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2016 Predictions: Three Best Investments For Manufacturers

2016 Predictions: Three Best Investments For Manufacturers

Feb 4, 2016

By Katie Mohr, Manufacturing.net The manufacturing industry is constantly in flux, and that’s especially true with the advent of Industry 4.0, also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Data is more available and important than ever before, thus making efficiency gains even more measurable. Advanced Technology Services’ Industrial Parts Services Vice President Mike Waltrip talked with Manufacturing.net about how manufacturers can handle intensifying efficiency pressures. Coming from a company that straddles many manufacturing sectors, Waltrip offered three technologies worth investing in: 3D printing, automation and the Internet of Things. 3D Printing A recent study by A.T. Kearney projected that the value of the 3D printing market will reach $7 billion in 2016 and will more than double by 2020, when it is expected to reach $17.2 billion. “This technology has greatly increased in capability within the last 12 months,” Waltrip says. “The costs continue to go down, and the new additive manufacturing technology continues to be a great option to traditional manufacturing.” In addition to the time saved by the ability to send a design directly to production, additive manufacturing can also increase operational efficiency by reducing the number of spare parts businesses need on hand. Instead of purchasing and storing these parts, manufacturers can 3D print the parts they need as they need them. Automation Although factories have been automating repetitive tasks with industrial robots for decades, the potential of these machines is far from completely fulfilled. “As manufacturing organizations continue to see the pressure and costs and the need to increase efficiencies, automation, industrial automation is going to continue to be a need,” says Waltrip. Between 2010 and 2014, the International Federation of Robotics noted that the number of industrial robots in use increased 48 percent — that’s an obvious push for continued automation. To translate that demand into dollars, U.S. manufacturers spent $1.6 billion on new robot orders in 2014. By the end of 2016, the Freedonia Group estimates that market will exceed $5 billion and hit $9 billion by 2021. Internet of Things With the increase of automation in manufacturing, “being able to connect that automation through the Internet of Things allows an organization to be way more efficient,” says Waltrip. In late 2015, a TEKSystems poll of 200...

Fonon Corporation Set to Release New Bulk-To-Shape…

Fonon Corporation Set to Release New Bulk-To-Shape…

Feb 3, 2016

“Fonon Corporation Set to Release New Bulk-To-Shape Metal 3D Printing Technology” By Scott J Grunewald, 3Dprint.com Despite components made using metal 3D printing finding their way into everything from automobiles to power generators, airplanes and even rockets, the process is still far from perfect. While metal 3D printing is quite useful for the manufacturing of parts that have highly complex geometries and other shapes that are un-castable with traditional fabrication technologies, there are many limitations that make it unsuitable for most mass-produced metal parts. Not only is the process itself time consuming, but it is also expensive and any finished parts will usually require a considerable amount of post processing. With only a few exceptions, metal 3D printing technologies are primarily used for rapid prototyping or single or low-volume part manufacturing because they are not especially effective, reliable, or sustainable when used to fabricate end-use products or the mass production of parts. Metal 3D printer and laser technology developer Fonon Corporation thinks that they will soon be changing that with their Bulk-To-Shape technology that can be used with their 3D Fusion Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and metal 3D printing systems or pre-existing metal additive manufacturing technology. The company sees Bulk-To-Shape as an umbrella of various 3D printing technologies that can be used to enhance existing manufacturing systems and will offer a transformational approach to using metal additive manufacturing in an industrial setting. The company is offering their expertise and decades of experience to help companies enhance their production lines using state-of-the-art Fonon Corporation technology. The goal is to enable manufacturers to reliably integrate metal 3D printing technology into their full production workflow, and potentially demonstrate a disruptive shift in the industrial manufacturing sector. Fonon Corporation will offer their Bulk-To-Shape technology as a cost-effective method for the development and customization of application-specific 3D metal printing tools. The technologies available consist of proprietary metal 3D printing processes, the leveraging of the company’s extensive experience and working understanding of the molecular behavior of materials under transitional temperatures and decades of intellectual property based on the development of successful metal laser sintering systems. Fonon Corporation expects their Bulk-To-Shape technology to help industrial manufacturers transform their metal 3D printing systems from prototyping and full production...

