3D printing will enable companies to manufacture in new ways

The latest 3D printing platforms with combined hardware, software and materials will help companies respond quickly to market demands, unfolding new innovative ways of production. We explored the edges of 3D printing with Blake Teipel, CEO of Essentium

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Blake Teipel, Ph.D., CEO and Co-founder of Essentium

B. Teipel: We are focused on transforming the future of factory floors by accelerating the potential of industrial-scale Additive Manufacturing (AM).  As innovators in both materials and production platforms, our vision is to transform traditional manufacturing processes by bringing strength and speed together, at scale, with a no-compromise material set. By developing an entire system, our goal is to reinvent the financial aspect of industrial 3D printing to make it more accessible to a wider range of manufacturers. We are committed to advancing AM capabilities and creating a global, open ecosystem that puts customers in control of their innovation.

In the past, AM has been seen as a prototype, one-off, custom, jig or fixturing solution, not a production solution. That creates a gap between innovation and scale that clearly needs to be filled for AM to fulfil its huge potential. The Essentium High Speed Extrusion (HSETM) 3D Printing Platform enables the ability to scale by delivering speed, or time to part and by delivering value, or better cost per part. 

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Startup’s Copper 3D-Printing Breakthrough Could Cut Costs for EV Parts

Markforged, a startup manufacturer of metal and carbon fiber 3D printers, announced earlier this month what it calls the only reliable, affordable, and safe way to 3D print copper. For the company’s Metal X system — a patented platform that rapidly prints 3D metal — pure copper has been added as the latest metal to join its lineup of materials that include aerospace superalloys like Inconel 625, 17-4 PH stainless steel, H13 tool steel, D2 tool steel, and A2 tool steel.

Copper 3D printing.

Founded in 2013 in Watertown, Massachusetts, Markforged said 3D printing copper parts on-demand will drive new manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies for customers — leading to reduced lead times and part costs, as well as eliminating the need for costly inventory. Now with copper capabilities, the company said using the Metal X provides an easy and fast way to produce geometrically complex copper with high electrical and thermal conductivity.

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Siemens Mobility further invests in Stratasys 3D printers for 30 year rail maintenance project

Having previously utilized Stratasys’ 3D printing systems to fabricate spare parts for the German and UK rail industries, Siemens Mobility Services has increased its investment in Stratasys’ 3D printing technology to expand its rail maintenance operation in Russia.

RZD high-speed Sapsan train fleet. Photo via Stratasys.

Two new industrial-grade Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D printers will be used for spare part production to support the 13 additional high-speed Velaro trains Siemens Mobility will be building for Russian train company RZD.

The 30 year maintenance project

The 13 new trains will be added to an existing fleet of 16, with a 30 year agreement to maintain and service the trains also in the deal. This third Velaro order from RZD will bring the total number of high-speed trains to 29.

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3D printing solution to support 30-year digital rail maintenance

Having successfully implemented Stratasys‘ 3D printing to produce parts for the German and UK rail industries, Siemens Mobility Services has continued its investment in Stratasys technology to support the expansion of its rail maintenance operations in Russia. This includes two new industrial-grade Stratasys Fortus 450mc 3D Printers for part production. 

The decision comes in line with a recent business win for Siemens Mobility to build 13 additional high-speed Velaro trains for Russian train company, RZD, including an agreement to maintain and service the trains for the next 30 years. This is already the third Velaro order from RZD for Sapsan fleet due to excellent availability of Sapsan trains in daily operation, supplementing an existing fleet of 16 trains. For further information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing Materials 2019-2029: Technology and Market Analysis.

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Merck partners with tech firm AMCM on tablet 3D printing

Merck KGaA has partnered with German tech company AMCM to carry out clinical testing on tablets manufactured using 3D printing.

The collaboration – which could be a “massive move towards digitalization of the industry,” according to Merck’s chief strategy officer Isabel de Paoli – will focus initially on formulation development and production of 3D printed tablets for clinical trials.

Merck partners with tech firm AMCM on tablet 3D printing

Merck and AMCM – part of the metal and polymer 3D printing specialist EOS group – are working on the development of a prototype tablet printer that they hope will be ready for testing later this year.

3D printing has already reached the commercial stage in pharma, after Aprecia Pharmaceuticals claimed FDA approval for its epilepsy therapy Spritam (levetiracetam) in 2015.

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Bringing 3D printed medical models to life

Scott Drikakis, healthcare segment leader – Americas, Stratasys, explores how 3D printing could enable medical device manufacturers to overcome current limitations, improve clinical validation, and change the game of medical device testing.

