Rural, and making it: Bringing manufacturing to small towns

Rural, and making it: Bringing manufacturing to small towns

Dec 20, 2016

By Ben Rowley, Rural Business HQ He charged companies whatever he wanted as a freelance industrial designer, but he left it all to become part of a rural manufacturing renaissance. It started five years ago, when after 15 years of designing, Jonathan Baker said goodbye to his comfortable career in New England and moved to the Pacific Northwest to design and manufacture his own product in a town of under 1,000 people. On top of fighting long odds that come with starting a business, in a tiny town no less, Baker started his company in an industry that has been on the decline in the U.S. for decades. He and his business partner set out to create a product and manufacture it domestically, with no outsourcing to other countries. Period. Nevermind that this goes against decades of conditioning saying it is more expensive to manufacture in America. Nevermind Baker didn’t yet know what he was going to make. For him, this was about more than a product. “I knew I had to make it here,” he said. “To export all that opportunity to an overseas factory would be missing out on one of the biggest benefits of a successful design – jobs. The government doesn’t encourage this, and the tax code doesn’t either, but it is the right thing to do if you believe in the pride of making things where you live and the profound effect that can have.” Soon Baker discovered the town of Twisp, Washington, a place transformed over the years by a declining timber industry and an influx of retirees and seasonal recreationalists. There he found a vacant 1920s barn and saw in it the potential for both design and manufacturing to live under one old roof. Baker loved what Twisp offered – character, originality, a unique economy and proud, self-reliant people. “When we came into Twisp we saw that history and we felt this sense of place that hasn’t really been influenced by the rest of the world,” he said. “We thought it was a great environment to remove yourself from the influences of the mainstream.” With “the heritage and beauty of building things in your community” guiding their...

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...

Carbon bolsters 3D-printing breakthrough with novel…

Carbon bolsters 3D-printing breakthrough with novel…

Oct 4, 2016

“Carbon bolsters 3D-printing breakthrough with novel business model” By Frank Vinluan, Plastics Today Ford, BMW already on board; medical deemed biggest opportunity in years ahead The 3D-printing technology developed by Carbon (Redwood City, CA) has grabbed the attention of plastic parts manufacturers because it enables printing speeds that are up to 100 times faster than current additive manufacturing methods. Beyond introducing a new technology, CEO Joseph DeSimone believes his company’s innovation could open the door to new business models by offering manufacturers unprecedented efficiencies and savings. The company calls its technology continuous liquid interface production, or CLIP. DeSimone has a simpler way of describing it, explaining that the Carbon process uses light and oxygen to shape a part as it emerges from a pool of resin. The company says this approach to 3D printing permits a faster, continuous process that produces parts matching the quality of injection-molded plastics. “With light as a chisel, we are able to manufacture parts that previously weren’t manufacturable,” DeSimone said, speaking recently at the CED TechVenture conference in Raleigh, NC. Right now, companies currently keep billions of dollars worth of parts in inventory, DeSimone said. Even when parts are ordered in a “just-in-time” manner, the supply chain still needs time to deliver inventory to a site. Current 3D-printing technology is too slow to be used for more than prototyping parts, he added. But the capability to print parts on demand at high speed makes 3D manufacturing possible, and that has significant ramifications for the supply chain. Carbon believes that its 3D-printing technology will enable manufacturers to make parts only as they are needed, reducing cost and the need to stock inventory. Carbon launched its 3D printer, called the M1, in April, as PlasticsToday reported. DeSimone’s keynote in North Carolina offered an update on the company’s progress; notably, he told the audience that he envisioned multiple Carbon manufacturing sites for the M1 beyond the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. His talk turned out to be a preview of the company’s big news: $81 million in new corporate and venture investment to ramp up production of the M1 to meet expected demand. The latest investments bring Carbon’s total funding haul to $222...

