3D Printing Servicers: Budgeting Time & Delivery Systems for On-Demand Production

Researchers Carl Philip T. Hedenstierna, Stephen M. Disney, and Jan Holmström explore one of the most fascinating new areas of manufacturing today as 3D printing service bureaus offer assistance to a wide range of professionals, businesses, designers, and users on any level the chance to see their 3D designs come to fruition—while eliminating the need on the consumer level for huge investments in materials and equipment.

In the recently published ‘Service levels in make-to-order production: 3D printing applications,’ the authors explain how 3D printing servicers can manage their workload, deliver on time, and still keep production costs low; however, they also discuss what can often be a tradeoff in business: the realistic dilemma of atrocious service being provided at a minimal cost, or near-perfect service given at a higher cost.

While the ability to offer customized parts on-demand is extremely advantageous for everyone involved, this new way of doing business also presents new challenges—especially due to a lack of inventory. The authors are very clear about the enormous issue this can cause, despite the benefits of not having to keep warehouses full of goods and the ability to offer one-of-a-kind work for customers: because the service bureau can’t ‘build inventory to decouple demand variability from production – any demand variability must be absorbed by capacity, or by the delivery time.’

The relation between lead time and delivery performance

While AM processes allow servicers to create specialized parts, the sequencing of work may not be a problem, but ‘production smoothing’ could be. Order-based operations must be smoothed in businesses relying on inventory to keep production running efficiently, but in this study, the researchers begin to see that it may be just as critical for service operations. Today, there are numerous 3D printing servicers to look at, and many of them have substantial followings as the companies provide access to many other resources too.

Worldwide companies like 3D Hubs (originally a community-based, peer-to-peer printing service), offer a unique 3D printing dynamic now for businesses to get quotes on projects and have them completed via ‘dedicated merchants.’ Other companies like i.materialise and Shapeways offer 3D printing, centers for commerce, and a host of community resources. In this study, the authors use Shapeways as an example:

“… with physical production times of minutes or hours, they offer a manufacturing throughput time of six days (or two days with expediting) for white plastic products with no dimension exceeding 250mm (Shapeways, 2016). This leaves some slack time for decoupling demand variability from production.”

Designated delivery times must be longer than the time spent in the order book, combined with actual manufacturing time. There is very little flexibility for slack time for buffering. Previous research has shown the potential for 3D printing ‘collaborative networks’ shouldering the workload together, ‘trading excess orders and capacity dynamically.’

The authors have developed a service rate concept for this study, offering a metric like the one used for businesses relying on stored inventory. Success is measured by how happy customers are with delivery times. The researchers also chose the CIMO framework as they began to create an analytical model for the framework of their study as they further examine:

  • Order book management in 3D printing
  • Dynamics of the order book
  • Service delivery performance
  • Capacity costs
  • Order book control
  • Numerical analysis

Ultimately, the researchers consider three outcomes related to operations and customer service: offer perfect service at great cost, offer near-perfect service with proportionately less cost, or offer poor service at a much lower price.

“The proportional alternative seems to be the most realistic, as it ensures high service with significant production smoothing,” concluded the researchers. “If, as in Shapeways case, there is an option for expediting, separate order book and control policies (with different a -values) must be maintained for each delivery mode.”

Embedding the order book management problem in the CIMO framework

“While the CIMO framework guided this research, we had to revisit the intervention stage after having defined the mechanism and the output in unambiguous terms. In this way, the mechanism and the intervention gave rise to an integrated system for providing the intended outcomes. To identify unintended outcomes, we would have to test the policy on actual order book data from a service operation. This might reveal new insights, not predicted by the model, that could aid in the development of a refined intervention.”

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

The cost associated with high service levels for each of the policies

[Source / Images: ‘Service levels in make-to-order production: 3D printing applications’]

The post 3D Printing Servicers: Budgeting Time & Delivery Systems for On-Demand Production appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

3D Printing & On-Demand SmartMaaS Manufacturing as a Service

In the recently published ‘SmartMaaS: A Framework for Smart Manufacturing-as-a-Service,’ researchers from Queen’s University Belfast explore the potential for manufacturers selling their wares on-demand, rather than in a pre-defined format.

Cloud-based manufacturing offers potential we never could have dreamed of just several years ago, as progressive companies are leaning toward solutions like Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS)—giving true definition to just one of the ways 3D printing and other disruptive technologies are indeed revolutionizing industry and commerce.

‘Connected products’ such as IoT devices, cloud computing, and more are expected to bring in profits from $519B-$685B by 2020—propelled by incredible innovation in both IT and communications, along with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Now, analysts expect that nearly half of all products will be ‘smart’ by next year.

SmartMaaS framework

The researchers have created the SmartMaaS framework to orchestrate the following:

  • Receive product requests from customers
  • Run required algorithms
  • Manage design and manufacturing resources
  • Use parameters to begin product design

One of the critical models used by SmartMaaS is the designing module, integrating with the framework for rapid processing and computation of design simulations. Afterward, both the modeling and manufacturing modules are used.

“As SmartMaaS uses cloud-based design and manufacturing, it gets access to a number of modelling tools (e.g. CAD tools) and manufacturers (e.g. 3D printers), which are made available via cloud services, Sofwareas-a-Service (SaaS) and Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS), respectively,” explain the researchers.

