Additive Manufacturing put to the test by new $1.5M X-ray CT system at Auburn University

The Center for Additive Manufacturing at Auburn University, Alabama, is now home to a $1.5 million x-ray CT system. The new machine is to be applied to the nondestructive testing (NDT) of 3D printed parts, essential to the university’s programs to produce “mission critical” parts for aerospace and aviation industries.

The system was acquired with a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Professor Bart Prorok, Director of Auburn’s Analytical Microscopy Center, is principal investigator on the NIST grant, and has called the x-ray CT system “a real game changer” for the center’s additive manufacturing research.

“With this new system,” Professor Prorok explains, “we can take two-dimensional x-ray pictures of a metal structure for real-time process monitoring or a series of 2D images in 360 degrees of rotation that are then reconstructed into a 3D representation of the build.”

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3D printing boom stirs legal questions

Though full of possibilities, 3D printing also raises many legal, ethical and practical concerns.

This is according to analysts and legal experts, as manufacturing industries, healthcare providers and supply chains accelerate their practical uses of 3D printing.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a technique that uses a device to create physical objects from digital models.

The output can be a prototype, tooling, jig, fixture or finished good. 3D printing consists of seven manufacturing technologies to produce items from a wide range of plastic, ceramic, glass, metal and biomaterials. The range of 3D-printable materials has grown significantly, making the technology appealing to a wider array of organisations.

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Brazil ruling on tax treatment of 3D printing could have global implications

3D printing classified as a manufacturing process means some retailers are liable for IPI excise tax

The International Tax Review reports that a tax ruling issued by the Brazilian Federal Revenue Service on whether 3D printing should be classified as a manufacturing process for a business could mean retailers are liable for excise taxes. These are indirect taxes on the sale of a particular good or service such as fuel, tobacco and alcohol. Indirect means the tax is not directly paid by an individual consumer — instead, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) levies the tax on the producer or merchant, who passes it onto the consumer by including it in the product’s price.

The growth of the digital economy is the result of transformative processes brought about by information and communication technology (ICT) and is changing business models. This is very important from a tax perspective. and can have implications all over the world. In fact, Because of this, the OECD issued BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Action 1, which deals with the tax challenges of the digital economy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) promotes policies that seek to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. It provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.

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3D printing may also disrupt product liability laws

In their recently published paper, ‘What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor? Product Safety in the Aftermath of 3D Printing,’ Klaus Heine and Shu Li discuss how a disruptive technology like 3D printing can also upset other more peripheral areas such as legal issues and product liability. Safety mechanisms must be in place to protect the public, and the authors question why there is not more concern over potentially ‘harmful 3D printed products,’ with an analysis of why ‘incumbent product liability law does not incentivize optimal deterrence.’

Focusing on the many novel 3D printing startups and business models associated with 3D printing as the ‘trigger,’ the authors point out how little informational content regarding ‘specific producers’ is provided.

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Is 3D printing really a clean technology?

Any new technology, however promising, must be assessed for its environmental sustainability. This applies to 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing (AM), which is being developed as an alternative manufacturing technology in many fields of production. Clean technology is defined in terms of the lifecycle, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, toxic materials, and the use of non-renewable resources.

At present most 3D printing is carried out on a small scale. However, it is expanding quickly as tools and materials become more affordable, process quality improves, and innovative techniques emerge.

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Diversity and collaboration fuel additive manufacturing at Henkel

Diversity and Collaboration Fuel Additive Manufacturing at Henkel – women play key roles in helping unleash the power of 3D printing.

As a Henkel employee, I am part of a large, multinational company that operates worldwide with leading innovations, brands, and technologies in three businesses: Adhesive Technologies, Beauty Care and Laundry & Home Care. Headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, we have over 50,000 employees, representing 120 nationalities in nearly 80 countries.

Diversity and inclusion are firmly anchored in our corporate culture and are key drivers to our business success. Women make up a significant portion of our workforce, playing important roles in nearly every business function, from product development and operations, to sales and marketing.

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Is blockchain 3D printing’s guardian angel?

Nowadays, wherever there is an opportunity for technology to boost efficiency or lower costs in businesses, there is a new cybersecurity threat to even out the benefits.  

3D printers are as vulnerable as any other connected componen

That’s especially true in the coming age of ‘Industry 4.0’, where the introduction of new, connected IT alongside legacy equipment can bring its own set of unforeseen vulnerabilities.

Forecast to be worth US$21 billion by 2021, 3D printing is becoming a key component in next-gen manufacturing. Today, brands as large and diverse as Boeing and Heineken are using the process of additive manufacturing to create bespoke parts overnight.

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Identify3D updates software suite for secure distributed manufacturing

Digital supply chain software company Identify3D is introducing its latest suite of software solutions to enable manufacturers to facilitate additive manufacturing and decentralize manufacturing models. The software update addresses intellectual property protection, manufacturing repeatability and traceability in order to secure the digital manufacturing process from ever-evolving security threats.

Identify3D software suite

The software suite includes Identify3D Protect, Identify3D Manage and Identify3D Enforce applications, which together offer a comprehensive and encompassing solution for protecting the digital supply chain.

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GE Research pioneers quantum-secure Blockchain Network for 3D printing

GE Research has developed a quantum-secure Blockchain Network for 3D printing which is capable of managing digital transactions, from powder to finished part. The novel technology was recently recognized by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) which awarded GE Research a 2019 Manufacturing Leadership Award for Supply Chain Leadership.

GE Research Blockchain quantum-secure

As a mostly digital-driven process, additive manufacturing can benefit greatly from a blockchain-enabled supply chain, which offers an effective framework for securely managing additive manufacturing transactions for critical industrial parts.

In industries such as aerospace and energy especially, where critical metal components designed specifically for AM are produced, a sophisticated, secure and reliable system must be established for every step of the supply chain, from powder, to manufacturing floor, to post-processing.

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Bioprinting: What are the legal implications of defective design software?

3D printing has taken off at lightning speed, with innovations emerging around the world continually—and virtually unregulated. While there may be some serious discussions and expectations regarding ownership and common sense regarding designs, most of the legal angles are still in the embryonic stages. And that brings us to tissue engineering. Jamil Ammar tackles a provocative subject that has the potential to become much more complex over the years, in ‘Defective Computer-Aided Design Software Liability in 3D Bioprinted Human Organ Equivalents.’

The creative aspect of 3D printing is one important part of potential intellectual property rights, but in relation to legalities, there are serious liabilities that could be connected to defects in bioprinting. Ammar leads us through the process of bioprinting, from CAD software design to CAD designs to scanning of organs, and the eventual bioprinting of such complex tissue. While there are still so many challenges to overcome before actual organs are created and implanted in humans, worrying about the legalities may seem like jumping the gun; but Ammar does bring up important issues regarding the ‘what ifs’ surrounding software or a design that could be defective.

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