The U.S. Navy recently installed its first 3D printer aboard one of its vessels in a program designed to test the capabilities of the technology and its potential contribution to enhancing maintenance aboard active duty vessels. The Navy joins with the commercial shipping industry which has also been looking at the capabilities of 3D printing and tested the first parts for ships made with the technology.
The 3D printing system was recently placed aboard the USS Essex, a Wasp-class Landing Helicopter Dock currently based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Commissioned in 1992, the amphibious assault ship is testing the technology while it is currently participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 training exercise.
“Having this printer aboard will essentially accelerate, enhance, and increase our warfighting readiness,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nicolas Batista, the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) officer aboard the Essex. “The capabilities of the 3D printer will enable Essex to become more self-sufficient.”
Alstom, a France-based rolling stock manufacturer, has begun using Replique’s on-demand 3D printing services for its industrial series production applications.
The firm has chosen to digitize a portion of its supply chain, citing manufacturing flexibility, shorter lead times, and lower costs as primary factors for the decision. With help from Replique, Alstom can produce small batches of metal components for its trains in a decentralized manner, enabling the firm to better address the local needs of clients worldwide.
Leveraging the recent partnership, Alstom has already received and installed its first set of visible 3D printed train parts: door stoppers made of stainless steel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new 3D printing technique developed at UCL could lead to precise doses of personalised medicine being produced in a range of settings.
According to UCL, the method could make it easier for personalised medicine to be prepared in clinics, remote areas or even in patients’ homes. The team’s findings have been published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics.
Lead author, PhD researcher Xiaoyan Xu, UCL School of Pharmacy said: “This novel system would help people who need precise dosages that differ from how a medication is typically sold, as well as people whose required dosage may change regularly.
Agemaspark has developed a new technique for 3D metal printing that reduces the energy required to produce mould tools.
The conformal cooling technique, developed and tested by Doncaster-based Agemaspark over several years, is said to reduce cycle times for multi-impression mould tools, increasing the efficiency of the overall mould creation process by as much as 20 per cent. Agemaspark believes the advance should help reduce its own carbon footprint and that of its customers.
“At a time when we should all be looking at our environmental impact, we are thrilled to offer customers a more efficient, greener technology,” Paul Stockhill, MD at Agemaspark said in a statement.
Essentium, Inc., announced the first in a series of findings from independent global research on the current and future use of industrial 3D printing. The fourth annual study reveals that the use of large-scale AM has more than doubled in the past year for 86 percent of manufacturing companies.
The survey results show that AM is here to stay and has evolved beyond prototyping to become an essential component in the large-scale production of functional parts. The number of companies that have shifted to using AM for full-scale production runs of hundreds of thousands of parts has increased from 14 percent in 2020 to 24 percent in 2021, and only 1 percent use 3D printing for less than 10 parts compared to 17 percent four years ago.
The survey found that the most important drivers for a company’s adoption of 3D printing for large scale production were its ability to:
• Improve part performance [55%]
• Increase design freedom [45%]
• Overcome supply chain issues [30%]
• Lower production costs [24%]
Carbon’s unique 3D printing method promises a new class of innovative gear.
You don’t have to be able to follow the intricately complex plot threads of HBO’s hit sci-fi series Westworld — who can? — to see the hypothetical picture in its fabric: by the early 2050s, theme park robots will be so lifelike that it’ll be impossible to tell the difference between them and us. Though not inherently a problem, their verisimilitude will complicate matters when a few become sentient and decide to take over.
As all good sci-fi stories do, Westworld‘s hinges on our acceptance that the reality it presents is possible in this dimension or another. The show lays the foundation of its premise in a moody intro sequence set to an ominous piano soundtrack as it depicts the manufacturing of these futuristic automatons. Blink (or press the “Skip Intro” button) and you’ll miss a robotic arm drawing a synthetic tendon onto a horse, bison or human, depending on which season you’re watching. Of course, these robots are 3D printed.