Aalto University develops 3D printing database to help conventional manufacturing make the switch

EIT Digital, a digital innovation, education community and accelerator of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), has supported the creation of a 3D printing database. Developed to help manufacturers identify potential time and cost savings, the directory aims to encourage more businesses to switch to 3D printing instead of conventional methods.

Aalto University Finland created the database, which will be rolled out as a plugin for 3D data expert software from industrial partner DeskArtes, also based in Finland. Leading manufacturing company and 3D software developer Siemens created knowledge graphs for the system, ensuring logical links between all collected data.

The Big Data behind 3D printing

When developing under Industry 4.0, conventional manufacturing businesses are challenged with rethinking the way things are done. For 3D printing’s part in this, many stakeholders are rising to the aid of these businesses at a peak point of transition.

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3D Printing: What is it good for?

Will 3D printing encourage companies to move to decentralized manufacturing or stick with centralized manufacturing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), could be a game-changer for manufacturing, enabling significant savings of cost, time, and materials. In traditional manufacturing, parts are made in large quantities at centralized factories, then shipped to consumers. But with the growth of 3D printing, many wonder if technology will cause a shift from this centralized model to a more distributed model, in which facilities in different locations coordinate to fill manufacturing needs.

3D printer and question marks

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Engineering and Public Policy Dept. (EPP) and the University of Lisbon investigated how 3D printing could contribute to distributed manufacturing. They examined whether 3D printing will disrupt this central model, specifically in the context of spare parts for the aerospace industry, where being able to quickly print parts instead of stockpiling them would be attractive.

“Our results suggest that 3D printing may not be as conducive to distributed manufacturing as some might hope,” says Parth Vaishnav, a research professor in EPP. He and his team believe 3D printing is more suitable for non-critical parts that do not need to be expensively processed after emerging from the printers.

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What are the benefits of 3D printing technology?

Professionals are most commonly using 3D printing technology for prototyping prospective products/parts/components

One of the fastest-growing developments in the world of technology has been that of 3D printing. It is the process of depositing successive layers of material (e.g. plastic, metal, wax etc.) in a 3D printer, to create a physical object envisioned from a digital model.

3D printing technology has already been heavily adopted in industries like aerospace, automotive and industrial goods. With organizations in these respective industries utilizing 3D printing for aspects such as making those parts/components that cannot be manufactured through conventional machining or laser processing techniques. 

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3D printing boom stirs legal questions

Though full of possibilities, 3D printing also raises many legal, ethical and practical concerns.

This is according to analysts and legal experts, as manufacturing industries, healthcare providers and supply chains accelerate their practical uses of 3D printing.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a technique that uses a device to create physical objects from digital models.

The output can be a prototype, tooling, jig, fixture or finished good. 3D printing consists of seven manufacturing technologies to produce items from a wide range of plastic, ceramic, glass, metal and biomaterials. The range of 3D-printable materials has grown significantly, making the technology appealing to a wider array of organisations.

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Who will make the most automotive AM end-use parts and where?

SmarTech Analysis just released a new report on automotive additive manufacturing. This new edition follows the report published compiled last year, however, this is not just a new and updated edition. It is an entirely new report, which, for the first time, moves entirely away from AM for prototypes to focus exclusively on automotive AM end-use parts production, which is now fully within reach and is going to enable additive manufacturing to finally scale up.

The term “end-use parts” is used in the report to indicate both final automotive parts and tools (and tools include molds, dies, jigs and fixtures as well as custom assembly tools) used in the automotive production process.

The depth of automotive AM end-use parts

In order to provide new and more detailed information in its forecasts, the report leverages data from SmarTech’s unique and industry-leading database and dissects into more segments. These include two key areas: one is geographic, with country-specific forecasts. The other is relative to the supply chain, trying to answer the question that most automakers are asking themselves: where is the money coming from (that will drive AM adoption in the automotive industry)?

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Jabil survey identifies changing perceptions of 3D printing among manufacturers

Supply-chain solutions provider Jabil has released a survey that shows manufacturers are more inclined to use 3D printing today than they were about a year ago and that the technology is being used more often in production applications.

The survey, “Current State of Additive Materials and 3D Printing,” asked 308 individuals responsible for 3D printing at manufacturing companies a series of questions pertaining to their current and anticipated use of additive manufacturing (AM). The responses, gathered at the beginning of 2019, were then compared to responses to the same questions asked in the fall of 2017.

“Over the course of a year, 3D printing utilization has skyrocketed,” says the report. “Our most recent research clearly demonstrates the upward trajectory of the popularity and application of additive manufacturing.”

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3D printing adds up

3D printing continues to displace traditional manufacturing methods

Computer 3D printing (3DP) is being widely adopted in high-volume industrial sectors such as aerospace, automotive, healthcare and defense. Universities and other educational institutions also have incorporated 3DP into their technical training programs.

“3DP addresses the issues of cost, weight and reliability,” says Debbie Naguy, chief of the Product Support Engineering Division at the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center in Dayton, Ohio. “It is prevalent everywhere, from aviation to automotive.”

3D printing is also called additive manufacturing (AM). Traditional manufacturing starts with a slab of material and eliminates whatever is unnecessary to form an object, creating waste that carries financial and environmental consequences. Additive manufacturing, by contrast, layers powdered alloys to build a three-dimensional object. The improved accuracy, enhanced product design and shorter time to market demonstrably lower costs. Leftover material can be reused. AM requires design to be done on computers, so it can be uploaded to the 3D printers.

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3D metal printer to shorten military supply chain

In an attempt to shorten the U.S. military’s supply chain, the United States Army Research Laboratory has awarded a $15 million contract to 3D systems to develop a metal printing 3D printer.

The company will team up with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) to develop the “largest, fastest, most precise metal 3D printer.”

3d metal printer

The intent is to add capabilities to military supply chains developing and manufacturing combat vehicles, helicopters, missile defense capabilities, long rang munitions, and more.

The project is a part of the United States Army’s Additive Manufacturing Implementation Plan that uses 3D printing technologies to refurbish and create military parts and tools.

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Brazil ruling on tax treatment of 3D printing could have global implications

3D printing classified as a manufacturing process means some retailers are liable for IPI excise tax

The International Tax Review reports that a tax ruling issued by the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service on whether 3D printing should be classified as a manufacturing process for a business could mean retailers are liable for excise taxes. These are indirect taxes on the sale of a particular good or service such as fuel, tobacco and alcohol. Indirect means the tax is not directly paid by an individual consumer — instead, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levies the tax on the producer or merchant, who passes it onto the consumer by including it in the product’s price.

The growth of the digital economy is the result of transformative processes brought about by information and communication technology (ICT) and is changing business models. This is very important from a tax perspective. and can have implications all over the world. In fact, Because of this, the OECD issued BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Action 1, which deals with the tax challenges of the digital economy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) promotes policies that seek to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

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A glimpse of 3D

3D printing of food is turning from pipe dream into commercial reality, as nutrition supplements firm Nourish3d is about to prove.

Nourishe3d founder Melissa Snover shares her dream for personalised nutrition using 3D printing

While the idea of 3D printed food might still seem in the realms of a sci-fi novel, the technology s very much present and already being deployed by, in particular, baking industry professionals for cake or pastry decoration.

At present, the technology is limited and relatively expensive, with the lowest cost of a 3D printer being around $1,000 (£784). Using extrusion, current 3D printers can only handle paste or puree ingredients, such as chocolate, cream or batter. However, the technology is beginning to gain traction, with users understanding how it can help to meet changing demands from consumers.

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