The issue of post-production is one that is under-appreciated by those who believe the hype about 3D printing, but one that is recognised by manufacturers. Things are getting better though and with innovators like Rize, the burden of post-production will reduce.
Based out of Woburn, Massachusetts, the industrial 3D printing company Rize has made it a primary goal to rid professional-grade 3D printing of the laborious and costly need for post-processing. Their recently unveiled industrial desktop 3D printer, the Rize One, is said to completely eliminate the need for post-processing, helping manufacturers cut costs and streamline their operations. Their patented Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) enables users to bind thermoplastic filament with functional inks, which leads to simple and clean support removal.
We recently spoke with Rize about their patented technology and removing the need for post-processing, and now, to prove the immense strain that post-processing places on manufacturers, the industrial 3D printing company has released a detailed report on the subject entitled “3D Printing: the Impact of Post Processing.” Rize commissioned renowned industry expert Todd Grimm, who has 17 years of experience in the product development industry, to construct the report. To provide a comprehensive look at the impact of post-processing, Grimm interviewed six global manufacturers representing the automotive, consumer products, medical devices, sporting goods, and architecture industries.
Defense and aerospace Industries have been facing the risk of bogus parts manufactured by 3D printers.
The issue of product safety in these industries is thus critical. Commercial airplanes, for example, are designed and constructed using hundreds of thousands of parts, and quality inspectors are continually working to ensure counterfeit parts don’t find their way into the supply chain.
According to ECN Magazine, 3D printing of aircraft and other defense parts certainly transforms the military support environment, but the threat of counterfeit parts might reach this market.
3D printers are the most powerful machines ever invented because they can make finished products—with all their parts—fully assembled. They may also be the greenest machines ever built.
Driven by a digital blueprint, these printers build layer upon layer of fused ceramics, glass, sand, plastic, metal, or other materials. In contrast, traditional manufacturing depends on assembly lines, lots of low-cost labour and mass production. Today, much of that manufacturing takes place in far-off lands, and products must be shipped in long and complex supply chains that extend around the world. All of this has a large energy footprint.
3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) eliminates assembly lines because a single machine can make an entire part or product, and one worker can run an entire room full of 3D printers. 3D printing allows parts to be made near the point of need. Regional manufacturing, distributed all over the world, shortens supply chains and reduces shipping and warehousing.
In addition, it is no more energy-expensive, per part, to 3D print one part vs. a million parts, to customize every part instead of making them all the same, and to make highly complex parts. Using traditional methods, making complex, one-off, and customized parts is an energy hog.
Over the past year, my email inbox has been consistently pinged by law firms advertising seminars and workshops that promise to help medical professionals understand what is noteworthy for 3D printed medical products, ranging from regulatory to IP concerns. Some of these have been quite alarming, seeming to indicate that as disruptive as 3D printing promises to be, there must be a corresponding disruption to how we work on regulatory compliance to protect our assets.
But if we step back and look at the actual Food and Drug Administration (FDA) communications, the pace of adoption of 3D printing and real intersections of 3D printing and business processes, it appears that little has changed. The only disruption is when 3D printing revolutionizes a commercial process.
In the year 2000, the music business was still strong. Record companies produced albums and shipped these physical objects to the stores that sold them. The internet was slowly becoming a system of mass consumption and distribution, but most consumers still purchased physical media. And while the record industry was aware of piracy online, the threat seemed minimal.
Then came Napster.
The music industry tried to stop this large-scale piracy by pursuing both the platforms and individual downloaders — including poor college students. But public opinion turned against the industry. After all, stealing digital music is intangible; it’s different than physically swiping actual CDs or tapes from brick-and-mortar stores. And while today many people access their music legally, it’s safe to say that music industry revenues have yet to recover.
Already a $4 billion industry, and projected to reach $18 billion by 2020, 3D printing appears to be the next disruptive technology. It’s a disruption because 3D printing is replacing manufacturing practices that have been around ever since humankind started using tools.
As to what makes 3D printing different, read this excerpt from 3DPrinting.com:
‘The creation of a 3D-printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.”
3D printing offers great promise for innovation and manufacturing, but this tool has expanded the scope of patented products that can be easily and cheaply copied, and may make it harder to identify and prosecute infringers. The USPTO held a conference on legal and policy issues surrounding 3D printing on June 28, 2016.
According to Russell Slifer, Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, patent filings relating to 3D printing have increased 23-fold over the last five years, and trademark filings for businesses involved in 3D printing have increased 300% over the same time period. While there is great interest and excitement surrounding the promise of 3D printing, there also is concern about how 3D printing could make it easy to copy a patented product with just a push of a button.
Many are still waiting for the advent of a desktop 3D printer in every home—as ubiquitous as the PC or the kitchen stove—and the common practice of simply fabricating virtually whatever we want due to need or whim before they will believe 3D printing truly has a future. It may be easy to adopt that opinion if you aren’t keeping track of the accelerated pace at which the technology is evolving, and missing out on projections from expert analysts researching areas like that of 3D printed medical devices or investigating what kind of revenues the industry of 3D printing and related technology will produce just in the next year.
Somehow though, it’s all very believable when you hear it from GE—a company that’s certainly not only an inspiration for many others in terms of massive innovation but perhaps a role model too for other industrial heavy hitters as they pave the way for additive manufacturing to progress further around the world, from a smart factory in Chakan, India to their latest $40 million Center for Additive Technology Advancement in Pittsburgh.
Paris in the springtime, the phrase doesn’t immediately call to mind tear gas and improvised missiles. But it is against that background I find myself sat in the lobby of a conspicuously boutique Montmartre hotel sipping red wine with IP counselor John Hornick, while outside some of the estimated 100,000 demonstrators clash with police nearby. That morning Hornick delivered his provocatively titled presentation, “3D Printing will rock the world” at the Paris edition of the Inside 3D Printing conference and expo. As actual rocks shook the streets outside, Hornick provided additional insight into his earlier themes: “the world of 3D printing and its potential future impact on business, manufacturing, the law and crime, and, basically, life as we know it.”
Hornick takes an expansive view of the 3D printing landscape and muses on the implications for his profession. In a nutshell, what happens when tangible goods become free flowing digital files? 3D printing, Hornick says later, is part of the, “democratization of manufacturing.” This is an idea that has intrigued for centuries and may resonate with some of the demonstrators in Paris. Published in 1899, ‘Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow’ is about techniques of production and distribution. The book’s author, scientist and anarchist philosopher, Kropotkin wrote, “Have the factory and the workshop at the gates of your fields and gardens, and work in them.” In such a decentralized system, where production runs might consist of a single unit, how can current methods of regulation and enforcement adapt? This is, “what I call 3D printing ‘away from control,’ which means the ability to make a part or product without anyone knowing about it or being able to control it,” says Hornick.
Many 3D printers lack cybersecurity features, which presents opportunities to introduce defects as components are being built, a new study shows.
The study, performed by a team of cybersecurity and materials engineers at New York University, concluded that with the growth of cloud-based and decentralized 3D printer production supply chains, there can be “significant risk to the reliability of the product.”
Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is creating a globally distributed manufacturing process and supply chain spanning multiple services, and therefore raises concerns about the reliability of the manufactured product, the study stated.