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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Local manufacturing is not a new concept, but advancements in technology and design mean that now more than ever, it is a viable option – especially when it comes to disaster recovery and helping war and weather-torn areas. Field Ready’s Eric James talks about how creating supplies-in-the-field can make all the difference when responding to humanitarian crises.
In regions where something as simple as an umbilical cord clamp or a plastic u-bend can help save lives, local manufacturing can have a hugely positive impact. Hard to reach areas stricken by disaster, conflict and extreme poverty can be slow to receive emergency aid and broken or non-existent supply chains often mean that people in these areas don’t have the equipment they need when or where they need it.
Access to the right technology can circumvent these supply chain problems and can mean the difference between waiting weeks and sometimes months for medical equipment, power or clean water to having systems up and running in a day or even less. But local manufacturing isn’t just about the technology. It’s about putting the people – the communities – first, focusing on the actual support they need on the ground. We can then apply design thinking and other methods to map the technology best suited to meeting their needs and alleviating their suffering as quickly as possible – not the other way around.
Printing accurate models of organs is reducing recovery time and healthcare costs.
16By taking advantage of 3D printing technology, doctors are presented with tangible, accurate models of organs. This is helping both doctors and students to perform better. Some programs and labs have been started in hospitals to try and adopt 3D printing technology. According to doctors, the program has empowered med students to invent their own solutions to healthcare challenges and helped tighten design cycles. Their products draw from training and experience with actual patients, striving to make a difference in the quality of care for future generations.
The following was derived from an interview from an interview with Todd Pietila, Materialise’s business development manager for hospital 3D printing. He talked about what models are printed, how they help, regulations, and more.
Greek construction giant Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) has teamed up with UAE-based Immensa to create a digital warehouse which will 3D-print parts on demand.
Immensa predicts that companies are sitting on $10trn of inventory at any given time, and says that 3D printing as and when parts are needed can greatly reduce supply chain lead times and costs.
Aref Boualwan, Manager M.I.S. & Business Process Re-Engineering at CCC, commented: “If we can get to a point over the next few years whereby a small percentage of our inventory can be digitised the impact will be significant.