Beginning in 2022, NASA will place unmanned Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit, followed by crewed landings, construction of lunar habitats and supporting infrastructure, and ultimately, preparation for a visit to Mars.
Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, is one of the technologies that enables such ambitious plans. “As with any complex endeavour, the more affordable you can make it, the greater the chance that you will ensure its completion, and the Moon is no different,” said James Horton, Aerospace Engineer and Mission Architect at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “Metal AM plays a key role in achieving these goals.”
The US Air Force (USAF) has invested in a 3D printer capable of producing spare parts for its Strategic Automated Command Control System (SACCS).
When a supplier stopped manufacturing a red fault indicator lens cap to cover the lights on the SACCS system, the USAF purchased a 3D printer to manufacture its own replacement. By leveraging the technology to produce the first cap, the USAF recovered the cost of the printer and scanner and saved more than $4,000.
“This strategy is saving the Department of Defense thousands of dollars each time the part fails,” said Col. Brian Golden, National Airborne Operations Center and 595th Command and Control Group Commander.
Czech industrial automation specialist ICE Industrial Services has announced plans to begin using in-house-developed technology to begin rebuilding parts of war-torn Ukraine.
Composed of a novel concrete-depositing printhead, that can be suspended from either a robotic arm or gantry, the firm’s system is said to enable the 3D printing of structures with uniquely robust nature-inspired designs.
Speaking to 3D Printing Industry, the company’s CEO Tomáš Vránek has now revealed that it intends to deploy this technology to rebuild military barriers and checkpoints across the country, with the aim of protecting Ukrainian soldiers.
CEO sees remote manufacturing and transporting of products becoming obsolete
With all the technological change driving the transportation industry, Brad Jacobs told a virtual audience of The Economic Club of New York that 3D printing was likely to disrupt transportation more than anything else.
The XPO (NYSE: XPO) CEO and founder of numerous companies said 3D printing is “the main long-term technology driver that is going to affect our industry.”
Jacobs conceded that 3D printing is taking awhile to gain traction in manufacturing. “But it’s going to happen,” he said, calling the number of potential applications for 3D printing “quite substantial.”
When it does, it is going to make a significant amount of manufacturing local. And that’s a big shift.
Project DIAMOnD (Distributed, Independent, Agile Manufacturing On-Demand) has joined the growing number of organizations which have committed to 3D printing aid for those Ukrainians injured by Russian troops.
With Ukraine still under siege by Russian forces, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has called for wound-bandaging tourniquets to be shipped into the country, triggering initiatives across the 3D printing industry. Now Automation Alley’s Project DIAMOnD has added to these efforts, by mobilizing every 3D printer in its network to create tourniquet clips, which it plans to ship to Makershelp for assembly.
A recent webinar sponsored by Formlabs underscored the value of 3D printing from a clinical perspective and offered insight on how commercial and regulatory players are thinking about this space.
The adoption of 3D printing labs by hospitals and health systems in the past few years has been a growing trend. A recent webinar sponsored by Formlabs and moderated by Gaurav Manchanda, director of medical market development at Formlabs, underscored the technology’s value from clinical, commercial and regulatory perspectives.
Northwell Health’s director of 3D Design and Innovation with the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Todd Goldstein, offered up his personal experience of the value of 3D printing tech during the pandemic from a patient and provider perspective.
Thousands of years ago, the blacksmith led a technological leap in sub-Saharan Africa. West Africa’s Nok culture, for example, switched from using stone tools to iron around 1500BC. Imagine an innovative artisan like this re-emerging in the 21st century equipped with digital technologies.
This is not Wakanda science fiction. It is the story of a real promise that 3D printing holds for an industrial revolution on the African continent.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a fabrication process in which a three-dimensional object is built (printed) by adding layer upon layer of materials to a series of shapes. The material can be metal, alloys, plastics or concrete. The market size of 3D printing was valued at US$13.78 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow at an annual rate of 21% to a value of US$62.79 billion in 2028.
US propulsion system manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne has optimized a key component of its Reaction Control System (RCS) quad thruster using additive manufacturing and nTopology’s engineering software.
Aerojet Rocketdyne’s new space engine part is now 67 percent lighter while also reducing the overall production cost of the thruster by 66 percent to enable faster and more sustainable lunar exploration.
“If we leverage the advantages that we made over the last decade in engineering software and manufacturing hardware, we can build critical subsystems at fractions of the traditional cost while improving on the performance of heritage designs,” said James Horton, Mission Architect at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
How 3D printing can help mitigate PPE supply shortages in future pandemics.
Some of the most indelible images of the early pandemic were of the personal protective equipment (PPE) crisis in our hospitals — photos of doctors and nurses wearing repurposed garbage bags, swim goggles, and snorkeling masks as the supply of PPE dwindled in the face of Covid-19’s assault.
Those images underscored just how unprepared we were to deal with a fast-moving pandemic. US hospitals relied heavily on overseas suppliers, especially in China, for PPE, and there are no regulations requiring hospitals or states to keep a certain level of stock in case of a crisis. Most didn’t; US health care operates under tight financial pressures, and just-in-time sourcing is — in normal times — more cost-effective. The result was a supply crunch that hampered our response against the pandemic.
Johnson & Johnson’s orthopaedics company Depuy Synthes has harnessed 3D printing technology to develop one of its new ATTUNE Knee products.
The ATTUNE knee portfolio consists of implants and components that support knee restoration, addressing a supposed 20% of Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) patients who report difficulties completing activities like kneeling and getting in and out of a car.
DePuy’s ATTUNE Cementless Fixed Bearing Knee with AFFIXIUM 3DP Technology is the first product within this portfolio to lean on 3D printing. With 3D printing technology, DePuy has been able to create a three-dimensional lattice structure which generates a similar porosity to natural bone for advanced biological fixation and helps to enhance initial implant stability.