3D printing technology applications come alive in applications ranging from developing packaging machinery to producing personalized medical devices to printing custom medications in a patient’s home.
The FDA acknowledges that “advances in material science, digital health, 3D printing, as well as other technologies continue to drive an unparalleled period of invention in medical devices.”
The perspective comes from a Nov. 26, 2018 statement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Jeff Shuren, Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, outlining transformative new steps to modernize FDA’s 510(k) program to advance the review of the safety and effectiveness of medical devices.
As Barcelona Industry Week and IN(3D)USTRY: From Needs to Solutions Additive and Advanced Manufacturing Global Hub concludes, the future of 3D printing the path to industrialization shows promise.
With a focus on digitization and Industry 4.0, 3D Printing Industry sought to learn more on how such technologies work with additive manufacturing, by attending the IN(3D)USTRY talk “Printing Farms & Smart Factories.”
The following includes some of the insights made by Pedro Mier, Adviser and Member of the Board of Directors at Premo Group, Ignacio Artola Guardiola, Managing Director at Accenture, Ramón Paricio Hernández, Production Manager at SEAT, and Ramón Pastor, Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Large Format Printing.
Automakers and suppliers are on the cusp of revolutionary change through their growing use of 3D printing, a technology that can make custom parts on demand and has the potential to mass-produce parts.
Once the technology achieves critical mass, industry analysts say, 3D printing also could affect fixed operations at dealerships.
Many automakers now use 3D printing to make prototype parts for vehicle development, as well as tools and assembly aids for manufacturing operations. Several car companies are looking into making production parts with 3D printers in the next five years. Some automakers currently produce handfuls of small replacement parts, typically interior trim pieces.
Jabil is creating a digital network to manufacture 3D printed parts
Over the years, Jabil, the manufacturing solutions provider and one of HP’s partners in the production of 3D printers, has been recognized as a supply chain innovator by the likes of Gartner. Today, it is in the process of creating what Jabil and John Dulchinos, the vice president of digital manufacturing, calls a digital supply chain.
As Dulchinos explains, that is one in which networks of digital printers are distributed to locations around the world, such as Singapore, where Jabil manufacturers HP’s 3D printers, while the design and process work is centralized in Silicon Valley. “We’re building production files in San Jose, and sending them to Singapore where we’re manufacturing them on 3D printers and then assembling the final product,” Dulchinos says.
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The US military has not shied away from implementing modern manufacturing methods such as 3D printing, but has actually embraced the technology. In fact, the US Air Force has used 3D printing for multiple projects, including components for aircraft and fighter jets, such as the F-35. This is what’s known as a next-generation fighter, and the 388th Maintenance Group of the Hill Air Force Base in Utah recently began 3D printing specific replacement parts for the F-35. Base officials are hoping that the technology will help to lower costs and increase availability.
Many branches of the military have turned to 3D printing to make replacement parts for those very same reasons.
Full disclosure: Twelve months ago, if you had told me that I would be the CEO of a 3D printing company one year into the future, I would have laughed out loud. You see, one year ago, I was entering into my seventh year running the team that plans, builds and deploys Google’s worldwide cloud infrastructure. A dream job, yes, but one that I was growing mentally and physically tired from seven years of constant non-stop activity and growth – and I needed a change. As much as I hated to admit it, even I recognized the signs of burn-out.
My original plan was to sit on a beach for six months to decompress, recharge, and think about the future of technology, my life and eventually forge a new path forward. As they say, the best laid plans…
From the U.S. Air Force’s production of cost-effective 3D printed cup handles and 3D printed military aircraft toilet seat covers, additive manufacturing continues to provide innovative part solutions for military and naval industries.
Lockheed Martin, a Maryland-based aerospace and defense company, has emphasized its 5Ps Additive Manufacturing Model to demonstrate the potential of additive manufacturing in the lifecycle of a typical U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) program.
“We look to insert the right level of additive capabilities at each of our factories to support production and keep our innovation centers focused on development,” said Carolyn Preisendanz, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Technology at Lockheed Martin RMS in an article by Robert Ghobrial, Technical Fellow and AM Technology Strategist Lockheed Martin, Training and Logistics Solutions (TLS) division.
The U.S. is in multiple international trade wars. After President Trump ordered higher taxes on some Chinese imports, the Chinese retaliated. The trade dispute now involves as much as US$200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods. Trump has also targeted the European Union, Canada and Mexico with tariffs. Most economists disagree with this approach, and nearly all predict the trade wars will raise prices for American consumers on a wide array of products.
As an expert in distributed digital manufacturing, I see clearly that one industry stands to gain significantly as these economic conflicts escalate: 3D printing, the process of using digital blueprints to make real physical objects by precisely adding material one thin layer a time. High-end manufacturers have adopted 3D printing as the technology has matured, but there are also low-cost systems consumers can use to save money as prices of everyday purchases climb.
A team of researchers at RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) is using laser metal deposition technology (a 3D printing technique) to build and repair defense aircraft parts in a two-year collaboration with RUAG Australia (Bayswater, Australia) and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC; Carlton, Australia).
Laser metal deposition technology feeds metal powder into a laser beam, which when scanned across a surface adds new material in a precise, web-like formation. The metallurgical bond created has mechanical properties similar, or in some cases superior, to those of the original material. “It’s basically a very high-tech welding process where we make or rebuild metal parts layer by layer,” explains Professor Milan Brandt, who is leading the work. He says the concept is proven and prospects for its successful development are extremely positive.