Cummins sells first metal part from its own 3D printer, eyes high-volume production

Cummins has sold its first metal part printed on one of its own 3D printers, moving the company a significant step closer to the exciting potential of additive manufacturing.

The part was a low-volume bracket for a customer in Cummins’ New and ReCon Parts division and did not have a current supplier. The company is focusing first on printing low-volume parts as it studies how best to use 3D technology in higher volume manufacturing.

“With this technology you can really unshackle the designer to do things you just can’t do using traditional forms of manufacturing,” said Brett Boas, Director-Advanced Manufacturing at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.). 

Cummins employee Devin Hunter cleans a 3D printer at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, Indiana, before another round of printing.

Parts can be made lighter, stronger and more effective using metal 3D printing compared to parts created using more traditional methods that employ molds, molten metal and equipment to precisely cut and shape the part.

3D printing creates three-dimensional objects one ultra-thin layer at a time. If the part doesn’t come out quite right, the designer can simply change the computer design file and print it again; a much faster process than using traditional manufacturing techniques to build a test part.

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3D printed steel tools can cut titanium alloys

High strength cutting tools can now be 3D printed, potentially saving time and money for aerospace and Defence manufacturers.

RMIT University PhD candidate Jimmy Toton received the 2019 Young Defence Innovator Award and $15,000 prize at the Avalon International Airshow for the research, which was conducted with Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) and industry partner Sutton Tools.

Because the metals used in Defence and aerospace are so strong, making high quality tools to cut them is a major, and expensive, challenge.

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As the global market outlook grows darker, manufacturing embraces tech solutions

U.S. Bank’s latest quarterly Freight Payment Index for fourth quarter describes a positive economic environment for the U.S to end 2018 but it also points to one of a possible slow down as we progress into 2019. The U.S. Bank National Shipment and Spend Indices both increased from the third to fourth quarters, with the Spend Index increasing 7.2% to a record high. Meanwhile, the National Shipment Index rose 1.7% from the third quarter.

Indeed, despite the positive end to 2018 and midway into the first quarter of 2019, the year’s outlook is even murkier than in December when the U.S. Bank noted concern for a possible slow down this year. So many unknowns on the economic stage as one wonders the effects of additional tariffs that are expected to increase in March, the lack of UK government guidance as Brexit looms with just a month to go for the final break, China’s economic downturn and a growing concern of a global recession.

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The journey to utilising 3D printing across the manufacturing space

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and that is certainly the case with Kora.

Founder Steve Burrows was already enjoying considerable success with his first and long-term venture, Impex Parts Limited, a company that has been supplying OEM and Aftermarket parts to the motor trade for over 20 years. Changes to EU Motor Vehicle Block Exemption had seen demand for “Original Equipment Parts” increase rapidly and Impex was regularly receiving requests for parts that it was finding difficult to source externally.

Kora SC

The company decided to explore 3D printing as a solution and, finding it worked well, went on to own several commercially available 3D printing machines. Initial success soon turned to disappointment, however, when these 3D printing machines began regularly breaking down, requiring Impex engineers to spend a considerable amount of time fixing and maintaining them. Confident in both the skills of his engineers and the technology but frustrated that a better alternative did not seem to exist, Steve decided to develop his own 3D printer machine and Kora was born.

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Is 3D printing ready for scaled production?

While additive manufacturing has received attention for its promise of mass customization and generative design, not everyone believes it’s ready for large-quantity production.

Forecast 3D, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, prototyping, mass customization, HP multi-jet 3D printing

3D Printing is revolutionizing design and customization. It has become the go-to process for prototyping. As an additive manufacturing (AM) process, 3D printing has proved effective in many applications in Aerospace and Medical, but technical constraints may be holding 3D printing back from become that next manufacturing revolution.

For one, few companies have redesigned their products and supply chains for AM friendliness. “One of the biggest barriers to additive manufacturing is that the way companies utilize the technology doesn’t match what their production requires,” Ken Burns, technical director at Forecast 3D, told Design News. “When opportunities to use additive manufacturing come to the production side, there are so many barriers. You need to do x, y, and z, to make it work, and that affects the price point.”

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Reinventing manufacturing with advances in 3D printing

In recent years, 3D printers have proven themselves as viable solutions for rapid prototyping for product designers. But, Markforged believes that with the advancements in the technology, the scope for industrial 3D printing goes far beyond that.

As Markforged’s vice president of application engineering, Andrew de Geofroy, told Manufacturers’ Monthly, advancements in 3D printing technologies have opened up new manufacturing opportunities in at least two distinct areas.

As Markforged’s vice president of application engineering, Andrew de Geofroy, told Manufacturers’ Monthly, advancements in 3D printing technologies have opened up new manufacturing opportunities in at least two distinct areas.

“The first one is the ability for existing manufacturers to positively disrupt the way they’ve traditionally brought products to market – from prototyping to tooling up their assembly lines or producing end-use parts for final products or service/replacement parts.

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Creating the factory of the future with 3D printing

Leveraging 3D printing data to improve manufacturing efficiency

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a manufacturing process which is fast becoming an integral part of the factory of the future. Products are designed using software-based CAD systems and then layer-upon-layer of material is added to fabricate almost any object, including aircraft parts, dental restorations, medical implants, automobiles, jewelry and soon, possibly even human tissue.

Industry adoption of AM is increasing rapidly. The analyst firm SmarTech Publishing, reported that revenues for metal 3D printing grew 24% to exceed $1bn for the first time in 2017, and they predict that revenues will reach $9.3bn by 2027. Rolls Royce has been using AM to manufacture aerospace products for over a decade.

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Rolls-Royce testing 3D printed parts for new engines

Initial tests showing excellent performance by 3D printed parts

Rolls-Royce’s Advance3 engine is helping pioneer the future of civil aerospace – with 3D printed parts and the introduction of new materials helping to lead the way.

Rolls-Royce Testing 3D Printed Parts for New Engines 

The technology demonstrator engine is proving both technology and a new core for Rolls-Royce engine design which will be available from 2025.

Advance3, incorporating around 20,000 parts in total, has achieved more than 100 hours on test.

Initial results are showing excellent performance from parts made by a printing technique known as additive layer manufacturing (ALM or more commonly known as 3D printing) and also made from ceramic matrix composites.

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The digital manufacturing revolution gathering pace in the UK

3D printing offers manufacturing firms the chance to transform their production methods

The digital revolution is progressing apace, powered along by technologies such as big data, analytics, AI, machine learning, automation and the Internet of Things. And the manufacturing sector is now beginning to embrace a transformation of its own. A transformation by a technology with the potential to digitise the entire production process and supply chain.


3D printing is in the process of turning the world’s $12-trillion manufacturing industry on its head. It is changing the way we conceive, design, make, distribute and consume just about everything. As a digital technology, it offers manufacturing firms the chance to transform their production methods.

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Three ways to apply 3D printing to maintenance management

From less inventory to store to reducing downtime, the reasons to use 3D printers for maintenance are adding up.

At inception in the early 1980s, 3D printing appeared futuristic, but it has evolved since then. Today, it has gone mainstream and, gaining application in various industries.


According to this PWC survey, about 51% of industrial manufacturers in America are  already using 3D printing in various ways compared to 35% two years back.

Along with prototyping and even some end use parts, employing additive technology on the factory floor allows engineers and technicians to manifest tools, jigs, and replacement parts with drastically shorter lead time. So if something breaks, all you need to is send the digital file of what you need to the machine and get printing. Below is a look at how 3D printers can be applied in maintenance management.

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