Introducing the Industrialization of Additive Manufacturing

Introducing the Industrialization of Additive Manufacturing

Feb 14, 2019

By Phil Schultz, executive vice president of Operations at 3D Systems Featured on Manufacturing.net Manufacturers stand at a crossroads of two competing visions. They can either continue with traditional factory processes or they can embrace the challenge of Industry 4.0 and create physical products with a fully digital ecosystem. For those who embrace digital, the industrialization of additive manufacturing (AM) is key. Traditional factory processes have been fine-tuned over the years for process repeatability, part durability, efficient workflows, and low operational costs. These processes predate the digital revolution. Many times these processes also include high labor costs, significant up-front production costs, and safety issues. Today, new marketplace demands are pushing industry to increase speed and agility. Competitive pressures require shorter production cycles and fast product ecosystem evolution. The industrialization of additive manufacturing will allow companies to respond to these demands with digital speed and accuracy. Digital processes have an undeniable ability to drive down operational costs, especially when applied across all processes and not in a selective fashion. Key 3D printing technologies are ready to serve as the strategic backbone of industrial innovation. New materials, technologies, design solutions, and digital workflow processes are readying the factory floor to become the Digital Factory.  Additive manufacturing is disruptive by nature, impacting both supply chain and manufacturing processes. AM business analyst Dr. Wilderich Heising of Boston Consulting Group sees a shift taking place in AM. In prepared remarks at the Formnext Conference in Frankfurt in November 2018, Heising said process optimization in manufacturing is driving new speed capabilities in AM. He said the ability to increase build rate by up to five times at the same quality translates into a total reduction of machine cost per part by more than 50 percent. Such increases will mean break-even production costs can move to much higher volumes than available today. Manufacturers will invest in Digital Factory technology when they see it bringing a balance of innovation and ecosystem maturity. For some that means lowering labor costs and improving safety. To others it means the ability to create previous unbuildable parts and to rapidly move from one product design to another. For most manufacturers, printing in production volume will be the fundamental...

When Is 3D Printing Cost Effective?

When Is 3D Printing Cost Effective?

Oct 30, 2018

By Christina M. Fuges, Contributing Editor, Additive Manufacturing Hype continues to surround additive manufacturing. These three factors can help determine whether a part is worth 3D printing. Digging into metal additive manufacturing quickly reveals how expensive it can be, as some parts produced using incumbent technologies, such as laser sintering and binder jetting, can cost thousands of dollars. If there’s one lesson Matt Sand, President of 3DEO, a Los Angeles, California-based metal AM parts supplier, has learned over the last few years, it’s that cost is everything when it comes to serial production. “If you’re not in the ballpark on cost, you might as well not even play the game because there’s no way to get into production without being cost competitive with conventional manufacturing techniques,” Sand says. “If you are not cost competitive, you’re not at the table,” So, to get the total cost structure down, 3DEO developed an end-to-end manufacturing process around Intelligent Layering, a very low-cost metal additive manufacturing technology the company’s founders invented. Based on binder jetting technology, Intelligent Layering uses a proprietary spray system to bind the entire layer, and then uses a CNC end mill to cut the perimeter of the part and any internal features. (Read more about 3DEO’s technology and company strategy.) Although 3DEO’s Intelligent Layering process offers a new take on additive, the company’s differentiator is that “we are not trying to sell machines, we’re only selling parts,” Sand says. The competition for its additive process is not metal 3D printing; it’s traditional manufacturing. 3DEO is competing against CNC machining and metal injection molding and is already cost competitive with both of these technologies when it comes to small and complex metal parts, according to Sand. There are three key factors he considers in determining whether it will be cost-effective to 3D print a given part:  1. Part Size Is it bigger/smaller than a golf ball? One thing Sand has learned over the last few years is that as part size increases, the cost increases on an exponential curve. Smaller (golf ball-sized) parts manufactured traditionally are price competitive. However, as the part size starts to reach softball size and greater, the cost skyrockets. It’s not uncommon in laser sintering for very...

