Additive manufacturing (AM) pioneer Charles Hull introduced the first commercial 3D printer, the SLA-1, in 1987. Jaws dropped, machinists wondered about their next career, pundits said it spelled the death of traditional manufacturing. None of that happened, thankfully; in fact, some said 3D printing was a bunch of hype, good for little more than investment casting patterns and proof of concept prototypes.
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AS A TEAM OF FOUR MANUFACTURING engineering undergraduate students from Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA), we had our minds blown within seconds of walking onto the RAPID + TCT show floor when we attended the event, April 23-26, in Fort Worth, TX.
When the Italian company JDeal-Form (Oleggio, Italy) started using additive manufacturing to apply a micronized polymer coating to the underwire tips and bra straps it sold to brassiere makers, CTO Davide Ardizzoia grew frustrated with his AM vendor’s constant lateness.
In the near absence of academic programs to teach undergraduate engineering students additive manufacturing, a California-based startup has stepped in to help fill the void through internships.
A fused filament 3D printer has saved a custom outdoor lighting manufacturer tens of thousands of dollars a year, improving operations and winning more business. The purchase also helped retain customers who would previously have gone elsewhere for specialized parts.
Additive manufacturing holds potential for many possible new frontiers in the aerospace industry, and manufacturers in aviation and space flight are reaching for those new vistas. But they’re held back at less than warp speed due to a lack of awareness, unmet technological needs and the absence of a formal regulatory process in their highly regulated industry.
In a recent LNS Research study on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Digital Transformation, the top two challenges facing the adoption of IIoT technology are finding the budget to invest (32% of respondents) and building the business case (30% of respondents).
The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) (Ann Arbor, MI) and Moog Inc. (East Aurora, NY) have signed a contract to perform co-funded work in support of applying Moog’s VeriPart solution, adapting blockchain technology for additive manufacturing.
The aerospace and defense industries see 3D printing as important to making new designs practical and for holding the line on costs, a Lockheed Martin executive said today at SME’s RAPID + TCT.
Moldmakers are under constant pressure to speed up the moldmaking process, improving their processes and product quality while boosting productivity.