Tag Archives: Technology

Additive Manufacturing both ubiquitous and nascent

Hailey Lynne McKeefry

Four out of five manufacturers say that they are using 3D printing today. At the same time, prototyping claims the lion’s share of the activity. We are at a tipping point where, over the next few years, 3D printing will likely change manufacturing and its supply chain dramatically.

Add New“The reality is that he cost of printing has come down so much in the past few years that it is easy for anybody to be at least be dabbling in 3D printing,” John Dulchinos, vice president, Digital Manufacturing at contract manufacturer Jabil told EBN.  “A lot of it ends up being just that. However, anyone doing design work who isn’t using 3D printing is behind the curve.”

In short, the promise and complexities associated with 3D printing in manufacturing abound. “As one of the fundamental building blocks around 3D printing, additive manufacturing over time will have a profound impact on supply chain,” Dulchinos. “We were all starting at ground zero, though. There isn’t a lot of well-defined literature or history on using additive manufacturing for functional production parts.”

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All-in-One machine manufactures large metal parts

Hybrid manufacturingMoving from computer-aided design into production with advanced all-in-one machines will create great new opportunities for additive manufacturing.

  • The rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity;
  • The analytics and business-intelligence capabilities;
  • The human-machine interaction; and
  • The improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world.

Taken together, they will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen.

One of the pillars of this revolution is additive manufacturing (AM), also referred to as 3D printing. AM is already used to make some niche items, such as medical implants, and to produce plastic prototypes for engineers and designers. While 3D printing for consumers and small entrepreneurs has received a great deal of publicity, it is within manufacturing that the technology could have its most significant and lasting commercial impact.

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3D printing makes stainless steel three times stronger

Researchers have developed a way to 3D print stainless steel that triples the strength of the material.

3D printing has been used in everything from printing meat substitutes to vehicle components and has also prompted entirely new business models based on blueprint sharing and outsourced printing services.

Companies including GE, Siemens, and HP are all placing their bets on the future of this manufacturing process, and while 3D printing is currently reserved most often for weaker materials such as paper or plastic, metal is also of interest.

HP recently hinted at the 2018 release of a platform designed to “transform [3D metal printing] into more mainstream, high-volume production,” and as a research team from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have now demonstrated, the future of our metal products can be improved no end by 3D printing methods.

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Is distributed manufacturing with flexible 3D printing filament worth it? Michigan Tech finds out

Researchers from Michigan Technological University have conducted a study into the cost of 3D printing consumer goods using flexible filament. The researchers 3D printed 20 flexible products in NinjaFlex filament, analyzing the overall cost and technical feasibility of the 3D printed items.

Flexible filaments have opened up a world of opportunities for 3D printer users. Once faced with the prospect of brittle and breakable 3D printed parts, makers can now easily make rubbery 3D printed items for a range of practical applications: mechanical parts, soft grips, and even the tires of an RC car.

But are objects made from flexible 3D printing filaments as good as their molded, off-the-shelf counterparts? Moreover, are they worth the cost? Those are two questions that intrigued Aubrey L. Woern and Joshua M. Pearce, two researchers at Michigan Technological University who recently carried out a study into the effectiveness of functional objects made from flexible filament.

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IT pro’s guide to 3D printing technologies (free PDF)

3D printing is a revolutionary advancement in the way industries design and manufacture products. For decades, 3D printing has been used for industrial purposes, to quickly produce parts for rapid prototyping before employing traditional manufacturing techniques. Now, with the increased precision of 3D printers and a dramatic increase in the lifetime durability of 3D-printed parts, many industries are adopting 3D printing as a form of just-in-time manufacturing to reduce design complexity and warehousing costs and to simplify supply chains.

For hobbyists, 3D printing allows the custom creation of parts to meet the needs of their projects, such as a plastic housing for a circuit board. Websites like Thingiverse feature crowd-sourced designs for replacement car parts to 3D printed art.

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3D printing tips and tech: What you need to know about 3D printing

In a firsthand experience with 3D printing, engineering student Adam Beachy shares what he learned and what everyone should know about these machines.

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The 3D printing experience for a consumer is one which will come with many different viewpoints and opinions. I was introduced to the 3D printing world around 10 months ago after purchasing my first 3D printer. My experience has been nothing short of a whirlwind. Like many other engineers I was intrigued by the idea of being able to design something and then have it created right in front of my eyes. The idea of actually owning my own 3D printer seemed outrageous and out of my budget. As I began to learn more about 3D printers, I soon realized there was a whole market of consumer printers available for a relatively low price. This is when I began to realize I might actually get the chance to own a 3D printer.

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‘Factory of the future’: Researcher to study 3D-printing powered by thought

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick researchers are plotting what they call the “factories of the future” by developing 3D-printing technologies they said could pave the way for the next industrial revolution.

Edward Cyr

Mechanical engineer Ed Cyr is studying the applications of artificial intelligence in manufacturing 3D-printed materials as part of a $1.25-million innovation program from the McCain Foundation announced at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton Tuesday.

Cyr will spend his UNB fellowship, valued at $50,000, working to understand the behaviour of 3D-printed materials with the goal of harnessing their special properties to improve conventional methods of manufacturing.

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Are you ready for 4D Printing?

It took three decades for 3D printing to become a disruptive force in the supply chain and it’s still relatively immature, but 4D printing is starting to emerge as a further extension of additive manufacturing.

According to Grandview Research, the global 4D printing market is estimated to reach US$64.5 million by 2019 and grow at a CAGR exceeding 33.2 percent from 2020 to 2025. The research firm attributes the growth to rising demand in the military and defense, aerospace, automotive, and healthcare industries. North America is expected to emerge as a dominant region for 4D printing market by 2025 due to high investments in research and development.

4D printing isn’t so much the eventual replacement of 3D printing technology as it is a superset, according to Grandview Research analyst Priyanka Bansal. It’s a technique that adds up time as the fourth dimension to a 3D printed object. 4D printed objects are programmed to change physical dimensions upon application of external stimuli, and the processes for manufacturing the final product are similar to 3D printing. The only difference comes in with the ability to change the shape, whereas 3D printed objects are not self-healing.

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New 3D printing technologies look to support mass production

Adidas to Use New Technology to Produce 1 Million Soles, While There Could be a Be a Breakthrough in Metals Printing

So called 3D printing, also sometimes referred to as “additive manufacturing,” appears ready for prime time in many areas, such as at GE’s aircraft division, which plans on using the technology in a big way for its upcoming its Advanced Turboprop (ATP) engine, which will power the all-new Cessna Denali aircraft.

Additive parts will cut that engine’s weight by 5%, the company says. (See GE Makes Major Strides in 3D Printing, as Advances in Metals-Based Composition Opens Up Many New Applications.)

But the rap is that 3D printed parts are too slow and expensive to be used for making things in mass quantities – it can take two days to create just one a complex object in some cases, for example. Therefore, the 3D focus has been on things like parts, certain medical devices, or custom dental crowns that are produced in small batches or even just one of a given specification.

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Defining the next chapter in 3D Printing

Interesting presentation from Formlabs.  Mass production is the big goal for 3D printing, and there are several firms looking to develop solutions that enable it. 

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