First 3D-Printed Titanium Cranial Implant To Get FDA Approval

First 3D-Printed Titanium Cranial Implant To Get FDA Approval

Feb 2, 2016

By Ann R. Thryft, Design News The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has approved a 3D-printed, titanium, cranial/craniofacial patient-specific plate implant for use in the US. The implant was designed by Brazil-based BioArchitects, and is 3D printed using Sweden-based Arcam’s electron beam melting (EBM) process. Designed for repairing defects in the non-loadbearing bones of the head and face, each custom-designed plate is permanently attached to the skull and/or face with self-tapping titanium screws, Mark Ulrich, CEO of BioArchitects USA, told Design News. Previously, titanium cranial/craniofacial plate implants sold in the US have been machined or foundry-based. The new 3D-printed implant design takes advantage of the light weight and tensile strength of a biocompatible titanium alloy. “Unlike others in the market, this is the only implant that has, as part of its architecture, attachment heads that are an integral part of the plate itself, without needing separate attachment brackets for the plates,” said Ulrich. “The counter-sunk, hole-drilled tabs’ location and positioning in each case are based on collaboration between the surgeon and the biomedical engineer. These only require off-the-shelf, standard titanium screws to screw the plate into the native bone. Most others require sourcing additional attachment brackets to adhere the implant to the bony surface.” As part of the process for acquiring the FDA’s 510(k) clearance, BioArchitects was asked to do mechanical testing on the plate. “That included the weakest portion, which in this case is the attachment tabs,” said Ulrich. “In laboratory testing, we found that their tensile strength is three to four times as great as the tensile strength of the commercially available titanium attachment brackets.” Such custom implants are designed to repair bony defects that result from congenital abnormalities, trauma, or disease. They are created by importing a CT scan or MRI of the affected area into a specialized design program to make a template of the repair, which becomes a model for fabricating the 3D-printed plate. Multiple finishes are possible: mirror, partially polished, unpolished margin and edge, or unpolished surface, said Ulrich, depending on how much osseointegration is needed for the particular repair. Arcam has supplied orthopedic implants for over a decade made with its EBM systems. The company recently expanded operations in the US by opening a new sales...

PwC: Manufacturers Need to Embrace New Technology

PwC: Manufacturers Need to Embrace New Technology

Feb 1, 2016

By Bill Koenig, Manufacturing Engineering Manufacturers need to embrace technology such as “connected” factories, 3D printing and “cobotics,” despite a slowing manufacturing economy, Pricewaterhouse Coopers said in a report. “Manufacturing may be facing some headwinds, but it’s undeniably in the midst of a technological renaissance that is transforming the look, systems, and processes of the modern factory,” the consulting company said in an annual report about manufacturing trends. “Despite the risks – and despite recent history – industrial manufacturing companies cannot afford to ignore these advances,” PwC said. “By embracing them now, they can improve productivity in their own plants, compete against rivals, and maintain an edge with customers.” Manufacturing has seen an economic slowdown the past year. The economy in China, a key market for major manufacturers, is slowing. A strong dollar makes US-produced goods more expensive in overseas markets. Despite that, PwC urged manufacturers to adopt these technologies: –Internet of Things, or IoT, where machines, sensors and computers are connected by way of the Internet. Manufacturers already monitor and adjust equipment via mobile devices. The PwC report said IoT will continue to advance and companies need to use it. Such companies “must determine precisely what data is most valuable to collect,” PwC said. “Next-generation equipment will require a next-generation mix of workers, which should include employees who can design and build IoT products as well as data scientists who can analyze output,” according to the report. –Advanced robots. PwC said newer robots “are employed to complement rather than replace workers.” Such technology is known as “cobotics.” “These applications will expand as automation developers introduce more sophisticated sensors and more adaptable, highly functional robotic equipment that will let humans and machines interact deftly on the factory floor,” PwC said. –Augmented reality, in which “text, graphics, audio, and other virtual enhancements” are “superimposed onto goggles” worn by users. Some manufacturers are using the technology for training and to “enable faster responses to maintenance requests” and other tasks, PwC said. –3D printing: Printing of parts directly from a digital design isn’t new but is gaining momentum, particularly as more metals are used in 3D printing. “3D printing is still in its infancy,” PwC said. “Companies must begin...

