If there is one country Africa that has seriously ventured into the 3D printing sector with active participation, it is South Africa.
Since 2012, the country at the located at the bottom of the African continent has covere
d significant ground in developing along with the 3D printing technology. Many international renowned 3D printer manufacturers and suppliers have set up a base engaging several local South African companies in their reseller programs and through distributorship deals. There are over fifteen companies in South Africa directly involved in 3D printing services and such a number is a good one from an African perspective.
Clothes shopping can be frustrating for people with uncommon shapes or understocked sizes; you rarely find what you want, and when you do, it rarely fits 100 percent comfortably. 3D printing may change the nature of the retail experience for that group — and for retailers who can’t always predict what their customers want.
“A lot of people are passionate about this tech,” says Fatma Baytar, an assistant professor in Cornell University’s department of fiber science and apparel design. “People are trying different ways to make it user friendly. It’s a neat idea.”
3D printing has taken off at lightning speed, with innovations emerging around the world continually—and virtually unregulated. While there may be some serious discussions and expectations regarding ownership and common sense regarding designs, most of the legal angles are still in the embryonic stages. And that brings us to tissue engineering. Jamil Ammar tackles a provocative subject that has the potential to become much more complex over the years, in ‘Defective Computer-Aided Design Software Liability in 3D Bioprinted Human Organ Equivalents.’
The creative aspect of 3D printing is one important part of potential intellectual property rights, but in relation to legalities, there are serious liabilities that could be connected to defects in bioprinting. Ammar leads us through the process of bioprinting, from CAD software design to CAD designs to scanning of organs, and the eventual bioprinting of such complex tissue. While there are still so many challenges to overcome before actual organs are created and implanted in humans, worrying about the legalities may seem like jumping the gun; but Ammar does bring up important issues regarding the ‘what ifs’ surrounding software or a design that could be defective.
According to a recent report, a Hong Kong start-up is combining 3D scanning and weaving technology to make the perfect pair of jeans, as consumers’ preferences shift from big-name brands to tech-inspired and sustainable fashion.
The start-up, based in the US, joined a Hong Kong incubator in February 2019. It is a zero-inventory “techstyle” store where jeans are only made when an order is placed. The incubator says techstyle covers material and supply chain innovation, wearables merging technology and style, and new retail experiences.
The two-year-old robotics and apparel company aims to become a zero-waste operation. It is developing a 3D weaving machine that would completely eliminate fabric waste, with plans to deploy it in stores as early as the end of this year.
Between enabling profound new designs and upending the traditional supply chain, the unlimited potential with metal 3D printing will transform the manufacturing landscape. Indeed, the transformation has already begun. But, getting metal AM into production is taking a lot longer than many media pundits predicted. It’s even progressing much slower than many “in-the-know” industry insiders expected.
Why is mass adoption so slow with metal 3D printing, especially in production? It really boils down to one word: economics. If the economics work, the application moves forward into production. If not, it’s dead on arrival. The numbers need to work because when it comes to production competitive manufacturing, technologies come into play. Customers start to say things like, “Well, if I make a couple of modifications to the design I can use CNC machining or metal injection molding and save a huge amount on the production cost.”
Immensa Technology Labs, a regional additive manufacturing (AM) company, has been working closely with numerous UAE and regional organisations on projects related to AM and utilisation of the technology in their respective operations.
Outside the oil and gas sector, Consolidated Contractors Company began working with Immensa in 2017 and, by the third quarter of 2018, had implemented AM across various functions within its organisation. Other companies, including Victory Team in the marine sector, Dubai Health Authority in the healthcare sector and Etihad Group in aviation, have all embraced the technology and are leveraging the value of AM.
In oil and gas, several companies in the region have started exploring AM. Arabian Oasis Industries (AOI), a division of Dubai-based Al-Shirawi group, has engaged Immensa to identify how it can leverage AM in its business. Today AOI and Immensa are working on multiple projects falling into three categories: custom replacement parts, optimising existing parts and certification of industry-specific parts. Read More
While it won’t go down as the most famous printing invention ever — Johannes Gutenberg’s creation seems likely to hold that title in perpetuity — few technologies in recent decades have been as developmentally groundbreaking as 3D printing.
Introduced in the 1980s and greatly refined over the last decade, 3D printing is a production method using advanced computer technology in which the composition of a material is altered then reshaped and molded to create a three-dimensional object.
Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a production method with strengths and weaknesses. It’s not a great way to make everything but it is a great way to make specific products ill-suited for mass production.
The maritime industry may not yet be at the same stage as, say, the aerospace or automotive industries in terms of additive manufacturing adoption, but there have been some tangible steps on the parts of shipping companies, ship manufacturers and port authorities to explore and accelerate the use of maritime additive manufacturing applications. On the marine side, as well, additive manufacturing is increasingly being used to produce custom or small batch components for yachts and sailboats.
As with any new technology adoption, the maritime and marine segments are currently experiencing a lot of “firsts” with 3D printing. As part of our AM Focus this month, we’re going to take a look at some of the most exciting and boundary-pushing announcements in the intersecting maritime and AM sectors.
3D printing could prove a transformative technology for the food industry, from meal customisation to aiding with dietary requirements. Deborah Williams explores the current state of the technology and what it could mean for the market.
In an era where food tastes are gearing towards customisation, 3D food printing, the process of preparing a meal or food item by means of an automated additive method, has been touted as a technology that may be able to participate in providing solutions.
And, at a time when consumers’ dietary requirements are increasing (and varied), 3D food printing, its proponents suggest, also carries benefits for those, say, with food allergies by allowing meals to be specifically designed not only to the recipient’s flavour, style and taste preferences but also to their health conditions.
The technology will revolutionize manufacturing, but how? United Technologies, GE and Honeywell are taking different approaches.
Like the cotton gin and the modern assembly line, 3D printing is the kind of breakthrough advancement that holds the promise to revolutionize manufacturing. The technology lets companies input designs into a printer the size of a small garden shed and have it spit out fully formed, usable products or parts – often at a savings of time, manpower and money.
This potential isn’t lost on industrial giants like General Electric Co., Honeywell International Inc. and United Technologies Corp.: if you can make a part cheaper, faster or better, that’s worth something. So all three companies are investing in the technology and using it to rethink the way they run their businesses. But they’re doing so in different and interesting ways.