3D printing could usher in a revolution, but small…

3D printing could usher in a revolution, but small…

Mar 30, 2017

“3D printing could usher in a revolution, but small, local businesses unlikely to benefit” By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune Large manufacturers benefitting from advances in 3D printing and other technology are saving time and money, but the speed of change will likely leave small and mid-sized companies behind. Gregg Profozich, director of advanced manufacturing technologies for California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) in Torrance, said nearly 99 percent of U.S. manufacturing businesses are considered small, with many employing 20 or fewer workers. And integrating the latest technology — regardless of its efficiency — is often not a priority for these businesses. For many, it’s not even possible. “The problem is that most small manufacturers are so busy working in the business that they can’t work on the business,” he said. “When Joe doesn’t show up they have to go run the press mill, or the injection molding machine or they have to do the billing. They are in the business but they are not stepping back. They don’t have a department for stepping back and thinking about the future, and that’s where we try to come in. That’s what my role is about, to think about new technologies that we might be able to use to help them adopt.” Profozich was a featured speaker at Tuesday’s “Exploring the Next Generation of the Technology Revolution” forum at Caltech’s Athenaeum. The event was sponsored by Technolink Association, a coalition of leaders in aerospace, academia, innovation and other fields who are seeking to develop a virtual high-tech corridor in Southern California. Profozich displayed a pair of slides that clearly illustrate how manufacturing processes have become more efficient. The first showed a circular metal piece that had been machined out of a large metal block by a CNC (computer numerical control) cutting tool. The piece was surrounded by piles of metal shavings that had been carved away to create the part. “It’s like the old sculptor who starts with a block and keeps chiseling away until you end up with the art you want,” he said. “That’s the mentality we had the past. But now we have technologies that allow this.” At that point he displayed another slide that showed...

HP reveals next move in making 3D printing competitive…

HP reveals next move in making 3D printing competitive…

Mar 27, 2017

“HP reveals next move in making 3D printing competitive with injection molding” By Norbert Sparrow, Plastics Today HP (Palo Alto, CA) has a storied past, but it may have an even more glorious future if it is able to deliver on its vision of industrial-scale 3D printing that can rival injection molding. Its opening salvo in achieving this long-term ambition came just about one year ago, when it unveiled the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, which prints quality parts up to 10 times faster and at half the cost of current 3D printers, according to HP. The newest milestone came last week, when it launched its 3D Open Materials and Application Lab at its sprawling facility in Corvallis, OR. HP invited several journalists, myself included, and analysts to tour the lab and to lay out its strategy for embedding 3D printing within the $12 trillion manufacturing sector. The Corvallis facility, a stone’s throw from Oregon State University’s Reser Stadium, was the birthplace of thermal inkjet technology some 30 years ago, and remains a hotbed of innovation, where material scientists and engineers design, test and build printheads, silicon wafers and thermal inkjet printer heads. Right now, all eyes are on the capabilities of its additive manufacturing system and the development of compatible materials. Multi Jet Fusion is the culmination of decades of research, Timothy Weber, PhD, Vice President and General Manager of 3D Materials and Advanced Applications, told journalists during the site visit. “The total market for 3D printing is around $5 to $6 billion,” said Weber. “The market wasn’t big enough to interest a $50+ billion company like HP, and we didn’t have a technological differentiator,” he added to explain why the company waited as long as it did before dipping its toe in the additive manufacturing pond. That changed with the development of Multi Jet Fusion technology, which has the potential to compete with conventional plastics processing techniques, and the ability to engineer materials at the voxel level. The mighty voxel HP describes the voxel as a volumetric pixel. With Multi Jet Fusion, HP can manipulate materials at the voxel level by dosing liquid functional agents in the powder bed as the parts are...

AI-Based Software Aimed at Simplifying 3D Printing of Metals

AI-Based Software Aimed at Simplifying 3D Printing of Metals

Feb 17, 2017

By Elizabeth Montalbano, DesignNews A new toolkit that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help advance the 3D printing of metals by managing and simplifying steps of what is currently a complex process.  Sculpteo Software , a French software provider, recently unveiled Agile Metal Technology (AMT) at the CES show in Las Vegas. The suite of six tools aim to help take the complexity out of 3D metal printing by adding automation, management, and optimization to the 3D metal printing process.  Using metals in an additive manufacturing process allows for the creation of fully functioning parts with high mechanical properties that may otherwise be impossible to develop with traditional manufacturing techniques, said Sculpteo Marketing Content Manager Hannah Bensoussan in a blog post . To be sure, while 3D printing of metals is currently possible, it’s not easy, and it’s still fairly expensive due to the necessary use of complex procedures, she said. One of those procedures often includes the need to make multiple versions of single parts before coming up with a final product, which is time consuming and expensive.  Making it easier to use 3D printing to fabricate in materials beyond plastic is the next milestone for this type of manufacturing to make it more widely accessible. That’s in part the reasoning behind the development of the AMT suite, said Sculpteo CEO Clement Moreau.  “Metal 3D printing offers the possibility of building new parts with complex geometries that are not possible with traditional methods; however getting metal additive manufacturing right is a serious challenge,” he said. “As the complexity of additive manufacturing grows, it is difficult to get the necessary information to make the project go smoothly. Experts and specific software exist, but they are extremely expensive, and add to production time.”  Sculpteo already has made the first tool in the online suite—Business Case—available, with the others currently in development and will follow later. Business Case is a “self-learning artificial intelligence” that can analyze the feasibility of a metal additive manufacturing project, calculate risks and opportunities, and provide advice in the case that there is a better material or technique to fit the project’s needs, according to Bensoussan’s post. The tool is available online.  Forthcoming tools in...

