3D printing applied to MRO of F/A-18 Hornet by U.S. Marines

A pilot looks out of the canopy of his F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft. U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Ian C. Anderson

At the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, southern Japan, 3D printing is now in use to keep F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighters airborne.

MCAS Iwakuni engineers have devised two products that reduce the time it takes to repair the fighter jets, saving costs for the U.S. Department of Defense. The products help with the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the fighter jets, covering all tasks carried out to ensure the airworthiness of an flight vehicle.

The 3D printed products include an engine ship kit, designed by the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 (MALS 12), and a plastic ring kit that helps the maintenance of the bearings on the F/A-18’s Gatling gun. 

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Truck OEMs, suppliers look to online growth, 3D printing

Equipment and component manufacturers in the trucking industry are looking to expand their online presence and also see potential in 3D printing, both of which could help them reach more customers, they said.

A technician works on a part that was made using a 3D printer.

Daimler Trucks North America is expanding alliancetruckparts.com, its e-commerce platform, and has seen an increase in customers using pinnacletruckparts.com, its dealer-sponsored e-commerce solution.

Ultimately, customers will decide how they communicate with the company, said Stefan Kurschner, DTNA’s senior vice president of aftermarket.

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New 3D printing service for Oil and Gas

A new additive manufacturing service aims to transform how parts are created and optimized, reducing supply chain risk, decreasing costs and boosting efficiencies for sectors such as oil and gas.

(Photo: Advisian)

Advisian Digital, the data science, software and technology business of the WorleyParsons Group, and Aurora Labs, the industrial 3D printing (3DP) technology company, have teamed up to launch an end-to-end additive manufacturing (3DP) service called AdditiveNow. The joint venture offers a range of 3D printing capabilities including advisory, design and short-run agile manufacturing.

John Bolto, specialist adviser, at Advisian Digital said, “The successes of early adopters, coupled with the 3DP expertise and resources now becoming available, offers resource businesses a huge opportunity to revolutionize their operations.

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Fathom and U.S. Marines create modular logistics vehicle with additive manufacturing

FATHOM, a Californian design studio, has used additive manufacturing to create a Modular Logistics Vehicle (MLV) for the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

An MLV complete with 88 3D printed parts. .Image via Launch Forth.

Frustrated by the unresponsiveness of traditional supply chains, Marines from the 29 Palms base generated the concept of converting standard utility vehicles into customizable transport suited for a diverse range of missions.  

This project was facilitated by the Launch Forth platform, as well as Deloitte, and Siemens.

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From carpet floor to concrete floor: Desktop 3D printing’s impact on manufacturing

John Kawola, President, Ultimaker North AmericaThe manufacturing industry has always been directly impacted by the technological advancements of its time. From the advent of coal and steam as new sources of energy, the cotton gin and its impact on cloth manufacturers, and the assembly line for Ford, each has altered and benefitted the industry. As we enter Industry 4.0, a new batch of technology is shaping how, and how fast, we make goods. 3D printing is one such technology that is providing tangible benefits to those who implement it.

Desktop 3D printing, where users can design and print right at their desks or on the factory floor, has seen tremendous growth in the past several years, moving from strictly prototyping to actual production. The technology has opened huge possibilities for manufacturers, including quicker time to market, a reduction in costs, and an overall improvement in factory productivity

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Reducing Time to Market with 3D printing farms and smart factories

Pedro Mier of Premo Group, Ignacio Artola Guardiola of Accenture, Ramón Paricio Hernández of SEAT, and Ramón Pastor, HP. Photo by Tia Vialva.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.

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3D printing technology shakes up parts production for automakers, suppliers

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.

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Procter & Gamble is testing 3D printed Gillette razors

The question of 3D printing’s applicability to mass markets is being tested.  Mass customization may be the next step towards it.


Gillette customers will now be able to order personalized 3D printed razors in a pilot program from parent company Procter & Gamble.

Razor handles will be printed using stereolithography, a type of 3D printing technology from Boston-based Formlabs and people will be able to choose from 48 designs and seven colors, priced between $19 and $45, including one razor blade. A pack of four extra blades will cost $15 and orders will shop in two to three weeks from the company’s new Razor Maker website.

3D printing has mostly been used in manufacturing, according to David Lakatos, chief product officer at Formlabs. “Mass customization with 3D printing is finally becoming a reality for consumers to experience end-use printed products,” he said in an online statement.

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Siemens Mobility is 3D printing spare parts at first digital rail maintenance centre

“The ability to 3D print customised tools and spare parts whenever we need them, with no minimum quantity, has transformed our supply chain.”

Siemens Mobility GmbH, part of Siemens AG, has opened its first digital rail maintenance centre, eliminating the need for inventory of selected spare parts.

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The Siemens Mobility RRX Rail Service Center located in Dortmund-Eving, Germany, houses a Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D printer which is being used produce replacement parts and tooling on-demand. Siemens Mobility has reduced the manufacturing time of select parts by up to 95%.

The RRX Rail Service Center is expecting around a hundred trains to enter the depot every month. Michael Kuczmik, Head of Additive Manufacturing, Siemens Mobility GmbH, Customer Service says 3D printing will play an integral role in optimising “spare parts for longer life cycles, at reduced cost and in shorter timeframes than ever before.”

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Supply chains shift from global to local

A new A.T. Kearney report says that companies are increasingly feeling the pressure to customize their supply chain operations to match local conditions instead of relying on a one-size-fits-all global model.

Remember when New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman came out with his internationally best-selling book The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century in 2005Friedman’s book, which won the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, outlined how globalization had transformed commerce, saying that historical and geographical divisions were becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Fifteen years later, much has changed, and a new report from A.T. Kearney now argues that “focusing on achieving growth through economies of scale, efficiency enhancements, globally integrated value chains, and the sale of mass-market products is no longer a viable strategy for many companies.” The future is no longer global, but local.

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