Demonstrating lighting speed 3D printing will inevitably get a lot of Youtube hits, but where does speed really matter? If you are able to make Eiffel tower miniatures at super fast rates, how would the entire logistics, inventory, distribution etc. compare to how a Chinese factory is already doing it?
I use this as demo example to demonstrate the clear challenge most companies in the 3D/AM space have, which is being able to come up with creative and truly business driven applications for their technology. If the applications were known, the demo parts would reflect that knowledge.
One of the original purposes of Supercharg3d is to bring pragmatism and balance to what is all-too-often a hyped technology (not that it isn’t disruptive and already changing supply chains!). This is a good summary of some of the key issues preventing it’s wider adoption.
You’re probably groaning by now, but hear me out. Yes, prices for the maker/desktop/DIY category of machines have dropped, the quality of their output has increased, and promotional materials abound with printers creating beautiful and delicate objets d’art.
But like the movie montage where the kids clean up the house before their parents get home, they are glossing over the details. What isn’t shown is the effort, the sweat, the tinkering, the trial and error, and the screaming to the gods themselves to please, please let it work this time.
The live experiment was carried out during a customer event sponsored by IT service provider AXIT and viewed by more than 100 participants online and in real time on monitors set up at the venue in Frankenthal, Germany. It showed the path of an urgently needed replacement part as it moved from the initial order through production to final delivery: all in a single day. Every link in the chain – man and machine alike – worked together seamlessly in a fully automated and digital process using modern tools of digitalization such as the internet of things, cloud-based technology, and data analytics. The cloud-based IT platform AX4, operated by AXIT, served as the central “control tower.”
“This example shows that same-day production and delivery of urgently needed parts can succeed if the processes are digitalized end to end and the production equipment and 3D printers can be connected with the logistical processes in a network”, says Frauke Heistermann, Member of Management Board, AXIT GmbH, Chief Digitalization Officer (CDO), Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics GmbH (SPPAL).
To see the video of the demonstration, click here.
Adidas is moving closer to a 3D printing shoe manufacturing revolution. As previously reported the sports shoe manufacturer used 3D printing to produce the Ultraboost Parley and 3D Runner releases in 2016. This year, Adidas are keen to up the tempo with their Speedfactory concept.
Industrial factories where 3D printing and robotics manufacture sneakers on-demand are at the core of the plan. Manufacturing will also become localized, eliminating costs associated with logistics and supply chains. Large-scale production at German Speedfactory in Ansbach is set for mid-2017, with Adidas expecting to create 500,000 shoes a year in the future. While in the U.S, Adidas has announced plans to create a Speedfactory in Atlanta in late-2017.