Category Archives: Paradigm Shift

3D Printing set to revolutionize mainstream manufacturing

According to Gartner, 3D printing has great potential. Total spending is predicted to grow at a 66.5% CAGR to $17.7 billion in 2020 with over 6.5 million printer sales. Gartner also predicts that “by 2020, 75% of manufacturing operations worldwide will use 3D-printed tools, jigs and fixtures made in-house or by a service bureau to produce finished goods. Also, 3D printing will reduce new product introduction timelines by 25%.” Enterprise 3D printer shipments is also expected to grow 57.4% CAGR through 2020.

The top priorities related to 3D printing include accelerated product development, offering customized products and limited series and increasing production flexibility. Here are additional 3D printing market forecasts:

  • 57% of all 3D printing work done is in the first phases of the new product development
  • 55% companies predict they will be spending more in 3D printing services and solutions in 2017
  • 47% of companies surveyed have seen a greater ROI on their 3D printing investments in 2017 compared to 2016

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The value of additive manufacturing: future opportunities

Published in September 2017, in conjunction with Imperial College London’s Additive Manufacturing Network, this paper presents an overview of the potential economic, technical and environmental benefits of additive manufacturing (AM) – 3D printing – as well as the current hurdles across the AM process chain that need to be overcome to realise a more-effective and more-profitable industry. For example, improved design software, faster printing technology, increased automation and better industry standards are required.

Imperial College London is equipped to play a leading role in the UK’s ever-growing AM landscape. The current portfolio of AM-based research is varied and encompasses problems across the entire design-to-end-use-product chain. Research projects include, for instance, the development of new design methodologies for optimised multimaterial AM parts, novel metal-based AM printing techniques, investigations of fundamental AM material properties and 3D printing of next-generation biomaterials for medical applications.

AM research at Imperial can be further extended by capitalising on the College’s world-class scientific and engineering expertise and factilities, its culture of collaboration and history of effective research translation. There are several ways for external partners interested in the AM field to engage with Imperial academics: focused workshops, bespoke consultancy services, funding for specific research projects and facilities, or student placements

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3D Printing: The next great supply chain tool

Another tool in the supply chain toolbox, on-demand additive manufacturing promises lower inventories and costs, plus less waste.

adidas futurecraft 4d release date 5 5a09da816feb0The inability to perfectly correlate demand with supply has been a key riddle for supply chains and logistics throughout history. Too much product is a glut. Too little is a scarcity.

Striking a balance is hard, so suppliers use sophisticated algorithms to take their best shot at how much of their products will be needed at a certain time and a certain place to meet an uncertain demand.  Couple that with the need to produce products in large quantities to achieve economies of scale and the issue is exacerbated.

To deal with this, suppliers produce products in large quantities in low labor cost countries, ship and store those products near their customers, hoping that their demand projections turn out to be accurate. This projection is always imperfect, especially considering that the value of inventory in the United States alone was $1.8 trillion in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Assuming an inventory carrying cost of 25 percent, that’s $450 million U.S. companies pay each year to hold that inventory.

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Additive Manufacturing both ubiquitous and nascent

Hailey Lynne McKeefry

Four out of five manufacturers say that they are using 3D printing today. At the same time, prototyping claims the lion’s share of the activity. We are at a tipping point where, over the next few years, 3D printing will likely change manufacturing and its supply chain dramatically.

Add New“The reality is that he cost of printing has come down so much in the past few years that it is easy for anybody to be at least be dabbling in 3D printing,” John Dulchinos, vice president, Digital Manufacturing at contract manufacturer Jabil told EBN.  “A lot of it ends up being just that. However, anyone doing design work who isn’t using 3D printing is behind the curve.”

In short, the promise and complexities associated with 3D printing in manufacturing abound. “As one of the fundamental building blocks around 3D printing, additive manufacturing over time will have a profound impact on supply chain,” Dulchinos. “We were all starting at ground zero, though. There isn’t a lot of well-defined literature or history on using additive manufacturing for functional production parts.”

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Where could 3D printing work for my company?

“Just because you can 3D-print something doesn’t mean you should.”

Mike Vasquez, founder of digital manufacturing and 3D printing consultancy 3Degrees, guides companies looking to add 3D printing to their toolbox, and he’s quick to offer a reality check on the technology’s possibilities and limitations. “Just because you can 3D-print something doesn’t mean you should,” he says. “If you’re telling me that you want to recreate these screws and just use 3D printing for no justification, then that’s a challenge.”

