Demonstrating lighting speed 3D printing will inevitably get a lot of Youtube hits, but where does speed really matter? If you are able to make Eiffel tower miniatures at super fast rates, how would the entire logistics, inventory, distribution etc. compare to how a Chinese factory is already doing it?
I use this as demo example to demonstrate the clear challenge most companies in the 3D/AM space have, which is being able to come up with creative and truly business driven applications for their technology. If the applications were known, the demo parts would reflect that knowledge.
If you do it in your garage, it’s “3D printing”. If it’s used to build a car, it’s “additive manufacturing”? Where’s line between these two terms? Let’s see if we can’t find it.
Are “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” (AM) the same thing? In general, we know that terms stretch over time to include more than just their default meanings. Most of us carry digital entertainment supercomputers around in our pockets, and call them “phones”.
Whatever the name, new ways of fabricating directly from bytes to stuff are radically changing the what, where, how, and when of making objects. What roles, then, do the two terms “additive manufacturing” and “3D printing” play in describing new ways of making?
A new additive manufacturing service aims to transform how parts are created and optimized, reducing supply chain risk, decreasing costs and boosting efficiencies for sectors such as oil and gas.
Advisian Digital, the data science, software and technology business of the WorleyParsons Group, and Aurora Labs, the industrial 3D printing (3DP) technology company, have teamed up to launch an end-to-end additive manufacturing (3DP) service called AdditiveNow. The joint venture offers a range of 3D printing capabilities including advisory, design and short-run agile manufacturing.
John Bolto, specialist adviser, at Advisian Digital said, “The successes of early adopters, coupled with the 3DP expertise and resources now becoming available, offers resource businesses a huge opportunity to revolutionize their operations.
Aerospace has aggressively embraced 3D printing. The industry seeks parts that are lighter without sacrificing strength, and 3D printing meets that challenge.
The aerospace industry was among the first advocates of 3D printing. The airline industry as well as the space industry have been the force behind the evolution of this technology, both manufacturing end-use parts and for prototyping. Aerospace depends on 3D printing to alleviate supply chain constraints, limit warehouse space, and reduce wasted materials from traditional manufacturing processes. The ability to rapidly produce parts on demand has brought unexpected efficiency to the industry.
Here are some shiny examples of how aerospace has utilized 3D printing.
The use of 3D printing is becoming more common in the US Air Force’s supply chain for its fifth-generation aircraft. In December 2018, a metallic 3D printed part was installed by 574th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainers on an operational F-22 Raptor during depot maintenance at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
Robert Lewin, 574th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) director said, “One of the most difficult things to overcome in the F-22 community, because of the small fleet size, is the availability of additional parts to support the aircraft.”
The use of 3D printing is growing mainly because it gives maintainers the ability to acquire replacement parts on short notice without minimum order quantities. This not only saves money, but also reduces the time the aircraft is in maintenance.
Frustrated by the unresponsiveness of traditional supply chains, Marines from the 29 Palms base generated the concept of converting standard utility vehicles into customizable transport suited for a diverse range of missions.
Of course, this is just one example. The scope of the changes now underway are too vast to be recounted here. Rather, this article points to a specific business model innovation – 4IR Production Platforms – that can help players across the value chain adapt to and prosper in the Fourth Industrial Revolution using the power of digital technologies.
The market for self-assembling parts is already expected to exceed $64 million.
The days when 3D printing was simply dreamed about are far behind us. Today, the process of creating a three-dimensional object via successive layers of materials is a mainstream activity—from customized medical devices and prosthetics to conventional household products, and even industrial buildings. It’s projected that by 2030, nearly a quarter of Dubai’s buildings will be 3D-printed.
A new 3D printing technique that uses light to produce complex shapes from a vat of liquid resin is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D printing processes, claim its developers at the University of Michigan.
The method – which uses two lights to control where a curable liquid resin hardens and solidifies and where it stays fluid – has so far been used to print a variety of complex three dimensional demonstration shapes including a lattice, a toy boat and a block letter M.
The group claims that the technique overcomes the limitations of earlier so-called vat-printing efforts, which encountered problems with the resin solidifying on the window that the light shines through, stopping the print job just as it gets started.
3D printing has come a long way from its origins in the 1980s, with a brief entry into the consumer space galvanizing its growth in the earlier part of the decade. Now, it seems as though mass production with additive manufacturing (AM) technology is just around the corner, as a number of companies introduce methods for batch 3D printing.
To learn how the AM space will change in the next year, engineering.com got feedback from several experts in the space, including those from exciting new startups that will break onto the scene in 2019.