Additive Manufacturing put to the test by new $1.5M X-ray CT system at Auburn University

The Center for Additive Manufacturing at Auburn University, Alabama, is now home to a $1.5 million x-ray CT system. The new machine is to be applied to the nondestructive testing (NDT) of 3D printed parts, essential to the university’s programs to produce “mission critical” parts for aerospace and aviation industries.

The system was acquired with a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Professor Bart Prorok, Director of Auburn’s Analytical Microscopy Center, is principal investigator on the NIST grant, and has called the x-ray CT system “a real game changer” for the center’s additive manufacturing research.

“With this new system,” Professor Prorok explains, “we can take two-dimensional x-ray pictures of a metal structure for real-time process monitoring or a series of 2D images in 360 degrees of rotation that are then reconstructed into a 3D representation of the build.”

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Brazil ruling on tax treatment of 3D printing could have global implications

3D printing classified as a manufacturing process means some retailers are liable for IPI excise tax

The International Tax Review reports that a tax ruling issued by the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service on whether 3D printing should be classified as a manufacturing process for a business could mean retailers are liable for excise taxes. These are indirect taxes on the sale of a particular good or service such as fuel, tobacco and alcohol. Indirect means the tax is not directly paid by an individual consumer — instead, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levies the tax on the producer or merchant, who passes it onto the consumer by including it in the product’s price.

The growth of the digital economy is the result of transformative processes brought about by information and communication technology (ICT) and is changing business models. This is very important from a tax perspective. and can have implications all over the world. In fact, Because of this, the OECD issued BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Action 1, which deals with the tax challenges of the digital economy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) promotes policies that seek to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

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3D printing may also disrupt product liability laws

In their recently published paper, ‘What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor? Product Safety in the Aftermath of 3D Printing,’ Klaus Heine and Shu Li discuss how a disruptive technology like 3D printing can also upset other more peripheral areas such as legal issues and product liability. Safety mechanisms must be in place to protect the public, and the authors question why there is not more concern over potentially ‘harmful 3D printed products,’ with an analysis of why ‘incumbent product liability law does not incentivize optimal deterrence.’

Focusing on the many novel 3D printing startups and business models associated with 3D printing as the ‘trigger,’ the authors point out how little informational content regarding ‘specific producers’ is provided.

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Is 3D printing really a clean technology?

Any new technology, however promising, must be assessed for its environmental sustainability. This applies to 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing (AM), which is being developed as an alternative manufacturing technology in many fields of production. Clean technology is defined in terms of the lifecycle, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, toxic materials, and the use of non-renewable resources.

At present most 3D printing is carried out on a small scale. However, it is expanding quickly as tools and materials become more affordable, process quality improves, and innovative techniques emerge.

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Identify3D updates software suite for secure distributed manufacturing

Digital supply chain software company Identify3D is introducing its latest suite of software solutions to enable manufacturers to facilitate additive manufacturing and decentralize manufacturing models. The software update addresses intellectual property protection, manufacturing repeatability and traceability in order to secure the digital manufacturing process from ever-evolving security threats.

Identify3D software suite

The software suite includes Identify3D Protect, Identify3D Manage and Identify3D Enforce applications, which together offer a comprehensive and encompassing solution for protecting the digital supply chain.

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Bioprinting: What are the legal implications of defective design software?

3D printing has taken off at lightning speed, with innovations emerging around the world continually—and virtually unregulated. While there may be some serious discussions and expectations regarding ownership and common sense regarding designs, most of the legal angles are still in the embryonic stages. And that brings us to tissue engineering. Jamil Ammar tackles a provocative subject that has the potential to become much more complex over the years, in ‘Defective Computer-Aided Design Software Liability in 3D Bioprinted Human Organ Equivalents.’

