With a turnover of some 5-15 billion € / year, the additive manufacturing has industrial niches bearers thanks to processes and materials more and more optimized. While some niches still exist on the application of additive techniques in traditional fields (from jewelery to food for example), several trends emerge, using new concepts: collective production, realization of objects at once (without addition Of material), micro-fluidic, 4D printing exploiting programmable materials and materials, bio-printing, etc. There are both opportunities for new markets, promises not envisaged less than 10 years ago, but difficulties in reaching them.
3D Printing Industry is taking an in depth look at how additive manufacturing is moving to production. Over the coming weeks the results of interviews with industry leading practitioners will be published.
This article is part of a series examining Trends in Additive Manufacturing for End-Use Production.
Ben Ferrar is Chief Operating Officer at LPW Technology Ltd. As suppliers of well defined powders and services to support production customers and research partners, LPW is dedicated to making Additive Manufacturing a reality in critical production environments.
3D Printing Industry: What is your percentage estimate of how much your materials are used for AM production versus other applications?
Ben Ferrar: LPW’s comprehensive range of metal powders is fully characterised and optimised exclusively for AM – we don’t manufacture for any other sector – which is one of the reasons why our powders are used in over 50% of the AM machines installed worldwide.
The difficulty with the question is, how do we define ‘production’? If you were to consider both full production – tens of machines producing thousands of parts for a period of years, and serial production – several machines producing the same part (or customised designs of the same application) for months, together, then that would account for circa 50% of our powder sales. The other 50% is used for prototyping, in bureaus, universities, and Research and Development facilities.
It’s the combination of all of these approaches that will lead to the level of understanding of AM that will eventually see it regarded simply as a reliable production method, no longer a novel disruptive technology.
3DPI: Do you have an estimate of the addressable market for AM in production?
BF: We estimate that 1,000 of the 3,000 AM machines worldwide could be considered in production, using the definitions above, rather than prototyping.
3DPI: Which industries are leading in the use of AM for production?
BF: Several sectors are already in the vanguard of technical development and serial production for AM. AM is application-driven, the key to capitalising on the benefits it can offer is identifying the designs and components where it adds value. For example, in aerospace, IGT and energy, this is light-weighting, creating complex internal channels, and consolidating components; in medical applications, it’s integrating porous geometrics and introducing customisation. As these industries demonstrate the advantages of utilising AM, so others such as automotive are following.
GE, among others, is certainly helping to drive the adoption of AM technologies by publicising its commitment to the sector, and by bringing investment into the supply chain.
3DPI: What barriers does AM face for production and how are these surmountable?
BF: In manufacturing, cost is always an important consideration. We are finding that at this point, many of the companies moving towards production are less concerned about the cost of implementation than they are about the cost of getting it wrong. Managing the risk associated with introducing a disruptive technology into production cycles is one of the biggest barriers to overcome.
Powder degradation, contamination, and management of the powder throughout its lifecycle, are all areas where producers can lack confidence. Here at LPW we view AM from the perspective of the powder – using high-quality metal feedstock will give the best possible chance of achieving the required mechanical properties in the final built part. The most important metric is not necessarily powder cost per kg but overall cost per part. If you get a longer life from a better powder, often the part cost is less.
We believe that supporting manufacturers by giving them the tools to control their feedstock will improve repeatability and accelerate the adoption of AM. To do this, we’ve developed end to end solutions with PowderLife, a suite of software and hardware that will transport, store, monitor, quarantine, track and trace powders. In this way, we’re reducing risk and adding confidence in the production process.
3DPI: Are there any notable trends in AM for end use production?
BF: Industries are choosing to manufacture low volume, high-value components to learn about the technology, which makes sense. However, the validation and sustainability of the mechanical properties of high volume components for critical applications will be the tipping point for wide-scale uptake of AM technologies.
3DPI: Can you name any specific case studies where AM is used for end use production?
