LONDON (ICIS)–The true take off for 3D printing is on the horizon but a lack of machinery capable of production is holding the technology back, according to Evonik’s head of new 3D technologies.
Sylvia Monsheimer said that, while the company is happy with the growth it has seen in the 3D printing industry in the last 20 years, there is a lack of machinery capable of production available on the market.
As Barcelona Industry Week and IN(3D)USTRY: From Needs to Solutions Additive and Advanced Manufacturing Global Hub concludes, the future of 3D printing the path to industrialization shows promise.
With a focus on digitization and Industry 4.0, 3D Printing Industry sought to learn more on how such technologies work with additive manufacturing, by attending the IN(3D)USTRY talk “Printing Farms & Smart Factories.”
The following includes some of the insights made by Pedro Mier, Adviser and Member of the Board of Directors at Premo Group, Ignacio Artola Guardiola, Managing Director at Accenture, Ramón Paricio Hernández, Production Manager at SEAT, and Ramón Pastor, Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Large Format Printing.
Automakers and suppliers are on the cusp of revolutionary change through their growing use of 3D printing, a technology that can make custom parts on demand and has the potential to mass-produce parts.
Once the technology achieves critical mass, industry analysts say, 3D printing also could affect fixed operations at dealerships.
Many automakers now use 3D printing to make prototype parts for vehicle development, as well as tools and assembly aids for manufacturing operations. Several car companies are looking into making production parts with 3D printers in the next five years. Some automakers currently produce handfuls of small replacement parts, typically interior trim pieces.
Plastic recovered from discarded fridges is being re-purposed into a resilient material that can be used in the 3D printing of scale models and similar outputs. The development follows a partnership between two Dutch specialist, Coolrec, a subsidiary of Renewi, and filament manufacturer Refil.
Refil already makes a range of different coloured filaments from recycled car dashboards and PET bottles. Now it is taking the interior of fridges supplied by e-scrap specialist Coolrec to make High Impact PolyStyrene (HIPS) filament that has a neutral off white colour which is easy to paint or glue, making it a perfect material for the 3D printing of scale models. The filament comes in the two standard diameters of 2.85mm and 1.75mm and has successfully been tested on 3D printers.
The question of 3D printing’s applicability to mass markets is being tested. Mass customization may be the next step towards it.
Gillette customers will now be able to order personalized 3D printed razors in a pilot program from parent company Procter & Gamble.
Razor handles will be printed using stereolithography, a type of 3D printing technology from Boston-based Formlabs and people will be able to choose from 48 designs and seven colors, priced between $19 and $45, including one razor blade. A pack of four extra blades will cost $15 and orders will shop in two to three weeks from the company’s new Razor Maker website.
3D printing has mostly been used in manufacturing, according to David Lakatos, chief product officer at Formlabs. “Mass customization with 3D printing is finally becoming a reality for consumers to experience end-use printed products,” he said in an online statement.
Patients waiting for an organ transplant may soon have a new treatment option — print out the organ or tissue they need using a revolutionary form of 3D printing that may one may day eliminate the need to wait on transplant donations.
Organovo, a biotech company in San Diego is leading the revolution in bioprinting and Boston area researchers are weighing the benefits of 3D-printed tissue.
“It’s about personalized and customized treatment,” said Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of mechanical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said 3D printing could eventually eliminate the need for transplant donations.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Transport of Singapore Government, has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU) relating the country’s application of additive manufacturing in maritime.
The first MoU is signed with Port Singapore Authority International Pte Ltd (PSA), one of the largest port operators in the world, Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), and metal additive specialist 3D MetalForge Pte Ltd.
In the second MoU, the MPA enters into an agreement with NAMIC and the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA).
Realizing the potential of 3D printing in the maritime industry, Ong Kim Pong, PSA’s Regional CEO Southeast Asia, said, “I am heartened that PSA, alongside MPA, NAMIC and 3D MetalForge can be pioneers in developing this technology for use in our industry,”
Jabil is creating a digital network to manufacture 3D printed parts
Over the years, Jabil, the manufacturing solutions provider and one of HP’s partners in the production of 3D printers, has been recognized as a supply chain innovator by the likes of Gartner. Today, it is in the process of creating what Jabil and John Dulchinos, the vice president of digital manufacturing, calls a digital supply chain.
As Dulchinos explains, that is one in which networks of digital printers are distributed to locations around the world, such as Singapore, where Jabil manufacturers HP’s 3D printers, while the design and process work is centralized in Silicon Valley. “We’re building production files in San Jose, and sending them to Singapore where we’re manufacturing them on 3D printers and then assembling the final product,” Dulchinos says.
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The US military has not shied away from implementing modern manufacturing methods such as 3D printing, but has actually embraced the technology. In fact, the US Air Force has used 3D printing for multiple projects, including components for aircraft and fighter jets, such as the F-35. This is what’s known as a next-generation fighter, and the 388th Maintenance Group of the Hill Air Force Base in Utah recently began 3D printing specific replacement parts for the F-35. Base officials are hoping that the technology will help to lower costs and increase availability.
Many branches of the military have turned to 3D printing to make replacement parts for those very same reasons.