Trade shows often come with an unstated theme. The second LiveWorx conference in 2015 came with the theme: “IoT can be deployed from product development through manufacturing and customer use.” A couple years ago, Siemen’s PLM World users’ conference was all about digital twins. At Advanced Design and Manufacturing in Cleveland last year, presenters and attendees were talking about how small- to mid-size companies were ready for smart manufacturing technology.
At the Rapid TCT 3D printing show last month, the unstated theme on the trade show floor was: 3D printing is ready for product manufacturing. Not just small runs, not just custom production, but honest-to-goodness manufacturing across multiple industries. The buzzword on the show floor was “serial production”—code for “manufacturing.”
Chanel Parfums Beauté, the cosmetics unit of the famous French design house, has turned to 3D printing for the production of an unlikely item: a mascara brush. In partnership with France-based Erpro 3D Factory, Chanel says it will begin manufacturing mascara brushes on an industrial scale using 3D printing.
When applying mascara, one might not think twice about the wand they unscrew from the bottle and lightly drag across their eyelashes. The truth is, however, that a ton of engineering and testing has gone into that seemingly simple object before it was put into production, marketed, and ultimately purchased.
From being eye-friendly, safe, effective, and even aesthetically pleasing, a lot goes in to making a mascara brush, which is why Chanel became interested in exploring 3D printing technologies for their production.
A company backed by the CIA that calls itself Arevo is hoping to lead a revolution in manufacturing that uses 3D printing to build products in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. The Silicon Valley, California startup recently picked up $12.5 million in funding to help pursue this goal and has revealed an impressive proof-of-concept product to help demonstrate its capabilities. That product is a carbon fiber bike frame that could give us a glimpse of the future for the cycling industry.
According to Arevo, its bike frame is the first to be 3D printed using carbon fiber. The company uses 3D printer technology, paired with a custom-built robotic arm and web-based software, to create products made from proprietary raw materials. The robot arm is able to print out shapes in a single pass using a thermoplastic material that is melted into strands of carbon fiber that helps bind everything together. The end result is a bike frame that costs about $300 to make, which is considerably less than what most bike manufacturers pay.
3D printing can cut costs by accelerating production and reducing tooling costs, work-in-process, and waste. Here are some design considerations for making this happen.
3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) has gone far beyond making prototypes quickly. It is now entrenched in manufacturing, and examples abound:
- The Juno spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin and NASA and currently completing its mission in orbit around Jupiter, carries a dozen 3D-printed waveguide support brackets.
- Activated Research Co. used 3D Printing to develop a new design for its Polyarc gas chromatography catalytic microreactor, bringing it to market in just 15 months.
- Raytheon uses 3D printing for rocket engines, fins, and control components for guided missiles, creating parts in hours rather than days.
- Boeing set a world record in 2016 by building the largest 3D-printed item ever made, a fixture used in building 777 airplanes, reportedly cutting weeks off its manufacturing time.
- Brunswick Corp. relied on 3D printing for air conditioning grills on its Sea Ray yachts, eliminating the need for disposable tooling and speeding product development.
- This air-conditioning grill for Sea Ray yachts was 3D printed.
Oracle’s Supply Chain expert, Dominic Regan, discusses the impact 3D printing is having on the supply chain and how the multinational database giant is supporting the dynamic additive manufacturing market by helping to increase business agility, lower costs, and reduce IT complexity
Oracle is best known for its database services, offered to business since the company started over 40 years ago. This technology background was the platform to expand into applications in the ERP space and several other disciplines including supply chain.
Oracle supports the classic approach to designing products, planning and forecasting supply and demand, focusing on procurement and the sourcing of products in the manufacturing space then providing the logistics of fulfilment via transport and global trade warehouse management before closing that cycle with service, so once a product has been delivered it can manage the repair and maintenance process.
3D printing is going beyond prototyping to help transform the customer experience.
When you think of innovations that 3D printing has brought to the supply chain, dentistry might not be the first industry to spring to mind. But 3D printing is revolutionizing the manufacturing of custom transparent orthodontic braces and transforming the customer experience.
Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printers are used to create Align Technologies’ patient-specific Invisalign aligners. Every day, 3D printing is used to produce 150,000 custom molds based on a 3D digital model of a patient’s teeth, around which their braces are formed. These digital methods bring speed and agility to the process, which is made even more efficient by printing multiple molds simultaneously.
3D printing, aka Additive Manufacturing, is changing the way things are made; and not just on a small scale or prototyping sense, but changing the way global scale production gets done.
Gartner believes that in 2018, 3D printing will accelerate new business model innovation. Here are some of the 3D printing predictions by Gartner:
- By 2021, 75 percent of new commercial and military aircraft will fly with 3D-printed engine, airframe and other components.
- By 2021, 25 percent of surgeons will practice on 3D-printed models of the patient prior to surgery.
- By 2021, 20 percent of the world’s top 100 consumer goods companies will use 3D printing to create custom products.
- By 2021, 20 percent of enterprises will establish internal startups to develop new 3D print-based products and services.
- By 2021, 40 percent of manufacturing enterprises will establish 3D printing centers of excellence (COE). “The long-term goal of a 3DP COE is to become a seamless part of the design and manufacturing process. When successful, the COE has broad implications on use of 3DP in the design, manufacturing and maintenance of products,” – Gartner
Local manufacturing is not a new concept, but advancements in technology and design mean that now more than ever, it is a viable option – especially when it comes to disaster recovery and helping war and weather-torn areas. Field Ready’s Eric James talks about how creating supplies-in-the-field can make all the difference when responding to humanitarian crises.
In regions where something as simple as an umbilical cord clamp or a plastic u-bend can help save lives, local manufacturing can have a hugely positive impact. Hard to reach areas stricken by disaster, conflict and extreme poverty can be slow to receive emergency aid and broken or non-existent supply chains often mean that people in these areas don’t have the equipment they need when or where they need it.
Access to the right technology can circumvent these supply chain problems and can mean the difference between waiting weeks and sometimes months for medical equipment, power or clean water to having systems up and running in a day or even less. But local manufacturing isn’t just about the technology. It’s about putting the people – the communities – first, focusing on the actual support they need on the ground. We can then apply design thinking and other methods to map the technology best suited to meeting their needs and alleviating their suffering as quickly as possible – not the other way around.
Printing accurate models of organs is reducing recovery time and healthcare costs.
16By taking advantage of 3D printing technology, doctors are presented with tangible, accurate models of organs. This is helping both doctors and students to perform better. Some programs and labs have been started in hospitals to try and adopt 3D printing technology. According to doctors, the program has empowered med students to invent their own solutions to healthcare challenges and helped tighten design cycles. Their products draw from training and experience with actual patients, striving to make a difference in the quality of care for future generations.
The following was derived from an interview from an interview with Todd Pietila, Materialise’s business development manager for hospital 3D printing. He talked about what models are printed, how they help, regulations, and more.