Step Out of Line America: A Need for Action & Middle Class…

Step Out of Line America: A Need for Action & Middle Class…

Jan 29, 2016

“Step Out of Line America: A Need for Action & Middle Class Paradigm Changes in the New American Economy”  By Josh Miller, Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey, Cerasis My name is Josh Miller; I’m a blue-collar worker during the day and an independent filmmaker at night. My passion lies with the “Made in America” movement. Many of you know me as the “Made in USA Guy” and are aware of my documentary film, “Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey” now available on iTunes if I may add. All American Clothing Co. has kindly invited me to provide a blog post each month to their website, which I gladly accepted. I also thought this would make a good LinkedIn post as well. I’ve got plenty on my mind to share, so here goes the first post. I travel a considerable distance to and from work every day, which gives me quite some time to think about the future. Every morning my mind drifts to thoughts of how my wife and I are going to survive fiscally. We live paycheck to paycheck like most Americans in the new American economy. I glance at my wife’s belly (a little over eight months pregnant), and I’m scared to death and excited at the same time. The scared to death part reaches deep into my parental instinct to ensure I can protect and provide for my child. I’m also excited to see a combination of myself and my wife’s personality and attributes rolled up into another human being, you find it so hard to believe that the creation of another human being is possible. Protection mode kicks in and you feel like doing less talking and more walking. Pursuing the American Dream Isn’t as Clear Cut as it Once Was This extra energy I’ve felt over the past several months has helped me push myself looking for new opportunities. However, I’ve questioned the very thing we all pursue, the American Dream. First, I think we must define what that means present day. I followed what the education system and society told me to do. Pick out what area you want to study when you’re young, pick a major...

Bringing Manufacturing Into The Digital Era

Bringing Manufacturing Into The Digital Era

Jan 27, 2016

By Avinash Salelkar, Manufacturing Business Technology Rapid advances in Information Technology have created new ways to communicate and share information. The company-customer relationship has shifted from transactional to interactive, giving consumers more power and making companies more responsive. This has forced companies to rethink and reengineer the way they connect and interact with their customers. New types of customer service are being created due to the changing nature of the customer relationship. Banking and retail have been front-runners in customer engagement, due to the ability to have instant and ongoing exchanges with customers. The manufacturing industry, however, has been slow to react to these changes. Many companies are uncertain how to leverage this new opportunity and to provide more value for consumers and increase market share through improved customer service. The main reason can be found in the manufacturing business model. Historically, most manufacturers do not interact directly with consumers of their product. Traditional customer relationships are owned and managed by dealers and channel partners, isolating the manufacturer to the role of engineering and product management. Even with opportunities to reach past their channels and dealer community to connect directly with consumers, some manufacturers are still hesitant or unwilling to have candid, real-time interactions with consumers. In one case, a leading automaker was considering building an online forum where dealers could share product feedback based on what they observe at dealerships and in interactions with customers. In the end, they nixed the idea based on fears that the company could be exposed in the event a product failure was discussed in the forum. How, when, and if a manufacturer seeks to connect with a customer, and how to determine the value of that engagement may depend on whether the product is merely a component in a final product, or the final product itself. This can be better explained using the automobile manufacturing process as an example. There are a large number of so-called Tier manufacturers that supply their product to another company that uses it as a component. Examples include the steel used in car production, the seat belts, or the seats themselves. These components are usually unbranded and their manufacturer is not identifiable....