Derby-based engineering consultant, to 3D print replacement parts for trains.

3D printed train components for Angel Trains. Image via Stratasys

Technical Director of Angel Trains, Mark Hicks, said, “We are proud to be driving this innovation with ESG Rail and Stratasys and hope that this solution will help to free the industry from technological constraints, and allow our trains to continue to meet passengers’ needs now and in the future.”

Read more

Five industries Utilizing 3D Printing

With a plethora of companies using additive manufacturing in their production process, we want to identify industries that we believe benefit most from additive manufacturing. By looking at these industries, it’s easy to understand how and why 3D printers are changing manufacturing as a whole.

Read more

Additive manufacturing is driving the future of the automotive industry

Additive manufacturing aligns with the needs of the automotive industry, driving advances in vehicle design. Serial production is a reality today in additive manufacturing (or 3-D printing) as the technologies under this umbrella have advanced to a point where end-use parts can be made of both metal and plastic materials, ready to be put to use in real-world environments. The automotive industry has been a major adopter, with automotive OEMs among the first to install 3-D printers — some 30 years ago, in fact, Ford purchased the third 3-D printer ever made.

2014 Deloitte study pointed to two major areas of influence for 3-D printing in automotive applications: as a source of product innovation and as a driver of supply chain transformation. Over the past nearly half-decade, these predictions have shown to be spot-on as new vehicle models come out faster and sleeker, with digital supply chains reshaping logistics.

Some of the best-known benefits of additive manufacturing align precisely with what automotive OEMs are looking to deliver: faster development cycles, part consolidation, lightweighting, new and custom geometries.

Read more

Medical 3D printing companies gain FDA certification under Materialise program

If you follow 3D printing or medical news at all, you’re likely familiar with the many ways that 3D printing is changing medicine for the better. 3D printed anatomical models are helping surgeons better plan and execute surgeries, while 3D printed implants are being customized to patients for better comfort and longevity, just to name a couple of the major advancements of 3D printing in healthcare. While it may seem like things are happening quickly, however, the solutions don’t just appear and magically change the world; there are hurdles that must be addressed before these solutions can be truly widespread, particularly the dreaded R word – regulation.

In March last year, Materialise became the first company to receive FDA clearance for diagnostic use of its 3D printed anatomical model software. The company then launched an FDA-approved certification program that allows 3D printer manufacturers to have their products tested and validated for use with Materialise’s Mimics inPrint software, which converts medical images into 3D print-ready files.

Read more