How SA can build on 3D printing

Last year, the Ramdani family in France, became the first in the world to move into a three-dimensionally-printed house.

A team of scientists and architects designed their comfy 95m² home in a studio, with the design programmed into a 3D printer. This was then brought to the site of the home and printed in layers from the floor upwards. After just 54 hours, the Ramdani family had a new four-bedroomed home.

But France isn’t the only country, which has embraced 3D technology to solve its housing issues.

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GE Additive and New South Wales Government to build 3D printing aerospace centre in Sydney

NSW Government Premier Gladys Berejiklian tours GE Additive's CEC Munich as part of an MoU signing ceremony. Photo via GE Additive.

Award-winning OEM GE Additive has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the New South Wales (NSW) Government in Australia to develop a 3D printing aerospace centre at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

Following a visit to the GE Additive Customer Experience Centre in Munich, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said, “3D printing is on the cutting edge of manufacturing globally and this deal will help make Western Sydney the nation’s leader.”

“Our partnership with GE Additive will create many hi-tech jobs across the aerospace, medical and automotive sectors.”

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3D printing will only boost profit, market share of a few companies – report

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are scaling their adoption of 3D printing technology, especially in the construction sector

Few industries are witnessing widespread adoption of 3D printing technology, which represents only 0.1 percent of the total $13.1 trillion value added through the global manufacturing industry.

Creative professionals checking blueprints and model building. Image used for illustrative purpose

Advisory firm Moody’s Investors Service says that 3D printing technology is used in niche applications and will help boost companies’ profitability and market shares in a limited number of industries.

Manufacturers of consumer goods such as eyewear and footwear are among the industries with the strongest near-term growth prospects for the adoption of 3D printing. Other industries that will benefit include aerospace, medical devices, automotive and capital equipment, but to varying degrees, according to Moody’s report.

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Granite Geek: You know how 3D printing has been a dud? Well, maybe not …

You’ve probably heard of the technology hype cycle, which goes like this: Something new is developed and everybody thinks it’s going to change the world, but it falls short so everybody gives up on it. Finally, when nobody’s looking, the real potential slowly develops. 

Over the years I’ve followed 3D printing through the first two stages: “It changes everything!” and then “It’s a complete dud!”

Now, judging from a conference going on at Dartmouth College right now, 3D printing is moving into the third stage: “Sometimes it’s very useful in ways we didn’t expect.”

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3D Printing is changing the global manufacturing landscape

With the entrance of big players like HP, Buggati, Adidas, and BMW in the additive manufacturing arena, stakeholders are convinced that 3D printing will bring about a revolution in the manufacturing industry.

3D Printing

3D Printing technology has gone through a cycle of testing, innovation, and application. These developments have grabbed attention as the next big thing in the manufacturing industry. The annual growth rate for the 3D Printing market is expected to be between 18.2% and 27.2% with the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) averaging at 23.5%. These figures indicate a growth rate that is three times the size of this industry in merely 3 years.

This technology has attracted various categories of end users such as start-ups, Small, or Medium Enterprises (SME) and hobbyists. The end-user feedback has a significant influence on the changing trends, and continuous improvements have been made not only in the technology but also in the materials used to ensure no compromise made on quality. For instance, ASTM recently released a set of standards outlining best practices for metal-powder bed fusion pro­cesses to ensure its quality for critical applications such as aerospace and medical industry.

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Making the virtual a reality with additive manufacturing

“Using AM with virtual inventories cuts out the headache and costs of balancing excess and shortages in physical inventory at individual locations.”

