Ford, HP turn 3D printing waste into parts

Ford and HP are looking to make 3D printing technology more sustainable. The giants of industry are teaming up to reuse spent 3D printing parts and powders for vehicle parts, minimizing waste in the process.

a fuel-line clip for the Ford F-250 made in collaboration with HP using 3D printing waste

Ford and HP are testing the process by making injection-molded fuel-line clips for the Ford F-250 Super Duty. According to Ford, the recycled parts are lighter, less expensive, and more resistant that conventional fuel-line clips. Because the project has panned out successfully so far, Ford is looking to bring its innovation to as many as 10 new vehicles.

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3D printing can play pivotal role in fueling EV growth

The push toward going all-in on EVs creates a natural pivot point to leverage industrial 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.

In the past year, we’ve seen a drastic shift across the automotive industry and among consumers with a growing appetite for electric vehicles.

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General Motors, Ford and other OEMs have made recent announcements signaling they’re pursuing EVs more heavily. President Biden signed an executive order requiring the replacement of the entire fleet of federal vehicles, about 645,000 cars, trucks, and vans, with U.S.-made electrics.

This push toward going all-in on EVs creates a natural pivot point to leverage industrial 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM). Here’s why:

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Dynamic platform cuts 3D printing waste by 35%

A dynamically controlled surface with moving metal platforms can cut material usage in 3D printing by reducing the need for “wasteful” printed supports, its developers have said.

The dynamically controlled surfaces (a) reduce the need for printed supports (b) to cut waste material (Credit: Yong Chen)

Printing times could also be shortened thanks to the new technique, said the researchers from the University of Southern California (USC).

As conventional 3D printers create custom objects layer-by-layer, they often need to print supports to balance the product. These supports are manually removed after printing, which requires finishing by hand and can result in shape inaccuracies or surface roughness. The materials the supports are made from often cannot be reused, so they are discarded and contribute to the growing problem of 3D-printed waste material.

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Ultimaker study suggests COVID-19 increased worldwide 3D printing adoption

Ultimaker has released its 2021 3D Printing Sentiment Index (3DPSI), showing that awareness and adoption of 3D printing went up during 2020, and that companies used it in a more integrated way. While the study doesn’t delve into the reasons behind these developments, Ultimaker anecdotally linked them to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and a disrupted global supply chain.

The 3DPSI covers three broad categories: sentiment, awareness, and adoption. Awareness covers how much people know about 3D printing, sentiment covers whether people feel 3D printing is or will be useful, and adoption covers how much people are already using it at their workplaces.

This year’s 3DPSI was conducted online by independent research firm Savanta in December 2020. It polled 2,525 professionals across diverse fields like healthcare, manufacturing, architecture and education. These professionals came from twelve “key markets” across the world: the US, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Both South Korea and Australia were new this year. 

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Watch a Robot 3D Printing the Rocket for Relativity Space’s First Orbital Launch

relativity space 3d printed rocket green laser metal

Relativity Space has the audacious goal of 3D printing 95 percent of a rocket and sending it to orbit. Getting to space is hard. But completely reinventing how rockets are manufactured at the same time? Harder. Six-year-old upstart Relativity may nail both by the end of this year.

After several years designing, building, and testing their Terran 1 rocket, they’re nearly ready to roll. This week the company gave Ars Technica a progress report—and included a pretty visual.

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DNV GL releases new 3D printing service specification for the Oil & Gas industry

DNV GL, a global certification and risk management firm, has released a new 3D printing service specification document aimed at supporting additive manufacturing in the oil and gas industry.

Surveyors on a shipbuilding project. Photo via DNV GL

Specification DNVGL-SE-0568 defines DNV’s additive manufacturing qualification scheme and provides details on how to obtain and retain a number of the company’s 3D printing-related certificates. This includes certificates that endorse facilities and digital manufacturing services, and certificates that qualify manufacturers, build processes, 3D printers, parts, and personnel.

The document was developed in accordance with industry standard DNVGL-ST-B203, which DNV previously created for metallic components in the energy sector. As such, the specification is ultimately intended to help the industry in adopting metal 3D printing in a safe and efficient manner.

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Ford and HP reuse spent 3D printed powders and parts

Ford Desktop Metal

Ford teamed up with HP to reuse spent 3D printed powders and parts, thus closing a supply chain loop and turning them into injection-molded vehicle parts. The recycled materials are being used to manufacture injection-molded fuel-line clips installed first on Super Duty F-250 trucks.  The parts have better chemical and moisture resistance than conventional versions, are 7% lighter and cost 10% less. The Ford research team has identified 10 other fuel-line clips on existing vehicles that could benefit from this innovative use of material and are migrating it to future models.

Sustainability is a priority for both companies, which, through joint exploration, led to this unlikely, earth-friendly solution. The resulting injection-molded parts are better for the environment with no compromise in the durability and quality standards Ford and its customers demand.

“Finding new ways to work with sustainable materials, reducing waste and leading the development of the circular economy are passions at Ford,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford technical fellow, Sustainability.

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Naval 3D Printing grows with DNV verification of 3D printed crane

The maritime sector is one of the more overlooked segments in 3D printing, with only a handful of companies really taking advantage of the opportunities there. A new business involved in 3D printing for naval uses has made itself known, Austal Australia, who, along with its partners, AML3D (ASX:AML) and Western Australia’s Curtin University, has 3D printed an aluminum personnel recovery davit. The device has been verified by DNV, the world’s largest classification society at its Global Additive Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence in Singapore.

According to international and naval specifications, Austal, AML3D and Curtin University produced a three-meter-long crane, also known as a davit, designed for personnel recovery. The assembly was then tested to support over two times its intended working load. This was followed by non-destructive and destructive testing. The testing process included microanalysis of the microstructure of the aluminum parts, with mechanical and corrosion properties compared to those of traditional marine grade materials.

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3D printing industry responds to the opportunity of new Right to Repair EU laws

Companies that sell consumer electronic goods in the European Union (EU) will be obliged to ensure they can be repaired for up to a decade, as a result of new Right to Repair legislation passed by the European Parliament.

Dishwasher Float printed in MJF / PA12. Photo via Spare Parts 3D.

3D Printing Industry asked EOS, Spare Parts 3D, DiManEx, Ricoh 3D and Link3D for their thoughts on how 3D printed spare parts could help consumer appliance manufacturers adhere to the legislation, while avoiding large physical stocks of replacement parts and subsequent incurring costs.

From summer 2021, the new EU Ecodesign and Energy Labelling regulation will give consumers the ‘right to repair’ on the goods they buy, meaning manufacturers will be legally required to make spare parts for products available to consumers for up to 10 years. The goods in question include refrigerators, dishwashers, hairdryers, lights, TVs, and so on, although appliances such as phones and laptops are not covered by the new laws.

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3D Printing & Supply Chain Transformation in 2021

With new capacities, faster speeds, digitalized inventory, and innovative materials, additive manufacturing is moving inventory closer to the customer and forever changing global supply chains.

Image of 3D Printing & Supply Chain Transformation: What We Learned in 2020

A new year brings great promise for inspiration and change. We need both of these ideas to move forward in 2021. Our 3D printing community came to the rescue during 2020 to keep our healthcare workers safe dealing with parts of a broken supply chain. The question now becomes: How do we take these lessons and move forward? Let’s talk about:

  • What we learned about 3D printing’s role in the supply chain in 2020
  • How 3D printing will evolve in 2021
  • The impact of 3D printing on supply chains in 2021 and beyond

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