The creative aspect of 3D printing is one important part of potential intellectual property rights, but in relation to legalities, there are serious liabilities that could be connected to defects in bioprinting. Ammar leads us through the process of bioprinting, from CAD software design to CAD designs to scanning of organs, and the eventual bioprinting of such complex tissue. While there are still so many challenges to overcome before actual organs are created and implanted in humans, worrying about the legalities may seem like jumping the gun; but Ammar does bring up important issues regarding the ‘what ifs’ surrounding software or a design that could be defective.

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HK start-up using 3D tech to make zero-waste jeans

According to a recent report, a Hong Kong start-up is combining 3D scanning and weaving technology to make the perfect pair of jeans, as consumers’ preferences shift from big-name brands to tech-inspired and sustainable fashion.

HK start-up using 3D tech to make zero-waste jeans

The start-up, based in the US, joined a Hong Kong incubator in February 2019. It is a zero-inventory “techstyle” store where jeans are only made when an order is placed. The incubator says techstyle covers material and supply chain innovation, wearables merging technology and style, and new retail experiences.

The two-year-old robotics and apparel company aims to become a zero-waste operation. It is developing a 3D weaving machine that would completely eliminate fabric waste, with plans to deploy it in stores as early as the end of this year.

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The 3 key risks of 3D printing medical devices

3D printing brings unique considerations for medical device engineers. But when used well, FDA’s additive manufacturing guidance can give you a competitive advantage.

In October 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public workshop to gather feedback from the manufacturing and medical device communities with regards to additive manufacturing. The insights from that workshop eventually led to the FDA guidance on Technical Considerations for Additive Manufactured Medical Devices.

There are many unique and vital questions that medical device engineers need to answer with regards to additive manufacturing. While they are not difficult, it is new work compared to traditional applications. While the 30-page FDA guidance covers a number of important topics such as biocompatibility, software security, and acceptance testing, there are three key areas of risk and where implementation struggles exist that are worth delving deeper into.

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The advantages of 3D printing are still far from circular

3D printing has been around for three decades, but only in the last few years has the technology become a serious contender for displacing conventional manufacturing methods now that it can achieve material strength that rivals legacy offerings and can deliver parts in a fraction of the time. As these capabilities mature, hopes have soared for 3D printing’s potential to reduce the environmental footprint of multiple products and processes, and even for it to contribute to an increasingly circular economy. But how close are we to such a reality?

3D printed hand

3D printing is a process of making three-dimensional, solid objects from a digital file. With additive manufacturing — the formal name for 3D printing — a printer adds successive layers of material only where needed, layer upon layer, until the three-dimensional object is created. Research firm Statista estimates that the 3D printing market will reach $26.2 billion in value by 2022, factoring in revenue not just from sales of printers and materials, but also from software and related services.

Currently, the process can reduce materials use, waste, energy consumption and transportation emissions under some circumstances. “There are cases where additive manufacturing is best, and some where it’s not,” said Lou Rassey, CEO of additive manufacturing company Fast Radius.

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SLM Solutions and Identify3D collaborate to protect IP in 3D printing

SLM Solutions, a German metal 3D printer manufacturer, has announced that it will integrate the digital security platform of San Francisco-based Identify3D into its workflow. The partnership is an effort to protect intellectual property (IP) in additive manufacturing.

Digital files protected by Identify3D can only be manufactured with an authenticated machine. Image via Identify3D.

CTO of SLM Solutions Dr. Gereon Heinemann, said, “SLM Solutions recognizes the trend as additive transforms manufacturing into a digital workflow.”

Intellectual property in 3D printing

As the applications of 3D printing has widened, protection of intellectual propertyhas become a greater concern. This issue is also among the reasons some companies develop in-house prototyping facilities. Recently, the UK Intellectual Property Office participated in the IP in 3D printing debate.

Founded in 2014, Identify3D aims to protect IP in 3D printing by encrypting the digital supply chain. The company is partners with several leading enterprises including 3YOURMINDRenishawSiemens, and America Makes.

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