BF: Many of our customers ask us not to share their details, or even their industry specifics. However, we can say production ranges from IGT repair and aerospace hydraulic applications to medical devices and guides.
3DPI: Is there anything else you’d like to highlight in this area?
BF: New AM alloys will open up many new opportunities for AM, but they are still some way off being used widely. One of the key factors is timescales: AM is being used NOW and must leverage alloys which were designed for other processing routes.
New alloys will unlock more of the potential of AM in the future, but each will be subjected to acceptance and validation for its particular application(s). In industries like aerospace, this might take many years. It’s a good time to be exploring these materials, but this should not divert efforts away from existing alloys where there is still interesting work to be done and improvements to be made.
At LPW we’re investing in the future of alloy development, and working hard to refine, update and tighten the specifications for existing materials to ensure they deliver the results and mechanical properties that manufacturers demand.
Nominations for the 2018 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Let us know who is leading the industry.
For more information about LPW Technology Ltd is available here.
This article is part of a series examining Trends in Additive Manufacturing for End-Use Production.
Nov 17, 2017 | By David
Here’s another 3D printing round-up, to keep you up to speed with all the latest developments you might have been too busy to catch. Stories include FIT partnering with NIK, Dassault Systemes collaborating with Ecco, and more besides.
1. 3D printing expert FIT partners with NIK engineering company
A major new partnership has been established between German 3D printing company FIT and Russian engineering and research experts NIK. FIT was established in 1995, and has been providing additive manufacturing solutions to a range of industries since then. Set up in 1997, NIK specializes in engineering and consulting services for the aviation industry. The new company will be known as FITNIK, and cooperation is due to commence January 2018. The main goal of this new joint venture will be to open up the Russian market for additive manufacturing.
FITNIK’s base will be located in Zhukovsky, a town 30 km south of Moscow that is known as an important Russian aircraft center for scientific research and development. The company will combine the deep expertise of both its parent companies to leverage consulting proficiencies to enhance specific design for aviation parts and components, and to manufacture cutting-edge parts by innovative additive manufacturing in Russia. Production at the Russian site is expected to be fully operational within two years.
2. OR Laser launches new hybrid metal 3D printing platform
At this year’s Formnext trade show, OR Laser launched its latest offering to the manufacturing world. The ORLas Creator hybrid 3D printing and milling machine combines additive and subtractive methods, for an innovative solution that can deal with many complex issues facing a range of industries.
The ORLas Creator has the unique selling point that it can combine the design freedom and complexity of 3D printing with advanced milling capabilities for precision finishing. The two complementary techniques will be available together in one system, at a much lower price point than would otherwise be possible. Small and medium sized businesses stand to gain a lot from adoption of this unique machine.
The ORLas Creator makes use of laser melting techniques and metal powder materials, and in this respect it retains the outstanding 3D printing features of OR Laser’s classic Creator machine. These include the full laser power of 250W at a spot of 40μm, laser processing speeds of 3500 mm/s,and a build platform 110 mm (diameter) with a maximum Z axis of 100 mm.
3. 3D printing materials company PyroGenesis Announces $1.02 Million Sale of 2nd DROSRITE Furnace System to North American Automobile Parts Manufacturer
PyroGenesis, a technology company that specializes in advanced plasma-based processes and provides quality materials for 3D printing technology, has announced a major deal with an automobile manufacturer. The Canadian firm received a purchase order in the amount of US$ 800,000 (Can$ 1.02 million) for the sale of a second DROSRITE Furnace System, from an automotive manufacturer also based in North America. The order should be completed in the first quarter of 2018.
The DROSRITE System is a salt-free, cost-effective, sustainable process for maximizing metal recovery from dross, which is one of the main waste products generated in the metallurgical industry. The process helps to cu costs by limiting the loss of metal. At the same time it can also reduce a manufacturer’s carbon footprint and energy consumption.