Report Highlights How the Manufacturing Landscape Is Set…

Report Highlights How the Manufacturing Landscape Is Set…

Sep 19, 2018

“Report Highlights How the Manufacturing Landscape Is Set for ‘The Next American Industrial Revolution’ “ By Quality Magazine OYSTER BAY, NY — The manufacturing landscape is about to change and change in a big way, announced ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm. The debate over if digitization will impact this market has passed, according to ABI Research. The key questions that should be asked by all involved in this market now are: When will these changes happen? What do I need to do to prepare for this? And finally, which horse do I bet on in terms of technological investment? ABI Research had seven analysts from its Industrial research group on-site at the IMTS 2018 (International Manufacturing Trade Show) conference in Chicago, and their observations have been compiled into four brief reads: “The Next American Industrial Revolution: Key Takeaways from IMTS 2018 and Hannover Messe USA.” There are several emerging technologies that look set to enable manufacturers in developing markets to remain competitive. Some noteworthy findings from the whitepaper include: Additive manufacturing is on the cusp of being able to demonstrate its applicability for scale deployment.  Generative design promises to reduce wastage, speed design processes, and revolutionize material usage. Virtualization, visualization, and digital twins are set to reduce machine downtime and machine commissioning time as well as improve the efficiency of all aspects of part and product manufacturing, from start to end. Cobots and autonomous material handling robots are set to enable a more efficient and zero touch environment that not only optimizes the shop floor but also extends beyond the line to both ends of the process in the warehouse and eventually into the logistics supply chain. AI (Artificial Intelligence), sensorization, connectivity, and IoT (Internet of Things) will be key to optimizing productivity. However, they are currently being held back by conservative attitudes toward data management and connecting machines. This will change as the market pressure mounts. “These technological advancements hold the promise of enabling a cleaner, more efficient, and relevant manufacturing sector for developed markets. The innovation outlined in the ‘The Next American Industrial Revolution’ paper will spill over into the supply chain, and the two market segments will be characterized by...

Desktop 3D Printer Offers Speed, Precision, Ability to Work in…

Desktop 3D Printer Offers Speed, Precision, Ability to Work in…

Jun 18, 2018

“Desktop 3D Printer Offers Speed, Precision, Ability to Work in Metal” Featured on D2PMagazine.com Airwolf 3D calls its newly released EVO a rugged ‘additive manufacturing center’ that is powered by an automotive-grade microcontroller FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif.—Airwolf 3D recently released EVO, its 5th generation 3D printer that is said to be so advanced that Airwolf calls it a desktop “Additive Manufacturing Center,” or AMC. “The EVO is completely new and it’s unlike anything out there,” said Airwolf 3D Co-Founder and CEO Erick Wolf, in a company release. “We took the technology that we perfected with our prosumer line of 3D printers and leveraged it to develop a machine that’s light years beyond anything else on the market. The EVO is faster, stronger, and more accurate than any desktop 3D printer—it delivers a premium 3D manufacturing experience at less than half the cost of machines that offer equivalent performance. Plus, it’s packed with new technology that dramatically changes the way we manufacture, including the ability to work in metals. The EVO far surpasses the capabilities of a traditional desktop 3D printer. It’s a true desktop Additive Manufacturing Center.” The EVO possesses Airwolf 3D’s signature suite of features—auto-leveling, large build size, high-temperature multi-material printing, and compatibility with water-soluble Hydrofill support material—but in an ultra-ruggedized unit that includes cutting-edge features available only from Airwolf 3D. Most notable among these is the industry-first PartSave™. Nicknamed “Zombie Mode,” PartSave solves one of the most frustrating problems with 3D printing. There are few things more disheartening than 3D printing a part for hours, only to have it fail completely if the printer stops because of a power outage or unplugging the machine. With PartSave, once power is restored, the machine resumes where it left off, enabling the part to finish. Another industry-first feature, the company said, is FailSafe™. If you run out of filament or experience a jam, FailSafe™ has you covered. Just place the print head at the height you left off and FailSafe will do the rest, restoring your print and completing the job with time to spare, according to Airwolf. The EVO also ships with a full-color 7–inch Matrix touchscreen display, new Tri-Heat™ Enclosed Build Environment, an oversized...

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...