The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift.
It doesn’t matter whether a company’s product is automotive, electronic, construction or healthcare related – disruption is rife, largely due to new and emerging technology transforming the industry’s processes. The days of simple assembly lines have been leapfrogged as manufacturers are moving to embrace bold new production and design techniques. From automation and robotics, to 3D-printing and generative design software; there are a number of innovations helping to revolutionise the production line.
Added to this is increased consumer demand, meaning manufacturers can’t afford to stand still. Companies must go beyond the product and connect with their customers in entirely new ways to stay afloat in today’s market and stand out from the crowd.
“Custom” is at the core of the Ringbrothers brand. The shop, co-founded by brothers Jim and Mike Ring, has made a name for itself by building award-winning custom cars and producing a line of high-quality, uniquely crafted billet accessories and fiberglass and carbon fiber pieces.
But creating unique products can be a challenge. Businesses must create novel designs and high-quality parts that set them apart from the competition while also balancing the cost of designing, testing, and manufacturing custom pieces.
“You’re trying to create something new that nobody’s seen before and that’s getting harder and harder,” said Jim Ring. “We really want people to appreciate the Ringbrothers brand and the effort that goes into it and the extra machine time. That’s really our goal in everything we do.”
Boeing is investing heavily in developing its additive manufacturing capabilities ahead of an expected increase in the number of applications for 3D printed commercial aircraft parts.
The airframer already incorporates additive manufactured components into various aircraft cabin products, and expects the technology to provide airlines with a new way of customizing their interiors in the future.
Boeing last month signed a memorandum of understanding with Israeli software company Assembrix, which the manufacturer says will enable it to transmit additive manufacturing design information more securely.
A great article by Kent Firestone of Stratasys summarising the many areas where 3D printing is affecting supply chains.
3D printing has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the last several years that its potential has been more broadly realized. During that awakening, there were many claims stating the technology would disrupt the supply chain. Although there’s no denying 3D printing is impacting the supply chain, the traditional supply chain remains relatively unchanged.
Before 3D printing can impact operations on a broader scale, there are challenges that must be addressed, such as equipment and material costs. And the conversation must shift from 3D printing’s technical benefits to its business value, thus highlighting its impact on the supply chain. As this becomes common knowledge, more and more companies can realize how 3D printing can give their operations an edge. Beyond the benefits at the macro-level, companies that incorporate 3D printing into their manufacturing processes are seeing tangible benefits across several areas.
Simply put, 3D printing is poised to radically change the world you live in. While the technology has been around since the 80s, only in the last few years, with technology advances and dropping prices, has it caught the attention of most people. Today, 3D printing is rapidly evolving with new players entering the field, more patents expiring, new technologies (e.g., CLIP and Multi-Jet Fusion) being developed, and supporting software catching up. It’s estimated that the market will grow to $20 billion by 2025.
Over 30 years ago, two major companies invented the major technological components of 3D printing, and they’re still the dominant technologies currently in the market. In terms of 3D printing of object, three processes have become popular.
The first is called fused deposition modeling (FDM). It uses a thermoplastic filament, which is heated to its melting point and then extruded, layer by layer, to create a three-dimensional object. This rather slow process supports acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA) types of materials.