Already a $4 billion industry, and projected to reach $18 billion by 2020, 3D printing appears to be the next disruptive technology. It’s a disruption because 3D printing is replacing manufacturing practices that have been around ever since humankind started using tools.
As to what makes 3D printing different, read this excerpt from 3DPrinting.com:
‘The creation of a 3D-printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.”
Burdened with a number of obsolete and broken aircraft, the US Marine Corps (USMC) is turning to additive manufacturing technology to help restore its fleet, giving pilots a better opportunity to receive essential training. The USMC has already trialled a 3D printing scheme in one of its battalions.
Back in April, we heard news of a military 3D printing experiment being carried out by the Marines of 1st Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group. The battalion had been given a number of on-loan 3D printers for a six-month period in order to print its own spare parts, with the USMC curious to see how the technology could be used to solve real-world defense problems. After seeing the 3D printers in action first-hand, ground radio repairman Cpl. Samuel Stonestreet commented that it was “very important for the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense as a whole to look into [3D printing] and see how we can implement it into missions.” Now, according to a report from Cpl. Jim Truxel (US Marine Corps 1977-1981) written for SAAB USA, the Marines could soon be heeding Cpl. Stonestreet’s advice as they look to take their additive exploits to the next level.
A new study has shown how online 3D printing platforms have fostered a new culture of collaboration that can turn almost anybody in the world into a serious innovator, but there’s a long way to go to make that happen.
The study focuses on turning users into innovators and analysed 22 online platforms. The results in the Journal of Engineering and Manufacturing Technology Management clearly state that companies have to set to build advanced platforms that help bring the end user into the design process.
3D printing has already changed the world and there is a vast amount of untapped potential. Every day we report on new breakthroughs and we have barely scratched the surface of what 3D printing is actually capable of.
Many are still waiting for the advent of a desktop 3D printer in every home—as ubiquitous as the PC or the kitchen stove—and the common practice of simply fabricating virtually whatever we want due to need or whim before they will believe 3D printing truly has a future. It may be easy to adopt that opinion if you aren’t keeping track of the accelerated pace at which the technology is evolving, and missing out on projections from expert analysts researching areas like that of 3D printed medical devices or investigating what kind of revenues the industry of 3D printing and related technology will produce just in the next year.
Somehow though, it’s all very believable when you hear it from GE—a company that’s certainly not only an inspiration for many others in terms of massive innovation but perhaps a role model too for other industrial heavy hitters as they pave the way for additive manufacturing to progress further around the world, from a smart factory in Chakan, India to their latest $40 million Center for Additive Technology Advancement in Pittsburgh.
The world’s largest manufacturer of trucks has turned to 3D printing to produce spare parts for its vast range of trucks.
Daimler has joined the likes of Audi and BMW, who have both adopted additive manufacturing for producing spare parts on a ‘just in time’ basis.
The German company sits alongside Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz in the Daimler Chrysler Group, so this is a significant development.
It will introduce 3D printing on a limited basis from September. It will start with simple plastic items like spring caps, mountings, air and cable ducts and clamps. In the end, though, it is almost inevitable that every service centre in the world will have a 3D printer and the capability to produce replacement metal and plastic parts on site.
Mercedes Benz 3D printing produces various plastic truck components and other car parts from old catalogues or model lines. This environmentally friendly process is usually applied to create low-volume parts of old series members.
The Mercedes-Benz 3D Printing is printed easily and prevents the waste of space storage. Mercedes Benz 3D model can be produced using this technology particularly covers, spacers, spring caps, air and cable ducts, clamps, mountings and control elements. The Mercedes-Benz 3D Printing experiments started since the 1990s. They tried to use the process in creating parts for the Rolls-Royce Phantom and indicator light casing.
The use of 3D printing was also practiced by Daimler, the world’s largest truck manufacturer; producing 100,000 prototype parts annually. They just send a digital blueprint of a spare part to a 3-D printer that will convert special inks to plastics without stocking or shipping the part.
Many 3D printers lack cybersecurity features, which presents opportunities to introduce defects as components are being built, a new study shows.
The study, performed by a team of cybersecurity and materials engineers at New York University, concluded that with the growth of cloud-based and decentralized 3D printer production supply chains, there can be “significant risk to the reliability of the product.”
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is creating a globally distributed manufacturing process and supply chain spanning multiple services, and therefore raises concerns about the reliability of the manufactured product, the study stated.
ANOTHER milestone has been passed in the adoption of additive manufacturing, popularly known as 3D printing. Daihatsu, a Japanese manufacturer of small cars and a subsidiary of Toyota, an industry giant, announced on June 20th that it would begin offering car buyers the opportunity to customise their vehicles with 3D-printed parts. This brings to drivers with more modest budgets the kind of individual tailoring of vehicles hitherto restricted to the luxury limousines and sports cars of the super-rich.
The service is available only to buyers of the Daihatsu Copen, a tiny convertible two-seater. Customers ordering this car from their local dealer can choose one of 15 “effect skins”, decorative panels embellished with intricate patterns in ten different colours. The buyers can then use a website to tinker with the designs further to create exactly the look they want. The skins are printed in a thermoplastic material using additive-manufacturing machines from Stratasys, an American company. The results are then stuck on the front and rear body panels.
The potential of 3D printing is continually pushed to the edges of imagination and possibility in almost every industry to which it is applied. At a glance, 3D printers will eventually become as common as an oven in a kitchen, as standard as a 2D printer in every office building and as important as a forklift at a construction site. According to a recent press release, Global Futurist Jack Uldrich is set to give a keynote speech in Charlotte, NC, in which he will address several revolutionary trends in the real estate and evolutionary industries.
Among these trends, additive manufacturing – more commonly referred to as 3D printing – continues to yield some of the most tangible and groundbreaking results. Watch Uldrich below at a conference in 2015, as he speaks about previous technologies’ revolutions in the industry.