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Direct Metal Printing Is Key to Bringing First-of-its-Kind…

Direct Metal Printing Is Key to Bringing First-of-its-Kind…

May 24, 2018

“Direct Metal Printing Is Key to Bringing First-of-its-Kind Faucet to Market” Featured on D2PMagazine.com ROCK HILL, S.C.—Kallista, a designer and provider of luxury kitchen and bath products, unveiled its Grid™ sink faucet at KBIS 2018 earlier this year. 3D Systems’ Direct Metal Printing technology was instrumental in bringing the first-of-its-kind sink faucet—produced by 3rd Dimension using 3D Systems’ 3D printing materials and technology—to market. According to a release from 3D Systems (www.3dsystems.com), its technologies enabled Kallista to “design without limitations” in its efforts to bring the product to market. Kallista’s design team embarked on a journey to create a faucet in a unique geometry. In deciding to produce the spout via 3D printing, the designers were able to design without limitations to create an open form and discrete interior channels that allow water to flow easily through the base. “Designers usually need to consider a manufacturing process, and they have to design around that process,” said Bill McKeone, design studio manager at Kallista, in a statement. ”By choosing to produce this faucet via 3D printing, we opened ourselves to limitless design possibilities. 3D Systems’ breadth of materials and technologies allowed us the freedom to create a unique, functional faucet which would not have been possible with a traditional manufacturing process.” The faucets were produced by metal 3D printing specialist, 3rd Dimension, a production metal manufacturer specializing in 3D direct metal printing based in Indianapolis. 3rd Dimension (print3d4u.com) employed 3D Systems’ ProX® DMP 320 high-performance metal additive manufacturing system. To avoid rust and corrosion, the faucets are printed with 3D Systems’ LaserForm® 316L, a high quality stainless steel 316 powder material. “In order to realize the best product, you have to start with the best tools,” said Bob Markley, president, 3rd Dimension, in the release. “The strength of the 3D Systems technology and materials, coupled with the expertise of our engineers and machinists, allowed us to rapidly produce and deliver these high end faucets for Kallista.” As this was the first additively manufactured product for Kallista, the team at 3rd Dimension led them through a program to develop the as-designed concept for the 3D printing process. Developing the design for additive manufacturing meant that Kallista was able to avoid the...

How Factory Intelligence is Evolving

How Factory Intelligence is Evolving

May 23, 2018

By Larry Maggiano, Senior Systems Analyst, Mitutoyo America Corp. Featured on AdvancedManufacturing.org Intelligent factories have existed since manufacturing’s historical inception, but intelligence—defined as the acquisition and application of manufacturing knowledge—resided only with the factory’s staff. With the advent of numerical control (NC) and then computer numerical control (CNC) technologies, factory machines gained digital I/O capabilities but were still not smart. Digitally enabled machines, though increasingly productive, had no awareness of themselves, their environment, or the tasks being performed or to-be performed. In spite of these limitations, centralized factory intelligence has been achieved at modest scales through a deterministic low-level set of digital commands and responses. An experiment in large-scale centralized factory intelligence was General Motor’s 1982 Manufacturing Automation Protocol (MAP), operating over token bus network protocol (IEE 802.4). The MAP-enabled factory intelligence experiment ended in 2004 as it was difficult to maintain operational reliability. One of the most important reasons was a lack of system resiliency, a downside of required deterministic factory communication standards and protocols. Another reason was that the connected machines could not continue to operate at any level when instructions were not forthcoming from a central system. An analogy might be made to the mainframe-to-terminal infrastructure that became obsolete in the 1990s with the development of the PC and distributed computing. Several significant changes have enabled the development of smart machines for the intelligent factory. The first is the extension of IT’s ubiquitous Ethernet LAN infrastructure to the shop floor, enabling rapid 3D downloads of model-based definition (MBD), and uploads of process and product data. Secondly, today’s digital twins are smart in that they possess an awareness of not only their capabilities and operational status, but of work that can be performed on any particular MBD. In this manner, smart machines can bid on tasks, much like their human partners. A smart machine’s digital twin does not need deterministic low-level instructions, but instead responds to a submitted MBD, and, if selected, does real work with its physical counterpart. Lastly, three standardized core technologies–HTML, CSS and JavaScript—are recognized as enabling the widespread adoption of the Internet and the emergence of intelligent global systems. It is envisioned that similar standardized core technologies will enable...

FDI & Reshoring Lead to U.S. Manufacturing Growth

FDI & Reshoring Lead to U.S. Manufacturing Growth

May 21, 2018

By Stephen Gray, CEO, Gray Construction Featured on Area Development Online An improving business climate, including tax cuts and elimination of onerous regulations, bodes well for manufacturing in the United States. During the first quarter of 2018, U.S. manufacturing is riding a wave of 19 consecutive months of growth. This manufacturing growth is largely attributed to improving global economies and robust business investment.  According to the Reshoring Initiative, reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) together grew by more than 10 percent in 2016, adding 77,000 jobs and surpassing the rate of offshoring jobs by 27,000. In 2017, reshoring and FDI job announcements soared adding over 171,000 jobs. The jobs equal 90 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing jobs added in 2017. Already, the preliminary data for 2018 is at least as strong as 2017. An Inviting Destination for Business The American industrial sector is flourishing, with the United States continuing to be the largest receiver of FDI in the world. A number of factors are contributing to U.S. manufacturing’s rapid growth: Manufacturers want to expand in the U.S. because of its abundance of natural resources. In particular, rebounding oil prices have spurred more drilling and investment. The U.S. has high labor standards, encouraging a high-quality, safe working environment. Manufacturers are responding to increasing scrutiny of production practices. In addition, manufacturers are pushing training programs and partnering with colleges and universities to create a more competitive workforce. At the same time, states and communities are integrating job training programs as part of their incentive packages to attract manufacturers’ investment. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, has created investment opportunities for businesses, and the manufacturing industry has already experienced positive results. The American consumer continues to be a draw for manufacturers. Consumer spending is a significant driver of a strong economy. As SelectUSA points out, the U.S. offers the largest consumer market on earth with a GDP of $18 trillion and 325 million people.Manufacturers prefer to be near these consumers. The trusted business climate in the U.S. allows businesses to operate in a secure and stable environment. Companies are finding a wealth of opportunity in the U.S. marketplace....

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....