Reliable and accurate industrial 3D printing challenges injection moulding processes

elix Printers has launched the Pro 3, L and XL platforms for industrial production applications to meet the changing needs of the industry.

The shift of the manufacturing workflow to incorporate additive manufacturing in many industrial sectors has led 3D printingmanufacturer, Felix Printers, to develop products and features to serve the changing needs of industry, paying careful attention to detail and listening to customers. The Pro 3, L and XL platforms for industrial production applications were launched end 2018. According to Felix Printers, Pro 3 integrates seamlessly into industrial workflows, be it in the office, workshop, laboratory or factory environment. The 3D printer produces optimised print results repeatably. The L and XL platforms are for greatly increased build volumes of up to 144 litres. Pro L is said to be able to build parts of up to 300 x 400 x 400 mm (11.8 x 15.75 x 15.75 in.), while Pro XL has a build chamber of 600 x 400 x 600 mm (23.62 x 15.75 x 23.62 in.), Felix explains.

With Pro 3, L, and XL AM platforms, OEM’s have a reliable, cost-effective, and easy-to-use production technology for short-to-medium volume applications.

According to the company, the larger systems incorporate highly engineered print chambers, which incorporate an enclosed warm zone and a cold zone, to ensure quality and reliability. The warm zone supports consistent temperature control during the build, which is particularly important when printing materials with a high shrinkage factor, such as ABS, carbon fiber or nylon. In contrast, the cool zone is where the electronics are housed, which prevent overheating and subsequent machine/build failure.

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Reimagining the future of manufacturing

Not since the first Industrial Revolution has the manufacturing industry transformed more than it has in the last 20 years. New technologies including robotics, computer-driven manufacturing, and data analytics have helped companies increase supply chain efficiencies to keep up with demand, but what if a bigger manufacturing industry transformation was on the horizon? Take a moment and imagine manufacturing becoming fully digital, allowing us to produce and distribute custom products to meet demand in near real-time.

Fast Radius - Carbon lab

That’s the vision that’s being brought to reality by Chicago-based additive manufacturer Fast Radius.

I recently had the privilege of visiting their facility in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood and spoke with Fast Radius Chief Executive Officer Lou Rassey and Chief Operating Officer Pat McCusker, learning more about the company, its vision and strategy, and expansive list of clients. I found the scope of what Fast Radius does stretches far past the incremental improvements in efficiency the manufacturing industry expects.

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Reimagining the future Of manufacturing

Not since the first Industrial Revolution has the manufacturing industry transformed more than it has in the last 20 years. New technologies including robotics, computer-driven manufacturing, and data analytics have helped companies increase supply chain efficiencies to keep up with demand, but what if a bigger manufacturing industry transformation was on the horizon? Take a moment and imagine manufacturing becoming fully digital, allowing us to produce and distribute custom products to meet demand in near real-time.

Fast Radius - Carbon lab

That’s the vision that’s being brought to reality by Chicago-based additive manufacturer Fast Radius.

I recently had the privilege of visiting their facility in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood and spoke with Fast Radius Chief Executive Officer Lou Rassey and Chief Operating Officer Pat McCusker, learning more about the company, its vision and strategy, and expansive list of clients. I found the scope of what Fast Radius does stretches far past the incremental improvements in efficiency the manufacturing industry expects.

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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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