Vasquez offers these questions for companies to answer in evaluating whether and where to incorporate 3D printing:

1. Are you saving time to production so you can get more product to the market sooner?

2. Will 3D printing allow you to reduce your inventory, creating more of an on-demand supply chain and saving on spare-part storage and maintenance costs?

3. How long is it going to take, really? “I think people underestimate the work that goes into post-processing,” Vasquez says. “If we’re talking about metals, you likely need to heat-treat or stress-relief that part afterward.” Plus, he says, a secondary heat treatment could be required, taking several days in some cases. SLM North America’s Richard Grylls notes: “If you imagine printing in layers of 30 microns and you’ve got a build height of up to 350 mm, depending on the laser run time and the amount of parts you’re building, it can take days to build a set of components on a build cycle.”

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Daimler Trucks launches 3D-printing technology in manufacturing to ease parts supply chain

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced Monday that it will make its first delivery of plastic parts produced using 3D printing technologies to its customers in the coming weeks, as part of a pilot programme. 

The company is confident that these new technologies will soon play a significant role in the trucking industry.

More importantly, DTNA sees 3D printing as an opportunity to better serve its customers, particularly those customers in need of parts that have been difficult to provide through traditional supply chain models, such as those for older trucks or parts with very low or intermittent demand.

During this pilot phase, DTNA says it will release a controlled quantity of 3D printed parts and will invite feedback from customers and technicians that receive them.

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GE breaks turbine energy efficiency record using additive manufacturing

GE's HA fleet status report as of November 27th 2017. Image via GE PowerGE’s largest and most efficient gas turbine the HA, nicknamed HArriet, has broken its own net efficiency record. Beating previous orders at 63.7% efficiency, the HA is now available at 64% under conditions recorded at a test plant in Greenville, South Carolina. The company attributes this feat to “combustion breakthroughs through constant innovation,” and applying additive manufacturing to a number of the turbine’s key components.

HA efficiency in figures

GE H-Class gas turbines are used by over 70 customers in combined cycle power plants around the world. By redirecting the waste heat generated by a gas turbine to a steam turbine, combined cycle power plants produce 50 % more electricity from the same fuel, i.e. natural gas, than a traditional simple-cycle plant.

Just 18 months prior to this new record, a 9HA.01 turbine earned a Guinness World Record for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant. At the site in Bouchain, France, the GE 9HA produces enough energy to power 680,000 homes with an output of 605 MW.

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3D Printing in luxury fashion: Revolution or Evolution?

3D printing has been described as nothing short of a new industrial revolution that holds potential for major innovation in terms of business models and consumption patterns. This technological development is part of the 4th industrial revolutionthat is characterized by a range of new technologies fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all industries including luxury fashion.

3D printing has been specifically helped by advances in material science, digital design and on-demand production capabilities. There are three main technologies behind 3D printing. The most common is FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling), where a nozzle deposits layers of melted filaments one after the other at a temperature of around 200 degrees Celsius.

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What was hot in Supply Chain Technology in 2017?

When it comes to new technology, development usually proceeds incrementally. But progress continues to be made on many fronts. Here is a look at some critical new technologies, and how the ARC Advisory Group assesses their maturity.

3D Printing of Spare Parts

The opportunity to use 3D printing – more accurately labeled “additive manufacturing” – to print spare parts is widely recognized.  In ARC’s conversations with industry insiders, we have come across many companies that have beta projects and are printing a small number of parts, but no company that is doing this at scale. There are a number of challenges associated with scaling additive manufacturing in the supply chain. However, the challenges are not insurmountable. New cloud-based solutions are very promising.

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Planning to buy a 3D printer? These are 7 details you should pay attention to

From 3dprint.com:

I remember when I was planning my first 3D printer purchase. These were endless hours of browsing phrases like “3D printer choice criteria” or “the most important 3D printer details/parts”.Almost every article’s main point was “it depends on what do you want your 3D printer to be used for”.And this is obviously true. Of course, I know that this is not what you are looking for, so in this article I would like to introduce you to a list of the seven most-important features of 3D printers which you need to look at before buying a new one of your own.

  1. Build volume

This is usually the first parameter given by 3D printer manufacturers. It determines the maximum size your printed element can be. It involves three numbers. The first two are the length and width of your printing, and the third is height. So, at the beginning you should think about the biggest thing that you might want to 3D print with your device, and reject all the 3D printers whose build volume is too small. You should also pay attention to the units used. Some manufacturers use inches, others use millimetres or inches, so be careful.

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