Stratasys launches two new 3D printers, partners with Boeing…

Stratasys launches two new 3D printers, partners with Boeing…

Sep 21, 2016

“Stratasys launches two new 3D printers, partners with Boeing and Ford on applications” By Alison DeNisco, TechRepublic Two new 3D printers from Stratasys could revolutionize aerospace and automobile manufacturing, the company announced Wednesday. The machines represent the next step in large-scale 3D printing for manufacturing, which experts say will completely change the field in the next decade. The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator and the Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator expand the company’s Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology across manufacturing to more efficiently build bigger, stronger, higher-quality parts. Stratasys also partnered with Boeing to define the requirements and specifications for the Infinite-Build to meet their needs for customized flight parts. Ford Motor Company is also exploring the machine’s abilities for car manufacturing, Stratasys announced. Both the aerospace and automobile industries face pressure to continue to innovate and evolve—not only in performance, but in time to market, said Scott Sevcik, director of manufacturing platform development at Stratasys. Industry leaders are considering how to gain a competitive edge by offering a more differentiated passenger experience, whether in flight or on the road. “These industries are looking strongly toward 3D printing as a critical enabler to meet those needs going forward,” Sevcik said. “It offers the freedom of design, to be able to create parts that you could not make before with traditional processes.” The new machines further Stratasys’ efforts in large-scale manufacturing with 3D printing. In June, the company announced a partnership with Toyota division Daihatsu, offering 10 different 3D printed designs and patterns that owners can customize for the Copen two-door convertible. While 3D printing has been used on a small scale for race car parts in the past, these projects represent the industry’s first move into more mainstream auto manufacturing. Rise of 3D printing manufacturing The adoption of industrial 3D printing continues to grow, with global spending on printers reaching nearly $11 billion in 2015. Spending is predicted to rise to about $27 billion by 2019, according toInternational Data Corporation. About two-thirds of US manufacturers are currently adopting 3D printing in some way, an April PricewaterhouseCoopers report found—roughly the same number as did in 2014. However, 51% are using it for prototyping and final products, compared to...

HP and Jabil: A 3D printing partnership to revolutionize…

HP and Jabil: A 3D printing partnership to revolutionize…

Sep 2, 2016

“HP and Jabil: A 3D printing partnership to revolutionize manufacturing” Stephen Nigro, President 3D Printing HP Although you might not immediately recognize the name, Jabil Circuit Inc. is one of the largest and most operationally advanced design and manufacturing solution companies in the world. You probably use office electronics or carry a smartphone that was designed, manufactured and/or assembled by Jabil for one of its many brand-name customers. And, as a top Jabil executive told a crowd of over 80 industry analysts last week at the HP Industry Analyst Summit in Boston, they’re extremely excited to be among the first users of the HP Jet Fusion 3D Printing Solution, the world’s first production-ready 3D printing system. “We’ve been a partner with HP on a variety of manufacturing fronts for many years,” John Dulchinos, Jabil’s Vice President and General Manager of Global Automation and 3D Printing, told me on stage at IAS. “We have tremendous respect for HP’s innovation, technical prowess, and ability to deliver solutions. So when we first heard HP was coming to market with a 3D printer,” he said, “they kind of had us at hello.” The feeling is mutual. It’s fantastic working with Jabil. They’re a lot like HP, with strong corporate social responsibility values, a world-class supply chain, a great culture of innovation, and a clear vision of the future. Jabil has already adopted 3D printing in its quest to make factories that are more responsive, more flexible, and more adaptive to its customers’ needs. So, I asked John, why is Jabil so excited about our introduction of the HP Jet Fusion 3D printers and processing stations? I wanted the analysts who cover HP to hear his answers, of course, but I also want to share his enthusiasm with everyone who wasn’t in Boston. “Only HP’s Jet Fusion 3D printers offer the speed, quality, cost efficiencies and open innovation platform needed to disrupt a $12 trillion manufacturing industry in the next decade,” John stated. “When we look at other 3D solutions on the market today,” John said, “they’re not viable at scale, and not viable to be able to take products to market.” He cited HP’s three decades of expertise in inkjet printing, precision mechanics, materials...