Category Archives: Technology

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.”

Read more

Tagged

3D-printed objects connect to internet without any electronics

Researchers at the University of Washington have succeeded in connecting 3D-printed plastic objects to the internet without the addition of electronic components.

Typically, devices require electronic components to send, interpret and receive signals via Wi-Fi. Given this, wirelessly connecting 3D-printed devices without the addition of electronic components had never been achieved.

“Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices,” said Vikram Iyer, a graduate student at the University of Washington.

Read more

Tagged

3D: Rise of the metal printing machines

  • The 3D printer market is forecast to grow strongly in 2017 – 29% for Industrial printers and 20% for Consumer printers.
  • 3D Industrial metal printer companies have gained market share compared to 3D Industrial polymer printer companies.
  • Recent 3D metal printer acquisitions by General Electric and market entry of 3D polymer printers by Hewlett-Packard offer stiff competition to Stratasys and 3D Systems.

You wouldn’t know it from financial reports from Stratasys (SSYS) and 3D Systems (DDD), but the 3D printing industry is alive and well and growing. According to The Information Network’s report entitled “3D Printing: Material and Equipment Opportunities, Trends, and Markets,” Industrial 3D printers are slated to grow 27% in 2017. The Industrial segment of 3D printers is the sweet spot of metal printers, primarily because revenues of these high-priced units are growing at the expense of polymer printers.

The Industrial segment is characterized by high prices, low sales volume, and increasing average selling prices (ASPs). In contrast, the Consumer segment is characterized by low prices, high sales volume, and decreasing ASPs.

Read more

Tagged

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.

Read more

Tagged ,

3D Printing improves marine steel

3D-printed parts of 316L steel can be made stronger and more ductile than the original steel alloy.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers found a way to make marine steel via 3D printing. Their new method, already proven to work for one of the most common forms of marine grade stainless steel—low-carbon 316L—could lead to new combinations of high ductility and strength for the ubiquitous alloy.

Read more

Tagged ,

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.

Read more

Tagged , ,

3D bio-printing: A medical revolution?

As medicine advances, technology is playing an ever-increasing role. The development of CT and MRI scanners to see inside patients, pacemakers to keep hearts beating, and prosthetic limbs that interact with the nervous system, have proved how valuable technology can be for our health. Has technology got our backs again, this time with an organ transplant crisis?

There is a severe need for new organs for transplantation around the world. In the last decade, nearly 49,000 people have had to wait for a life-saving organ transplant, in the UK alone. Of those, over 6,000 people have died whilst waiting – all possibly preventable if organs had been available. The issue is, with an ageing population and a safer environment, there are fewer organs available for transplant, and more organ failures requiring a transplant. The vast majority of the demand is for kidneys, with over 5,400 on the current UK waiting list.

Read more

Tagged ,

This is big: Multifunctional circuits printed in a single process

The ability to 3D print more than one material at the same time and thereby create complete items with no assembly is a transformational capability.  Congratulations to the University of Nottingham team!


A team of researchers based at the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing have demonstrated a method for efficiently 3D-printing fully functional circuits containing different materials.

Engineer works with 3D printer in a darkened room

Printing electronic components allows for the rapid manufacture of flexible, low-cost devices. These printed devices typically use just one material, meaning that the printed components can only perform limited functions.

Multifunctional additive manufacturing, however, involves printing multiple materials from a single 3D printer to create more complex components with a range of functions. Printing electronic devices containing different materials (metallic inks to form conductors and polymeric inks to form insulators) requires a range of heat sources such as ovens or hot plates to solidify each material. This renders the process highly inefficient, particularly when hundreds of layers are required to form a component.

Read more

Tagged

8 Problems that are still holding 3D printing back

One of the original purposes of Supercharg3d is to bring pragmatism and balance to what is all-too-often a hyped technology (not that it isn’t disruptive and already changing supply chains!).  This is a good summary of some of the key issues preventing it’s wider adoption.


You’re probably groaning by now, but hear me out. Yes, prices for the maker/desktop/DIY category of machines have dropped, the quality of their output has increased, and promotional materials abound with printers creating beautiful and delicate objets d’art.

But like the movie montage where the kids clean up the house before their parents get home, they are glossing over the details. What isn’t shown is the effort, the sweat, the tinkering, the trial and error, and the screaming to the gods themselves to please, please let it work this time.

Read more

Tagged , ,

Volkswagen officials speak to the future of 3D printing in automotive

Project leads at Volkswagen high end/luxury car brands Audi and Porsche are conducting research into the benefits of 3D printing for future car production. In addition to the effective application of FDM for prototyping and reducing tooling costs, researchers at Audi’s Competence Center in Ingolstadt, Germany, and Porsche are adding metal to Volkswagen’s additive manufacturing portfolio, and researching the potential of carbon fibre reinforcements.

Counting the desktop 3D printers at Volkswagen Autoeuropa, the Volkswagen group in total, has 90 3D printers at 26 of its sites around the world.

At Volkswagen Osnabrück in Germanythere is currently project to demonstrate the potential of  weight reduction by using 3D printing. In one example use case, a reinforced A-pillar window support has been optimally redesigned to constitute fewer parts, and weighs 74% less than it’s traditionally manufactured counterpart.

With less weight, cars consume less fuel, providing better performance for the manufacturer and the customer.

Read more

Tagged