Logistics giant Panalpina and Cardiff Business School at Cardiff University are expanding their research partnership to include new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing.
The aim is to help Panalpina’s customers identify the right products that could be switched from traditional to new, ‘additive manufacturing’ techniques which include 3D printing.
Nicole Ayiomamitou, lead researcher
The use of 3D printers to create items such as car parts and other higher level goods are expected to increase as hurdles blocking their use are overcome. The current drawbacks include the cost of 3D printers, the speed of print, quality concerns and limited applications.
The company’s Blade, the world’s first 3D-printed supercar, has 1/3 the emissions of an electric car, requires 1/50 of the factory capital cost, and has twice the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron.
The former CEO and co-founder of Coda Automotive, Kevin Czinger, believes his new venture, Divergent 3D, has the ability to “revolutionize” auto manufacturing, by ‘dematerializing’ and democratizing the process, which could radically decrease not only the amount of pollution directly related to manufacturing, but also reduce the cost and amount of materials needed for each vehicle.
With a drop in material and machine prices, advanced software integration and faster printing, 3D printing could potentially revolutionize automotive production, supply chain and the aftermarket, according to Frost & Sullivan.
The application scope of 3D printing technology is currently restricted to the production of extremely low volume parts and production tooling, the firm says. This is mainly due to the high costs of the machinery and raw materials, slow printing speeds and reduced levels of software optimization.
New analysis from the firm finds that the technology will generate $4.3 billion from the automotive industry by 2025, and achieve deeper penetration in automotive production and the aftermarket. As a result, 3D printing could deliver substantial savings to manufacturers, suppliers and consumers.
Even as the overhyped consumer 3D printing market continues to fall back down to earth, 2016 looks to be a breakout year for the industry as senior executives’ eyes and checkbooks are opening wide to the technology’s potential. The industrial market for 3D printing real end-use parts looks poised to begin its long growth run, with far reaching implications. 2016 will likely usher in 3D printing’s first “killer apps,” impacting both product design and supply chains. No matter what, 2016 will be a year when leaders across industries will be compelled to pay close attention to the emerging opportunities and disruptions that 3D printing is creating.
Here are eight 3D printing trends to watch in 2016.
The application scope of 3-D printing technology is currently restricted to the production of extremely low volume parts and production tooling. This is mainly due to the high costs of the machinery and raw materials, slow printing speeds and reduced levels of software optimization. Therefore, with a drop in material and machine prices, advanced software integration and faster printing, 3-D printing could potentially revolutionize automotive production, supply chain and the aftermarket.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Executive Analysis of 3-D Printing in the Automotive Industry  (http://frost.ly/018 [http://frost.ly/018]), finds that the technology will generate $4.3 billion from the automotive industry by 2025 and achieve deeper penetration in automotive production and the aftermarket. As a result, 3D printing could offer substantial savings to manufacturers, suppliers and even consumers.
Should manufacturers and distributors be concerned about the introduction of three-dimensional (3D) printing in the industrial business-to-business (B2B) space? Perhaps not concerned, but mindful as to how the technology stands to disrupt traditional manufacturing and distribution business models. This includes considering how industrial companies may benefit from embracing 3D printing sooner rather than later.
According to a recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, major companies, such as The Home Depot, UPS and Coca-Cola, are already doing just that. For example, today many companies rely on the shipments of parts and components to conduct business—and shipping those items is the crux of the UPS business model. If those companies can print the items vs. waiting on shipments, it could spell disaster for the delivery company. Having that foresight, UPS proactively partnered with a 3D printing company to offer next-day delivery of 3D printed parts. UPS benefits from access to the new technology, while the 3D printing company benefits from access to the well-established shipment network that UPS provides.
It was her days as a cross-training athlete that led Nikki Kaufman to an inventive solution for an annoying, if mundane, problem: Her earphones kept constantly falling out of her ears.
Custom earphones can solve this problem, but they normally require a bit of sacrifice on the part of the purchaser—you have to show up at an office, have silicone deposited into your ear, clench your jaw for 10 minutes, and then wait around for a month or more for the molds to be made into bespoke ear gear. But Kaufman took a different route, first with a MakerBot in her own apartment, and then with a suite of industrial-size 3D printers.
Now Kaufman’s two-year-old startup, Normal Earphones, runs 11 printers from inside a factory in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, and is able to create custom-fitted plastic earphones in a few hours based on 3D files made from photos of customers’ ears. This month, she partnered with fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff to create a line of earphones plated with 14-carat rose gold.
The futuristic hype over 3D printing has outshined applications that are already transforming the manufacturing world. While the media speculates about 3D printed guns, organs and food, firms are using 3D printers to overcome a less ‘sexy’ challenge: replacement parts for aging production lines.
In a typical factory, unplanned downtime is extremely expensive. In a survey conducted by Nielsen Research, automotive executives reported that downtime cost an average of $22,000 per minute — some respondents put the figure as high $50,000 per minute. Not surprisingly, most manufacturers invest in predictive maintenance and aim to replace worn down parts before they cause a breakdown.
Industry is, of course, completely centered on supply and demand. And while there are many facets to manufacturing and business, few areas are as fast-paced or as fickle as the fashion industry. Our simple, and often (ironically) unattractive vanity promotes an entire economy based on greed and speed–as well as seeing who can replicate and wear Kate Middleton’s latest navy-blue dress fast enough.
Most often focusing on want rather than need, the ‘fast fashion’ industry encompasses the complete opposite of originality or creativity, as it’s about getting copies of quality and runway fashion into stores like H&M at breakneck speed. And up until recently not much care was given to the how of making these piles of clothes, but more so to the how fast. As the horrors of sweatshops have come to light in one sensationalized story after another, consumers–especially the younger ones–are becoming more discerning–and concerned. The millennial generation is making it more and more clear that they would rather look for alternatives instead of having the trendy clothes on their backs made by someone suffering overseas and being paid pennies, if anything at all.
Current advances in 3D printing are making it an integral part of manufacturing, including electronics manufacturing. It can cut down processes from weeks to days and costs from thousands to hundreds. The 3D printed option is not only more efficient and economical, but actually better in terms of performance, as well as carbon footprint.
“We make your factory run better” is the tagline for the maintenance services offered by ATS.