Jas Coles-Black is a final year medical student, and a Research Community Coordinator at Research Platforms Services at The University of Melbourne where she grows her community in medical 3D printing. As part of the #3DMed initiative, she is an avid proponent of 3D printing in the medical space.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is a broad term used to describe several additive manufacturing techniques, where structures are built by depositing material layer by layer. This is in contrast to more traditional manufacturing techniques, which involve moulding and manipulating the materials of interest. It has been hailed as ‘the next industrial revolution’ that could fundamentally change the status quo, and the way we practise medicine.
Bioprinting and Regenerative Medicine
Bioprinting is one aspect of 3D printing, and involves combining living cells, biocompatible materials and biochemical substances in order to create tissue-like analogues. This enables the creation of biological and organ substitutes for research and clinical purposes, such as the fabrication of artificial organs for transplantation. 3D printing has been used in regenerative medicine not only to print scaffolds, which can be subsequently seeded with cells, but can also involve printing tissues using actual cells.
According to Peter Sander, industrial 3D printing is now allowing aviation companies to take their design principles from nature – a phenomenally untapped source, but the most efficient blueprint of all.
Anyone who has been paying attention in technology has probably at least heard of 3D printing – little models, design accessories and even food are all possible. But since the early 2010s industrial design has become a lot more cost-effective with 3D printing. Peter Sander of Airbus tells Techworld that it is revolutionising aviation design.
On the way in to meeting Sander, who is in charge of emerging technologies and concepts at Airbus Germany, a ‘Beluga’ plane carrying Airbus parts to another facility scoots along and takes off from the sprawling factory’s built-in runway.
General Electric has a new motto for its 60,000 engineers: “think additivelty.”
Edward Herderick, additive technologies leader at GE’s corporate supply chain and operations business, said the company is refining 3D printing for more core parts of its business. This comes as Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric (NYSE: GE), recently estimated a quarter of all GE components will be impacted by additive manufacturing.
Speaking at the Additive Manufacturing Industry Summit, a gathering of manufacturing, medical and aerospace industry looking into the potential of 3D printing at the Hope Hotel, Herderick laid out GE’s strategy to use the technology more aggressively.
“We can make components in no-fail industries that are repeatable, affordable and comparable to traditional industries,” Herderick said. “Every additive machine is like a foundry.”
Being able to print in multiple materials is a positive move forward in 3D printing capaibility. Being able to embed conductive materials is one of the developments that will accelerate what the technology can be used for and change designs, in both cases benefiting end users.
Nano Dimension, a leader in the field of 3D printed electronics, has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Nano Dimension Technologies, has conducted a successful test for 3D printing of conductive traces onto a treated fabric in collaboration with a leading European functional textiles company.
The test was carried out using Nano Dimension’s AgCite Silver Nanoparticle conductive ink and the DragonFly 2020 3D printer platform. Based on the requirements of the European company, Nano Dimension adjusted the printing process in order to print electronics and sensors as an integral part of the fabric.
– See more at: http://www.innovationintextiles.com/nano-dimension-uses-multilayer-3d-printing-to-add-conductive-properties-to-fabric/#sthash.8s4vgvLj.dpuf
For a number of years I viewed 3D printing as a solution looking for a problem. I visited the Consumer Electronics Show and saw people printing accurate 3D chocolate renderings of their heads, which whilst being very clever, is largely useless. I wondered to myself where the technology was going, but in the last year or so things have changed and 3D printing seems to be finding its feet in terms of technology and applications, confirming its place in our future.
3D printing is now impacting the electronics supply chain from innovation to fulfillment; this is in part due to price. We are currently seeing 3D printers priced below $2,500, opening the technology up to consumers and innovators, while creating the opportunity to build ‘print farms’ with multiple printers producing small runs efficiently and economically. Another factor driving adoption is the use of more 3D printable materials, making more complex and more usable products possible.
Here are a few of the ways 3D printing is impacting the electronic supply chain.
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.
From fashion designers to aerospace engineers, 3D printing is transforming the way products are designed, tested and created. The technology was invented in the 1980s, but largely used to create prototypes from weaker materials. It wasn’t until the expiration of a crucial patent seven years ago that 3D printing really started to emerge as a tool that could transform manufacturing. Today, many are hailing it as a key component of a new industrial revolution. But experts claim another change could still transform the industry.
That change is being driven by cloud-based software. By building up complex shapes, layer by layer, 3D printing is able to create intricate, bespoke designs far easier and at a much lower cost than traditional manufacturing techniques. By its very nature, it offers a collaborative approach to creating product designs. With the help of the cloud, anyone with an internet connection can create, adjust store and stream designs to 3D printers anywhere in the world. Many believe the technology could help open up 3D printing for the wider population.
3D printing is a useful tool to manage capacity ramp up. Companies build up capacity to meet product demand. Managing the capacity is an art form.
Most companies build up capacity with the expectation of using it in full. Yet, market demand can be a mixed bag. Demand can go up due to several factors including:
- Adoption cycle
- Product promotion
- Seasonal trends
- Trade cycles
- Marketing campaigns, etc.
- Competition strategies.
Production capacity is not easy to scale up. In traditional manufacturing, several factors of production need to go up to increase capacity. These will include machinery, assembly areas, operators and a larger factory footprint.
These resources are quite expensive. They also have long lead times. They are also fixed in nature. Which means once you build them up, it is not easy to scale back.
Emerging advancements in technology such as autonomous trucks, 3D printing and warehouse automation will foster changes in how shippers, retailers and manufacturers configure their supply chains and distribution strategies, spurring a need for different formats and locations for industrial real estate, according to a new report from CBRE Group.
Taken together, these advancements will encourage industrial users to modernise their networks to adapt to the fast-evolving market rather than requiring them to add more or fewer warehouses and distribution centres. Each of these technology categories are on track to reach widespread use by 2025.
In the automotive sector, 3D printing is seen as a key enabling technology for mass customization – the ability to quickly and cheaply add custom elements to individual vehicles. Japanese automaker Daihatsu Motor Co. has launched a new 3D printing pilot project that will allow customers to add unique elements to their new convertibles.
Customers buying Daihatsu’s Copen convertibles will now have the option of adding 3D-printed effects “skins” to customize their vehicles. The company is using Stratasys FDM 3D printing technology to build the three-dimensional patterns, which can be placed on the front and rear bumpers.
“The effect skin project was very attractive to us,” said Osamu Fujishita, chief engineer of the product planning division at Daihatsu Motor Company. “We’re interested in expanding the market for customized plastic bodied cars. And we see Stratasys 3D printing technology as extremely effective for this.”