The efficiency-enhancing benefits of 3D printing/additive manufacturing (AM) can deliver many quantifiable advantages for supply chain managers. In a previous column I talked about its ability to simplify the supply chain via the production of complex parts. Another key aspect of AM that can deliver even more significant efficiencies within supply chains, is its ability to enable the use of virtual/digital inventories. This is quite literally the ability to access and pull parts from a digital (rather than physical) inventory and then quickly and effortlessly 3D print them anywhere at any time in the exact quantity desired. The digital inventory can be stored on a local disk, in a central disk, or even in the cloud.

virtual inventory.jpg

This has several positive implications, the first of which is the huge cost saving that arises from eradicating the need for large physical inventories. Let’s face it, physical inventory is the weak spot in any supply chain; it has no benefits beyond the availability of parts and is a burden for companies that pay enormous amounts of money to maintain it. Similarly, from a logistics perspective using AM with virtual inventories cuts out the headache and costs of balancing excess and shortages in physical inventory at individual locations. Indeed, the logistical benefits are even greater as virtual inventories simplify and streamline the entire distribution network at the geographic level. Think about it – there’s no longer any physical inventory, which means the traditional central-to-region-to-local distribution model is eradicated, as is the need to do projections… which, of course, have to be exact, lest the company suffers from more delays and more costs. In contrast, working digitally takes no time at all and so much cheaper.

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3D printing transformed from emerging tech to industry standard

Bilby 3D explains how 3D printers help manufacture products in new and cost-effective ways for more efficiency in facilities.

3D Printing is no longer an emerging technology reserved for the cutting edge development labs. It is industry standard and rapidly being adopted by Australian companies, micro to multinational, to dramatically shorten the time to market.

People might be surprised just how much 3D printing has touched the goods and services they use every day. From the design and development of household appliances and motor vehicles, to being used to manufacture on-demand warranty parts. When looking deeper into the companies, people are likely to find 3D printing incorporated somewhere in a product life cycle.

The maintenance of warranty parts has long been a hidden cost to manufacturers. Electrolux started trials within the Asia Pacific region in 2017, 3D Printing on demand spare parts. Porsche Classic, a division of Porsche, is similarly looking to 3D printing production of rare parts in small quantities. With a parts catalogue exceeding 52,000 parts, the cost savings have the potential to be considerable.

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3D printing industry growth tied to specialized applications — for now

Specialized production manufacturing drives 3D printing in three industries, but prototyping will remain the key use case in more mainstream applications.

DETROIT — The 3D printing industry continues to grow by developing specialized applications for three industries: aerospace, medical and automotive. But widespread adoption across industries is still a long way off.

Several announcements made at the Rapid + TCT 3D printing industry trade show and conference reinforce the growth in innovation for 3D printing’s main industries. The announcements included the following:

  • Smile Direct Club, a service that sends teeth alignment devices directly to consumers, will use HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing machines to produce individualized molds.
  • Medical startup Marvel Medtech will use the XJet Carmel 1400 3D printer to produce ceramic cryotherapy probes that can identify, freeze and destroy breast cancer cells when they are first detected.
  • The Renault Formula One racing team will use 3D-printed parts from Jabil Inc., one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers.

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Additive manufacturing and its impact on a $12 trillion industry

Additive manufacturing is radically changing the way products are made. What is additive manufacturing? It’s a process that creates a physical object from a digital design using 3D printing technology. Additive manufacturing adds material, layer upon layer, to create a finished product—from a pair of sports shoes to NASA rocket parts.

It is prepared to play a huge role in the future of manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing goes a giant step beyond traditional manufacturing methods. It’s capable of using more complex designs and delivering dramatically better results via a simplified fabrication process. This gives manufacturers increased flexibility and faster production times, which leads to real innovation. Manufacturers can make products that, until now, remained on the drawing board.

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3D printing Africa: South Africa’s 3D printing sector

If there is one country Africa that has seriously ventured into the 3D printing sector with active participation, it is South Africa.

Since 2012, the country at the located at the bottom of the African continent has covere

d significant ground in developing along with the 3D printing technology. Many international renowned 3D printer manufacturers and suppliers have set up a base engaging several local South African companies in their reseller programs and through distributorship deals. There are over fifteen companies in South Africa directly involved in 3D printing services and such a number is a good one from an African perspective.

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