PyroGenesis is also targeting markets further afield, and a pilot scheme for an Indian manufacturer is already planned for sometime next year. According to Massimo Dattilo, VP, Business Development of PyroGenesis, ”The Company is currently targeting primary aluminum smelters in Asia and the Middle East where the market is estimated to be in excess of 1 million tonnes of dross, as well as tertiary casting producers worldwide, all of which we expect will represent a potential requirement for DROSRITE systems numbering in the hundreds of units.”
4. Ecco footwear company partners with Dassault Systemes for 3D printing project
French manufacturing giant Dassault Systemes’ innovative FashionLab initiative will be collaborating with Ecco, a pioneering shoe company, for a new experimental footwear project making use of 3D printing and scanning techniques.
As part of the project, a selection of of customers from around the world will get the chance to have their shoes customized with midsoles made using data captured by wearable sensors and 3D scanners, which will generate a full digital analysis of individual feet and motion. The resulting customized 3D printed shoes will be personalized according to a wearer’s unique biomechanical and orthotic parameters, enabling a much more comfortable fit. The project, known as QuantU, leveraged Dassault Systemes’ cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which can interpret biomechanic data into geometries for 3D printing.
5. 3D printing giant GE Additive acquires GeonX
A major new acquisition has been announced by 3D printing giant GE Additive, which should enable it to further improves its software simulation capabilities. Belgian company GeonX, which provides software for engineers developing new products in order to simulate additive manufacturing, welding, machining and heat treatment processes, will now be part of GE’s additive manufacturing subsidiary. This should be a significant development for major industries such as aerospace, automotive and energy.
GeonX caught the attention of GE Additive due to its impressive simulation tool, Virfac (short for Virtual Factory). This manufacturing software solution assesses products prior to production in order to predict defects, distortions and stresses, as well as the impact that manufacturing will have on a product’s durability. This advanced simulation process helps to reduce the number of prototypes built during the development phase. It also leads to improvements in terms of the quality and lifetime of the manufactured products, which can minimize the time to market and development costs.
GE has already ploughed approximately $1.5 billion in manufacturing and additive technologies over the past 10 years, most significantly with the investment in Concept Laser and Arcam. GE Additive was established last year to solely focus on developing 3D printing technology in order to supply a range of industries and manufacturing operations.
6. Shenzhen Esun partners with ZYYX 3D printer
A major strategic partnership has been announced between Shenzhen Esun and ZYYX 3D Printer. The deal will see Chinese eco-friendly materials expert Shenzhen Esun, which first entered the 3D printing market back in 2007, become the sole distributor of the ZYYX 3D printer in China. ZYYX 3D printer is a brand owned by Swedish company Magicfirm Europe, based in Gothenburg.
According to Mr, Yihu Yang, CEO of Shenzhen Esun Industrial Co., Ltd, “The Chinese market for desktop 3D printers is today mainly focused on entry level products, but China’s rise as an innovation super power poses a great need for professional desktop 3D printing tools and this is where the ZYYX pro shines.”
The two companies have also entered into a research and development partnership to develop new 3D printing materials. They will be focused on creating professional use and engineering grade materials for the manufacturing world. The newest addition to the Magicfirms range is the ZYYX proGlass filament, which is a PA66 Nylon with 15% glass fiber content.
“The market for desktop 3D printers is getting tougher and tougher, and it is crucial to have a clear ambition, and our ambition is to provide our customers a complete toolset for functional prototyping and production of jigs and fixtures. The materials are at the center of such offering’’, says Mats Moosberg, CEO of Magicfirm Europe AB and creator of ZYYX 3D Printer.
7. PWC publishes results of survey on use of 3D printing in U.S industrial manufacturing
The results of survey recently conducted by major business consultancy firm PWC have shed some light on the ways that 3D printing technology is currently used in manufacturing across the U.S, and attitudes towards it.
The survey reports that 66.7 percent of manufacturers are adopting 3D printing in one way or another, whether they are experimenting with how to implement it, using it as a prototyping solution or using it to produce final products. 24.7 percent of companies reported an intention to use 3D printing technology at some point in the near future, leaving just 8.6 percent of respondents with no plans to adopt additive manufacturing. When asked what the most disruptive effects of 3D printing technology are likely to be, restructured supply chains and weakened intellectual property were manufacturers’ most common responses.