The use of 3D printing in healthcare is not a new phenomenon. Those who keenly pay attention to technology developments within the sector will be unsurprised to hear of its use. In recent years, Stratasys has worked with customers across the world to improve patient care and communication, accelerate clinical validation and increase innovation. In Europe, hospitals such as CHU Bordeaux and Guy’s and St Thomas’ have utilized the very latest in advanced, multi-material 3D printing to create patient-specific 3D medical models to help plan complex procedures. Equally, customers such as Nidek Technologies have been able to dramatically accelerate clinical trials when incorporating 3D printing into the device testing process.

Stratasys.jpg

Despite these incredible advances, 3D printing has had its limitations in terms of organ realism and biomechanical functionality and, to date, has not offered a testing method which covers all problem areas. This means that many medical device manufacturers are still also reliant on traditional testing methods. These predominantly involve the use of human cadavers, animals or virtual modeling. However, as with the current 3D printing solutions available, each of these methods comes with their own distinct limitations. These can range from ethical concerns to lengthy and costly development processes. As a result, medical institutions are continuing to push for technological advancements to overcome such issues. To help make this a realization, it is essential to create a solution that can directly target the specific drawbacks that each of the traditional methods of testing have, as well as overcome the current limitations of 3D printing itself. The recently launched J750 Digital Anatomy 3D printer claims to address all of these issues. Through using advanced new materials and software, this printer can replicate the actual feel, responsiveness and biomechanics of human anatomy.

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3D Printing and the Supply Chain

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has been around in one shape or form for a while. The process essentially entails building a three-dimensional object from computer-aided design (CAD) to add material layer by layer until a final product is complete. The use cases for 3D printing cover most anything you can imagine. In fact, recently, while on a weekend ski trip with friends, my buddy John was riding the chairlift with two women from France who worked for a company that specialized in 3D printing human organs. However, these 3D printed organs were not meant to be used for transplants. Instead, these 3D printed organs were used as replicas of human organs to practice complex surgeries.

3D printing

This conversation got me thinking about the pros and cons of 3D printing, and how as supply chain professionals, it fits into our everyday lives. In the grand scheme of things, 3D printing’s effect on the supply chain can be summarized as the following: warehouses no longer need to keep as many parts in stock. The rationale is that the parts can simply be printed on an as-needed basis. Along these lines of thinking, this would seem to be especially true for the replacement parts industry. However, does this actually make sense and is it a soon-to-be reality?

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Pratt & Whitney 3D prints aero-engine MRO component with ST Engineering

“3D printing will be a game-changer for the MRO industry worldwide.”

Pratt & Whitney is set to introduce a 3D printed aero-engine component into its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations by mid-2020 after a successful collaboration with ST Engineering.

ST Engineering MRO

The two companies came together to leverage 3D printing technology to facilitate faster and more flexible repair solutions, with contributions also coming from Pratt & Whitney’s repair specialist Component Aerospace Singapore.

Component Aerospace Singapore provides engine part repair for combustion chambers, fuel systems and manifolds; ST Engineering boasts ‘production-level 3D capabilities’ and experience applying 3D printing in land transport systems; and Pratt & Whitney is a specialist in design and engineering.

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100 3D printing experts predict the future of 3D printing in 2030

3D Printing Industry asked 100 additive manufacturing leaders to identify how 3D printing will develop during the next ten years. In our article last week, we took a look at the near term trends in 3D printing to watch for 2020. This new article draws on insights from additive manufacturing experts across the globe to understand where our industry is heading.

Will AM herald the disruption of manufacturing as we know it? While major change is likely to be slow, with this longer time horizon, it may be useful to consider the role of governments in supporting new industries.

Trade-technology tensions persist, as do developments around export controls  – specifically the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security’s proposed rules around Additive Manufacturing Equipment for “Energetic Materials”.

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Technology outlook 2030: opportunities and threats for shipping

Digitalisation technologies will transform maritime industries on a global scale over this decade in positive and negative ways

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DNV GL suggests a surge in 3D printing adoption and technology development could reduce demand for seaborne trade in its Technology Outlook 2030.

IoT technology will enable shipping to link with supply chains

In a future supply chain, files could be sent via printing platforms instead of spare parts for printing locally. This could be potentially disruptive for supply chain participants, such as shipping companies and tax authorities.

Upsides could include shortened lead times, lifecycle and working capital cost reductions and a lower carbon footprint due to less transportation.

DNV GL forecasts that perhaps up to 85% of spare part suppliers may have incorporated 3D printing by 2030, leading to a 10% reduction in seaborne trade of semi-manufactured parts in 2040.

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