A New Era of 3D Printing

A New Era of 3D Printing

May 16, 2018

By Mark Shortt, Design-2-Part Magazine Adaptive Corporation, Inc. strives to enable innovation by applying technology to streamline business processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies throughout the product development lifecycle. Adaptive is a reseller of Markforged 3D Printers, like the Onyx Seriesand Metal X, which are used to make carbon fiber composite and metal printed parts, respectively. Frank Thomas, a metrology and additive manufacturing specialist for Adaptive, has worked with a variety of manufacturing companies in the areas of engineering, metrology, and additive manufacturing, as both an implementation consultant and product specialist. Over the past 10 years, he has focused on connecting engineering and manufacturing, specifically around quality, and now additive manufacturing.  His goal is to help companies better connect the “virtual” to the “physical,” thereby improving their time to market and reducing cost. Thomas said that until fairly recently, additive manufacturing was used most often as a tool to create parts that you could hand to somebody so that they could see it, touch it, and provide some input as to what might need to be changed or modified. But that’s changed in recent years as new materials have been developed that enable printers to make stronger, more durable parts. “Metal printing has always been there, but that has an economic value proposition that’s a bit challenging for it,” he said in an interview. “The ABS and nylon and other plastic 3D printers, up until the last couple of years, weren’t necessarily dimensionally accurate, and then they had challenges creating a part that’s functional. That’s what I think is different about the market today, compared to just, really, a couple of years ago.” Adaptive markets 3D printers that feature dimensional accuracy and the ability to yield a part that is functional, depending on the application. Thomas said that he’s also seeing a lot of interest in metal 3D printing. “Where metal 3D printing comes from is the argon laser based systems,” he told D2P. “The companies that have had applications or use cases for them have made the investments, and they’ve been huge investments. They probably start at half a million dollars and go up, and that doesn’t even count the facility that’s required to be able to...

China really is to blame for millions of lost U.S. …

China really is to blame for millions of lost U.S. …

May 15, 2018

“China really is to blame for millions of lost U.S. manufacturing jobs, new study finds” By Jeffry Bartash, MarketWatch Millions of Americans who lost manufacturing jobs during the 2000s have long ”known” China was to blame, not robots. And many helped elect Donald Trump as president because of his insistence that China was at fault. Evidently many academics who’ve studied the issue are finally drawing the same conclusion. For years economists have viewed the increased role of automation in the computer age as the chief culprit for some 6 million lost jobs from 1999 to 2010 — one-third of all U.S. manufacturing employment. Firms adopted new technologies to boost production, the thinking goes, and put workers out of the job in the process. Plants could make more stuff with fewer people. In the past several years fresh thinking by economists such as David Autor of MIT has challenged that view. The latest research to poke holes in the theory of automation-is-to-blame is from Susan Houseman of the Upjohn Institute. Academic research tends to be dry and complicated, but Houseman’s findings boil down to this: The government for decades has vastly overestimated the growth of productivity in the American manufacturing sector. It’s been growing no faster, really, than the rest of the economy. What that means is, the adoption of technology is not the chief reason why millions of working-class Americans lost their jobs in a vast region stretching from the mouth of the Mississippi river to the shores of the Great Lakes. Nor was it inevitable. Autor and now Houseman contend the introduction of China into the global trading system is root cause of the job losses. Put another way, President Bill Clinton and political leaders who succeeded him accepted the risk that the U.S. would suffer short-term economic harm from opening the U.S. to Chinese exports in hopes of long-run gains of a more stable China. No longer needing to worry about U.S. tariffs, the Chinese took full advantage. Low Chinese wages and a cheap Chinese currency CNYUSD, -0.6037%   — at a time when the dollar DXY, +0.48%  was strong — gave China several huge advantages. Companies shuttered operations in the U.S., moved to China and eventually set up...

The Four Slide Metal Stamping Advantage

The Four Slide Metal Stamping Advantage

May 9, 2018

By ThomasNet.com  Metal stamping is used to turn cold sheet metal and other materials — such as copper and brass — into high-performing products and parts that can be used in various industrial and manufacturing processes. Traditionally, power press stamping machines are built to blank and stamp metal parts; these machines are ideal for simple, straightforward operations. Progressive die stamping improved on power press stamping machines by allowing for the completion of various operations, such as punching, coining, and bending. Multi-slide stamping machines then further improve the die stamping process by allowing for the production of highly complex shapes and bends. The four slide metal stamping machine is one such machine, although the terms “multi-slide” and “four slide” are often used interchangeably. How Does Four Slide Metal Stamping Work? Power press stamping and progressive die stamping both utilize an up-and-down, or vertical, motion when processing sheet metal and other materials. These stamping methods are geared toward the production of less complex parts. Multi-slide metal stamping, including four slide metal stamping, is different; these machines work in right angles, or horizontally. The slides, or rams, in the machines, strike the sheet material to produce the finished product. Multi-slide stamping machines may have more than four multiple moving slides, while four slide metal stamping machines have a fixed number. Servo motors or cams act on the slides, allowing the workpiece to be worked from four sides. The Benefits of Using a Four Slide Metal Stamping Machine Since different tools can be attached to the slides in a four slide metal stamping machine, it is much more versatile than a stamping press. Four slide equipment is also able to handle the manufacture of much more complicated parts, including parts with multiple, complex, or over 90° bends and twists. A huge range of parts can be produced using four slide metal stamping, including flat springs, clips, brackets, shunts, friction plates, terminals, and retainers. Both flat and round materials can be formed. Moreover, four slide metal stamping machines are much more cost-efficient than other stamping machines. The tools needed for four slide stamping are often cheaper than those required by other stamping methods, and die sets are not required....

Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin

Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin

May 7, 2018

By The University of Minnesota Featured on Phys.org One of the key innovations of the new 3-D-printing technique on skin is that the printer uses computer vision to track and adjust to movements in real-time. Credit: McAlpine group, University of Minnesota In a groundbreaking new study, researchers at the University of Minnesota used a customized, low-cost 3D printer to print electronics on a real hand for the first time. The technology could be used by soldiers on the battlefield to print temporary sensors on their bodies to detect chemical or biological agents or solar cells to charge essential electronics. Researchers also successfully printed biological cells on the skin wound of a mouse. The technique could lead to new medical treatments for wound healing and direct printing of grafts for skin disorders. The research study was published today on the inside back cover of the academic journal Advanced Materials. “We are excited about the potential of this new 3D-printing technology using a portable, lightweight printer costing less than $400,” said Michael McAlpine, the study’s lead author and the University of Minnesota Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “We imagine that a soldier could pull this printer out of a backpack and print a chemical sensor or other electronics they need, directly on the skin. It would be like a ‘Swiss Army knife’ of the future with everything they need all in one portable 3D printing tool.” One of the key innovations of the new 3D-printing technique is that this printer can adjust to small movements of the body during printing. Temporary markers are placed on the skin and the skin is scanned. The printer uses computer vision to adjust to movements in real-time. “No matter how hard anyone would try to stay still when using the printer on the skin, a person moves slightly and every hand is different,” McAlpine said. “This printer can track the hand using the markers and adjust in real-time to the movements and contours of the hand, so printing of the electronics keeps its circuit shape.” Another unique feature of this 3D-printing technique is that it uses a specialized ink made of silver flakes that can cure and conduct at room temperature. This is different from...

What is PolyJet Technology?

What is PolyJet Technology?

May 2, 2018

By Stratasys PolyJet is a powerful 3D printing technology that produces smooth, accurate parts, prototypes and tooling. With microscopic layer resolution and accuracy down to 0.1 mm, it can produce thin walls and complex geometries using the widest range of materials available with any technology. Benefits of PolyJet: Create smooth, detailed prototypes that convey final-product aesthetics. Produce accurate molds, jigs, fixtures and other manufacturing tools. Achieve complex shapes, intricate details and delicate features. Incorporate the widest variety of colors and materials into a single model for unbeatable efficiency....

U.S. Delays Decision On Tariffs For EU…

U.S. Delays Decision On Tariffs For EU…

May 1, 2018

“U.S. Delays Decision On Tariffs For EU, Prolonging Uncertainty” By Christopher Rugaber & Ken Thomas, AP Writers Featured on Manufacturing Business Technology WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government will take another 30 days to decide whether to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, extending a period of uncertainty for businesses in those regions. The delay helps the U.S. avoid a potential trade war with allies as it prepares for tense trade talks in China this week. But the EU slammed the decision as bad for business that “prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions.” “As a longstanding partner and friend of the U.S., we will not negotiate under threat,” the EU said in a statement Tuesday. The Trump administration said Monday it had reached an agreement with South Korea on steel imports following discussions on a revised trade agreement. And the administration said it had also reached agreements in principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil on steel and aluminum that will be finalized shortly. “In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment and protect the national security,” the White House said. Facing a self-imposed deadline, President Donald Trump was considering whether to permanently exempt the EU and Mexico, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Brazil from tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum that his administration imposed in March. The White House had given itself until the end of Monday to decide whether to extend the exemptions. The EU has taken a tough stance, raising the prospect of a trade war if the U.S. does not back down. It has a list of retaliatory tariffs worth about $3.5 billion on imports from the U.S. that it will activate if the EU loses its exemption. Germany said it continues to expect a permanent exemption. The EU’s largest steel exporter to the U.S., it accounted for about 5 percent of U.S. steel imports last year. “Neither the EU nor the U.S. can have an interest in an escalation of their trade tensions,” a spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday in a...