The use of 3D printing for maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) will double “in the coming years,” according to a survey of 114 respondents, conducted by Dimensional Research and Essentium, a 3D printing platform. The survey did not specify a time frame for “in the coming years.”
The respondents see use cases for 3D printing in various types of prototyping and parts production. Benefits of the technology include reduced lead times, cost reduction, the ability for mass customization and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Despite respondents naming cost reduction as a benefit, the plurality reported cost as the biggest obstacle to adopting 3D printing at scale. 3D printing technology and materials are too expensive, according to more than one-third of respondents.
As additive manufacturing goes mainstream, supply chains are presented with tough decisions. Are the speed and flexibility worth the cost?
To produce brake calipers for its Chiron supercar, Bugatti embraced additive manufacturing, creating the largest titanium 3D printed component yet.
Because titanium is so strong, it’s impossible to use the same milling and forging technology used to form traditional aluminum calipers, Popular Science reported. Instead, the part is produced from 2,213 layers of titanium powder melted by lasers for over 45 hours and then heat-treated to 1,300 degrees. The part undergoes 11 hours of grinding to ensure each component meets exacting tolerances.
It lets aerospace engineers develop high-quality parts much faster than they could with traditional fabrication methods
July 2019 marked the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. While the world has seen incredible technological and scientific strides since then, the broader space industry has been in stealth mode—exploring what’s possible, and what’s next, for humankind in space.
In 2018, the space sector grew to an incredible $3.25 billion industry. A number of different technologies are driving this rapid growth, but the most promising one is industrial-grade 3D metal printing (a.k.a. metal additive manufacturing). Once met with skepticism, 3D metal printing has proven itself to be a cost-effective and efficient way to develop production-ready parts, making it the new darling of the commercial race to space.
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.
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.
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.
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 organisations in these respective industries utilising 3D printing for aspects such as making those parts/components that cannot be manufactured through conventional machining or laser processing techniques.
Interested in cutting-edge technology, mobile phone specialists Case24.com analysed findings from online 3D printing services provider Sculpteo, who surveyed 1,000 professionals (from a range of industries) to better understand how they are using 3D printing technology.
A key lesson learned talking with aerospace 3D printing companies at PAS 2019, that can be applied to all industrial segments
The Paris Air Show was a huge success for the largest aerospace players and for many innovative aerospace 3D printing companies. The aviation and space industries are rocketing toward booming growth with no slow down anywhere on the horizon. While additive manufacturing is still just a tiny – to use a euphemism – segment of aerospace manufacturing, all leading companies in aerospace are very much invested in developing it. The reason may be found in one of the largest deals ever closed during the show: the $55 billion in orders that CFM – a joint venture between GE and Safran – received for its LEAP engine. The LEAP engine is super efficient and is enabling a new generation of single-aisle jets – such as the Airbus321neo flown by French operator Le Compagnie in its new all-business flights – to make trips across the Atlantic on a single tank of fuel.
Last April, for instance, a LEAP-engine-powered Airbus A321neo LR loaded with 162 dummy passengers and 16 crew completed a test flight from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, to the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean that lasted 11 hours and covered 5,466 miles. It was the longest distance flight in the certification process of the A321neo. At the Paris Air Show Airbus formally unveiled a new long-range A321neo, officially designated the A321XLR, which will become available from 2023. The twinjet will have a maximum take-off weight of 101t and a range of 4,700nm compared with the 4,000nm of the current 97t long-range A321LR variant. GE and most operators expect that these efficient single-aisle aircraft will make up the bulk of order for the foreseeable future.
The Dutch brewing company is utilising the power of 3D print at its manufacturing site in Spain.
Despite still being in the early stages of its use, Heineken has seen increased productivity and a reduction in production costs by using 3D printing technology to create tools and parts on-demand.
Using a set of Ultimaker S5 printers, engineers at the site in Seville can design and print safety devices, tools and parts on-demand, taking away the need to outsource to external vendors.
“We’re still in the first stages of 3D printing, but we’ve already seen a reduction of costs in the applications that we found by 70-90% and also a decrease of delivery time of these applications of 70-90%,” says Isabelle Haenen, global supply chain procurement at Heineken.
Valeria Tirelli highlights evident benefits in optimized hydraulic manifolds
Northern Italy-based Aidro Hydraulics & 3D Printing is part of a Joint Innovation Programs (JIPs) focused on 3D printing of functional production parts for the Oil, Gas and Maritime industries. Participating companies in the project include giants such as Equinor, BP, Total, Rolls Royce Marine, TechnipFMC, Vallourec. Members include companies specialized in additive manufacturing such as Aidro, SLM Solutions, Additive Industries, Voestalpine, OCAS, Ivaldi Group, Quintus, HIPtec, University of Strathclyde and Siemens.
Aidro contributes to the JIPs with its technical expertise as a valve manufacturer and as a first adopter of metal additive manufacturing. Aidro’s CEO, Valeria Tirelli, established an internal department dedicated to the design and production with laser PBF systems. The technical experience acquired by Aidro in AM, certified AS/EN9100, enables Aidro to be taken as a model to be compared with the requirements of the guidelines. 3D Printing Media Network spoke with Valeria Tirelli to learn how AM is changing the oil and gas segment for the better.
Peacekeeping missions often take place at remote locations, requiring the army to have a large supply of spare parts on site to keep everything running. Dutch researcher Bram Westerweel comes to the conclusion that taking a 3D printer on a mission to print parts can save hundreds of thousands of euros and, at the same time, reduce the downtime of defense equipment. The savings on operational costs sometimes total more than half. The findings of Westerweel, who received his Ph.D. yesterday, can also be applied to industries with remote locations, such as the offshore industry.
Quick return on investment
The army’s systems have many thousands of types of spare parts. Based on his research, Westerweel expects that a total of 10-20 percent of the components of the armed forces can be made by additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. The total savings by 3D printing on relatively large peacekeeping missions like the ones in Mali and Sudan, could then run up to hundreds of thousands. The printer itself costs a one-off €25,000, making for a quick return on investment. The Dutch army is already experimenting with such a printer in Mali.