Regarding any barriers currently limiting the implementation of 3D printing by manufacturers, 47.2 percent of respondents said that there was uncertainty about the quality of the final product, in terms of strength and durability. 45.3 percent of responses mentioned a lack of expertise in order to properly exploit additive manufacturing, and 31.5 percent stated that 3D printing systems were currently just too expensive to be considered as an option.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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This engaging volume presents the exciting new technology of additive manufacturing (AM) of metal objects for a broad audience of academic and industry researchers, manufacturing professionals, undergraduate and graduate students, hobbyists, and artists. Innovative applications ranging from rocket nozzles to custom jewelry to medical implants illustrate a new world of freedom in design and fabrication, creating objects otherwise not possible by conventional means.
The author describes the various methods and advanced metals used to create high value components, enabling readers to choose which process is best for them. Of particular interest is how harnessing the power of lasers, electron beams, and electric arcs, as directed by advanced computer models, robots, and 3D printing systems, can create otherwise unattainable objects.
A timeline depicting the evolution of metalworking, accelerated by the computer and information age, ties AM metal technology to the rapid evolution of global technology trends. Charts, diagrams, and illustrations complement the text to describe the diverse set of technologies brought together in the AM processing of metal. Extensive listing of terms, definitions, and acronyms provides the reader with a quick reference guide to the language of AM metal processing. The book directs the reader to a wealth of internet sites providing further reading and resources, such as vendors and service providers, to jump start those interested in taking the first steps to establishing AM metal capability on whatever scale. The appendix provides hands-on example exercises for those ready to engage in experiential self-directed learning.
This report examines additive manufacturing (AM) and describes its potential impact on the Navy’s Supply Chain Management processes. Included in the analysis is the implementation of 3D printing technology and how it could impact the Navy’s future procurement processes, specifically based on a conducted analysis of the automotive aerospace industry. Industry research and development has identified multiple dimensions of AM technology, including material variety, cost saving advantages, and lead-time minimizations for manufacturing products. This project is designed to provide the Navy with a recommendation based on an in-depth industry case-study analysis. CHAPTER I * INTRODUCTION * A. OVERVIEW * B. REPORT ORGANIZATION * CHAPTER II * LITERATURE REVIEW * A. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING HISTORY * B. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING OVERVIEW * C. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES AND METHODS * 1. Binder Jetting * 2. Directed Energy Deposition * 3. Material Extrusion * 4. Material Jetting * 5. Powder Bed Fusion * 6. Sheet Lamination * 7. Vat Photopolymerization * D. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING USES AND BENEFITS * E. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING CHALLENGES, ISSUES, AND CONCERNS * F. NAVY PROCUREMENT PROCESS * G. SUMMARY * CHAPTER III * METHODOLOGY * A. MULTIPLE CASE-STUDY ANALYSIS * B. IMPLEMENTATION * C. SUMMARY * CHAPTER IV * CASE ANALYSIS * A. BIG INDUSTRY: ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING IN AVIATION AND AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING * 1. Automotive Industry * a. General Motors Financial Troubles * b. Costs * c. Additive Manufacturing in Tooling Process * d. Application in Production of Parts * 2. Aerospace Industry * 3. Boeing Aviation Corporation * 4. Additive Manufacturing Developments * B. CONCLUSIONS * CHAPTER V * IMPLEMENTATION * A. INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS * B. MILITARY APPLICATIONS * C. IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS AND CRITERIA * D. MILITARY ISSUES WITH AM * 1. Parts Testing and Certification * 2. Information Security * 3. Intellectual Property Infringement * 4. Personnel Training and Skill Set Development * E. ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES DEPLOYED * CHAPTER VI * CONCLUSION * A. SUMMARY