Category Archives: Wider Implications

An additive evolution

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a growing market and one that is shifting away from traditional prototyping and into the world of direct manufacturing, as a range of industries begin to recognise its potential.

Andreas Saar, VP manufacturing engineering solutions and additive manufacturing programme lead at Siemens PLM Software, said: ‘Every industry can benefit from additive manufacturing. It is a disruptive technology that transforms every aspect of the design, simulation and the manufacturing of products. The complexity of additive manufacturing, not just over the entire lifecycle of a product but across the range of industries, is a challenge.’

A number of economic barriers must also be overcome, as Dr Jean Sreng, marketing business development manager for additive manufacturing at the ESI Group, explained: ‘Additive manufacturing is, today, a process which is cost effective at low volume and high complexity geometries. Even though we are all working to decrease this cost effectiveness ratio to achieve high volumes, more traditional manufacturing techniques such as stamping, welding, casting, will always have a complementary effectiveness with additive manufacturing.’

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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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MTC calls for contributions to stem additive manufacturing skills shortage

Wall of members at Coventry's MTC, including Rolls-Royce, Airbus, EOS and Autodesk. Photo by Beau JacksonThe UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is where 3D printing and traditional manufacturing converge. Established as an independent Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) in 2010, the centre is the product of a collaboration between Loughborough University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Nottingham and TWI.

The centre’s privileged position in the market and well-cultivated contact list of over 100 industry members, places it in an ideal position for providing well-trained and talented individuals to the industry – a gap that the MTC struck upon in 2016 with the launch of the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC).

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Brand owners should harness benefits of 3D printing

As 3D printing has not had the negative impact that was expected, brands should be harnessing the benefits of the technology, according to Justin Pierce, chair of Venable’s IP division.

Pierce says that “savvy brand owners and manufacturers can harness the benefits of 3D printing technology and offer a wide variety of product accessories, and efficiently offer replacement parts”.

“By proactively using 3D printing to both produce high-quality goods and enable greater consumer access to one’s brand, businesses have much to gain from an early investment in this market,” Pierce adds.

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Regulations, IP, Expertise on 3D Printing: Excellent interview with John Hornick

The recent inaugural Additive Manufacturing Strategies summit, hosted with SmarTech Markets Publishing, brought together experts in medical and dental 3D printing alongside legal and business leaders to share thoughts on the future of additive manufacturing in human healthcare. The event, rich in expertise, filled two days with insightful presentations and conversations in Washington, D.C., allowing for a unique opportunity to network and learn from leading minds in technology and regulation. When we initially announced the summit back in September, one of the first names added to the agenda was one familiar throughout the legal and 3D printing fields: Finnegan Partner John Hornick.

Hornick, who has been generous with his expertise in sharing his thoughts with us through previous interviews as well as thoughtful articles, has built up a strong background in intellectual property (IP) as it impacts the business of 3D printing. As an IP lawyer and highly regarded authorand speaker, Hornick has a well-established reputation as a thought leader; it was a pleasure to finally meet him face-to-face during the AMS summit last week. At the summit, Hornick spoke on a panel entitled “The Future of 3D Printing in Medical Markets” and moderated one called “Additive Medicine and Dentistry: Investment Industry and VC Perspective.” During these presenstations and in subsequent conversation, Hornick brought to the table a wealth of ideas regarding the future of 3D printing, as well as the customization and democratization of design and manufacturing allowed for through this advanced technology.

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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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Additive Manufacturing Strategies Summit focused on the future of 3D Printing in Medicine and Dentistry

From Charles Goulding at 3dprint.com


I had the privilege of attending a two-day Future of 3D Printing in Medicine and Dentistry conference on January 22nd and 23rd in Washington, D.C. at the Army and Navy Club. The Additive Manufacturing Strategies summit was sponsored by SmarTech Markets Publishing and 3DPrint.com.

Day 1

3D Printing Medical Devices     

Day one was entitled 3D Printed Medical Devices. The opening keynote speaker was Lee Dockstader, Director of Vertical Market Development at HP Inc., whose thorough presentation set the stage for the entire conference. Dockstader wants to develop additive manufacturing in industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Medical, Dental, Life Sciences, Consumer and Retail.

Scott Dunham, Vice President of Research at SmarTech Markets Publishing, gave a comprehensive presentation that was particularly informative on the large production volumes occurring with certain non regulated low entry barrier products. The consensus estimate is that 300,000 low barrier medical devices are now 3D printed per day. Dr. Roger Narayan, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UNC, gave a detailed presentation on the technical and regulatory aspects of additive medical markets. 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize business models and provides access to custom and functional prosthetic and orthotic medical devices.

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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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The industrialisation of 3D printing: Why companies must now especially protect their IP and data

Dr. Andreas Leupold has been advising and representing clients from Germany, England, USA and many other countries mainly in IT Law, Technology, 3D Printing, Media and Trademark Law, Copyright and Unfair Competition Law.

Leupold_highres_rgb_01.jpgDr. Leupold is the editor and co-author of the handbook “3D Printing” which he wrote with a team of over 30 contributors that features industry leaders such as Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates and Peter Sander of Airbus Industries. He is a founding member of the supervisory council of the network “Mobility goes additive” initiated by the German Railway Deutsche Bahn. Here, he discusses the importance of protecting intellectual property and data in additive manufacturing. 

2018 will be an exciting year for 3D printing. Additive manufacturing (AM) has, for a long time, been mainly used in tool and prototype construction, and it is now moving into series production. Adidas recently announced that in the coming year it will be producing 100,000 Futurecraft sneakers using Carbon’s digital light synthesis technology and Airbus is cooperating with Daimler and the systems producer EOS in the additive mass production of aluminium parts.

These and other developments in AM have not escaped the eyes of lawyers for emerging technologies following market changes and their effects on the legal prerequisites for reducing business risks. With the rapidly advancing industrialisation of 3D printing, the legal questions that these pose are gaining importance, in particular, intellectual ownership of construction data and 3D printable designs and 3D models.

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