5 Emerging Technology Trends for Manufacturers in 2017

5 Emerging Technology Trends for Manufacturers in 2017

Dec 15, 2016

By MFG Talk Radio The manufacturing industry has continued to push through the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. Manufacturers are realizing that these new technology trends have become less of an addition and more of a necessity for their business. Digital systems, collaborative robotics and science-fiction sounding technology has become the standard conversion for those in the industry. Some of the technologies that will be discussed have already had an impact throughout 2016 but as we enter a new year, even more manufacturers will start getting on board as they become more advanced. Below we will be diving into 5 trends that will continue to drive manufacturing forward into the new year and beyond. Cybersecurity This is a concept that manufacturers haven’t had to worry about for so long. Industrial businesses were convinced that they would never need to invest into cybersecurity platforms as their business was generally handled in person, over the phone or on the shop floor. However, as manufacturers became more connected over that past couple years to improve operations, they unknowingly opened themselves up to new business risks. Manufacturers are utilizing the Industrial Internet of Things more than ever before in history. The pioneers of this innovative system have laid the foundation for smaller manufacturers to take advantage of what the IIoT has to offer. As more aspects of a manufacturing operation become controlled or monitored by connected digital systems, it leaves doors open for a would be cyber criminal to wreak havoc on a business. Cybersecurity will be absolutely critical in 2017 in order for manufacturers to continue benefiting from all this new technology while also keeping their business and employees safe. More on Cybersecurity and Industrial Manufacturing http://mfgtalkradio.com/ddos-attack-hits-eastern-us-manufacturers-paying-attention/ Advanced Materials Material science continues to advance and manufacturers stand to benefit greatly. Carbon fiber was once thought to be the material on the 21st century. However, Carbon nanotube manufacturing is taking impressive strides forward and no one is certain what the future will hold. Graphene is still on the minds of manufacturers everywhere and it doesn’t end there. New materials are even helping to improve high-tech batteries which could help manufacturers power their business, store energy for...

Stratasys Reveals Large-Part 3D Printing Demonstrator

Stratasys Reveals Large-Part 3D Printing Demonstrator

Nov 7, 2016

Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel—The 3D printing and additive manufacturing company Stratasys is working with Ford and Boeing on new technology to 3D print large aerospace and automotive parts. Demonstrations of the technology, including the Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator, were to be previewed at IMTS 2016 as part of the company’s Shaping What’s Next™ vision for manufacturing. In a company release, Stratasys said that its Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator builds on the company’s industrial FDM® 3D printing expertise to respond to the needs of customers’ most challenging applications. The 3D demonstrator is said to address manufacturers’ needs to rapidly produce strong parts ranging in size from an automobile armrest to an entire aircraft interior panel.     The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator is designed to address the requirements of aerospace, automotive, and other industries for large lightweight, thermoplastic parts with repeatable mechanical properties. The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator offers what the company calls a revolutionary approach to FDM extrusion that increases throughput and repeatability. The system is said to turn the traditional 3D printer concept on its side to realize an “infinite-build” approach that prints on a vertical plane for practically unlimited part size in the build direction. Aerospace giant Boeing played an influential role in defining the requirements and specifications for the demonstrator. Boeing is currently using an Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator to explore the production of low volume, lightweight parts. Ford Motor Company is also exploring innovative automotive manufacturing applications for this demonstrator, and will evaluate this new technology. Ford and Stratasys will work together to test and develop new applications for automotive-grade 3D printed materials that were not previously possible due to limited size, enabling and accelerating innovative automotive product design, Stratasys said. “3D printing holds the promise of changing automotive design and manufacturing because it opens up new ways to innovate and create efficiencies in production,” said Mike Whitens, director of vehicle enterprise sciences at Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, in the release. “Our vision at Ford is to make high-speed, high-quality printing of automotive-grade parts a reality. We are excited about the future opportunities that the scalable and versatile Infinite-Build concept can unlock, and look forward to collaborating with...