Category Archives: Technology

Help share the future of Additive Manufacture in the UK

Wall of members at Coventry's MTC, including Rolls-Royce, Airbus, EOS and Autodesk. Photo by Beau JacksonAt the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, Martin Dury, Learning Design Manager, and his team are working to address the manufacturing skills gap, encouraging UK businesses to be agile and adopt new technologies. Currently, Dury is mapping a number of Additive Manufacturing Competency Frameworks for all roles in AM.

The frameworks are intended to define the skills, knowledge and behaviour required for newly developed AM roles and identify appropriate training programs for every step of the process, from requirement capture, design, material selection and manufacture through to post-processing, inspection and verification.

To help form a comprehensive outline of the roles and skills needed in additive manufacturing in the UK, the MTC is seeking input and contributions from industry experts.

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Boeing partners Oerlikon to speed up adoption of 3D printing

Boeing is co-operating with Swiss engineering group Oerlikon to jointly develop additive manufacturing processes in a bid to accelerate the technology’s wider employment.

Oerlikon says it signed a five-year collaboration agreement with the US airframer to create “standard materials and processes” for the production of “structural” titanium components through 3D printing.

“The research will initially focus on industrialising titanium powder bed fusion additive manufacturing and ensuring parts made with this process meet the flight requirements of the US Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense,” says Oerlikon.

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A new standard adds dimension to 3D Printing

A New Standard Adds Dimension to 3D PrintingASME just released a standard that covers definitions of terms and features unique to 3D printing, and ASTM started a testing program for powder metal.

With additive manufacturing (AM) on the rise and, in turn, disrupting markets of all types, it can be hard to keep up with everything. Nonetheless, the AM industry isn’t sitting idly by, as it continues to work on developing standards to keep pace with the new materials and machines that seem to be launching every week.

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3D-Printing file formats must evolve with the industry

3D-Printing File Formats Must Evolve with the IndustryAs rapid-fire advances enrich the 3D-printing landscape, file formats have to keep pace to support these changes, or there’s a risk of neutralizing further progress.

In the beginning, there was the stereolithography file, commonly called the STL file. Although not very complex—it was essentially a collection of triangles—the STL provided a way to get data into 3D-printing systems. Enough hardware manufacturers used STL for it to become something of an industry standard, providing some much-needed interoperability during the additive-manufacturing industry’s early days.

However, as the industry matured, STL’s various shortcomings came into focus. Since STL files were little more than a giant soup of triangles, they were difficult to work with. If you wanted to edit a face or reposition a part, you’d have to figure out a way to change numerous triangles—a highly inefficient and error-prone process.

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Impact of 3D Printing technology on supply chain in China

H.K. Chan, J. Griffin, J.J. Lim, F. Zeng and A.S.F. Chiu from Nottingham University Business School China, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Law School at University of Exeter, Exeter, UK, and De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines  prepared a very insightful paper on the impact of 3D printing on supply chains, with a focus on the Chinese market, but with lessons that can be extrapolated to other countries. Well worth a read.


Abstract:

The 3D Printing (3DP) industry has been receiving increased public attention. Many companies are seeking ways to develop new means of creating and disseminating 3DP content, in order to capture new business opportunities. To date, however, the true business opportunities of 3DP have not been completely uncovered.
This research explores the challenges posed in the development and deployment of 3DP, and focuses on China which is still the main manufacturing hub in the world. By means of empirical semi-structured interviews with 3DP companies in China, the current application of 3DP technology in the industry and the associated challenges are investigated. Although many companies can see the benefits of 3DP, its potential has not been delivered as promised. Several areas have been identified that could be improved further. The interviews with 3DP companies are used to learn about the gap between the 3DP technology in depth, and 3DP industrial applications which can further improve the growth of the 3DP industry.

To read the paper, click here

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2018 Manufacturing Outlook and 3D printing’s impact

Data-driven systems. Unique partnerships leading to increased productivity, efficiency and cost reductions. A changing landscape with a bigger focus on automation. Manufacturing’s outlook at the start of 2017 began a conversation on ways to propel the industry headfirst into the integrated, digital world.

One of the digital initiatives at the forefront of this crusade is the Internet of Things (IoT). Over the past several years, the industry has been learning best practices and watching its impacts on production, and 2017 proved to be no different. This past year, companies continued to focus on modernizing their production floors by developing IoT business strategies, and implementing it through software, equipment and training.

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3D printing could strengthen tomorrow’s technology

3D printingResearchers have found that 3D printing technology can help improve the strength and ductility of objects.

Recent research on 3D print technology in order to improve strength and ductility of objects has found that the technique can be used to improve the properties of its elements.

“Strength and ductility are natural enemies of one another, most methods developed to strengthen metals consequently reduce ductility. The 3D printing technique is known to produce objects with previously inaccessible shapes, and our work shows that it also provides the possibility to produce the next generation of structural alloys with significant improvements in both strength and ductility,” said Leifeng Liu, of the University of Birmingham.

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What’s coming next in 3D printing: 4 questions for UPS’s Alan Amling

Alan Amling discussing the My Way Highway, and the future of on-demand-manufacturing at his TedTalk.Alan Amling is VP of UPS’s Supply Chain Solutions. Most of his career has been on the innovation-side of the business-marketing strategy, e-commerce strategy, new-product development-mixed with business unit marketing leadership roles. Looking at the future, the convergence of trends and how he can keep on the right-side of disruption. He currently runs UPS’s Global On-Demand Manufacturing Initiative, but has his hands in some emerging technologies (IoT, blockchain), opportunities (global e-commerce) and disrupters (platform businesses, smart cities) with a constant focus on sustainability (economic, environmental and social).

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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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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.

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