The decision-making module is used is used to select a manufacturer depending on whether they are affordable, available, and how long production will take. More interesting, this module is also capable of receiving feedback from customers, along with offering other factors that help refine products.

SmartMaaS prototype

A conceptual actor model is used to communicate between:

  • Customer
  • Design
  • Manufacturing resources

“This actorbased communication and storage approach keeps the SmartMaaS alive throughout the design and manufacturing process, which subsequently helps in making smart decisions (using the “Decision Making” module) to meet customers’ goals,” explain the researchers.

The prototype offers:

  • Actor-based state storage
  • Gene-based design growth
  • Remote CAD modelling
  • Remote 3D printing

In both discussion and conclusion, the researchers advise us further of the benefits here, to include exponentially faster turnaround. Not only does this mean that organization within the company is more cohesive and projects are begun and ended more quickly—customers are much happier. With cloud services, more requests can be handled simultaneously, design is produced more expediently, anomalies are detected, and delays are prevented.

“The future work includes achieving the goals that are set for SmartMaaS. As a next step, the SmartMaaS framework will be deployed in a public cloud, and decision-making algorithms will be proposed to choose optimal manufacturing (3D printing) options,” concluded the researchers.

On-demand production is an exciting concept as researchers continue to work on innovative projects, from printing portals to drop-on-demand methods to new techniques in bioprinting. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: ‘SmartMaaS: A Framework for Smart Manufacturing-as-a-Service’]

The post 3D Printing & On-Demand SmartMaaS Manufacturing as a Service appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

3D Systems: Augmenting Your Workflow with Traditional and Additive Manufacturing

Combining Old and New Technology

Remember the days when people thought that we would all end up with our own home desktop 3D printers to make anything our hearts desired and would never have to leave the house to buy consumer goods again? While I’m not saying this future isn’t still in the cards (imagine never having to get in another shopping cart lane battle at the store!), most people have realized this might be just wishful thinking and are focusing on other uses for additive manufacturing – such as combining the technology with traditional forms of manufacturing.

Just because you’re interested in 3D printing doesn’t mean you have to completely forget about all of the existing manufacturing technologies – you can complement your workflow, learn something new, and add that skill to your wheelhouse. And try as you might, it’s not always economically feasible or the right choice for your business to switch completely over to 3D printing. So one more time for the people in the back – by combining conventional manufacturing with 3D printing, companies can truly augment and speed up their workflows.

3D Systems knows a little something about this, as the company offers both additive and subtractive manufacturing capabilities through its On Demand manufacturing services.

“Our online 3D printing portal was designed by engineers for engineers,” the 3D Systems On Demand webpage states. “Our goal is to make the process of ordering 3D printed parts and prototypes the easiest in the industry.”

This is what sets 3D Systems apart from other service bureaus in the market. In fact, the company just released an eBook, titled “The Benefits of Traditional and Additive Manufacturing from a Single Source,” that’s all about combining 3D printing with other types of manufacturing it offers, such as CNC machining, investment casting, injection molding, urethane casting, sheet metal, die casting, etc. The campaign for 3D Systems’ new eBook recently went live, and the book itself discusses different ways to combine additive and traditional manufacturing for the optimal effect, in addition to using your project budget in the most efficient way, speeding up time to market, and the best ways to fulfill design goals.

3D Systems On Demand service bureau offers traditional injection molding for low-volume projects, and most commercially available thermoplastics from production-grade tooling are available. Nearly 20 different materials are available, with ten finish options, including Light Texture, Mirror, and Color-Matching. A urethane casting service is also available for rapid prototyping purposes, with a wide array of materials and three different finishes offered.

“One of the greatest benefits of the Cast Urethane process is the ability to over-mold existing parts or hardware with a second material,” the website states.

Learn more about the traditional Capabilities such as Cast Urethane in the new eBook. 

While you can visit many vendors to receive external prototyping and production services, there aren’t too many like 3D Systems that offer a full range of options in both traditional and additive methods. For example, less than a year ago, the company released its ProJet® MJP 2500 IC RealWax™ 3D printer, which lets existing investment casting operators switch to additive manufacturing for their patterns, using 3D Systems’ MJP 3D printing technology. In addition, its VisiJet® M2 ICast (MJP) material is wax, which means it will work within the existing foundry without requiring any updates or changes to furnaces or temperatures.

Four years ago, 3D Systems also highlighted its digital molding technology for the first time. This is a scalable 3D printing process – backed by the company’s configurable Figure 4® technology – that lets you do tool-less production, and is a good alternative for low-volume plastic part production.

3D Systems’ Figure 4®

Confederate Motors, which has been designing and manufacturing bespoke motorcycles in small batches for over two decades, has been collaborating with 3D Systems On Demand since 2014 in an effort to convert 140 different designs into prototypes and production parts for its P51 Combat Fighter. 3D Systems provides a one-stop shop for Confederate Motors’ motorcycle parts, including everything from the intake manifold and swing arm parts to the front and back fenders and the key to start up the motorcycle.

“With the exception of some engine components, wiring, wheels, tires and lighting, 3D Systems makes every part of the Fighter. We save a tremendous amount of time and hassle by being able to consolidate part production with one primary vendor. Parts go together better coming from the same vendor, and we can be assured that the part finish of everything will match,” said Jordan Cornille, a designer at Confederate Motors.

“We like to move quickly in our decision-making processes and design quickly in order to offer our customers as many solutions as possible within a certain time frame. We don’t produce thousands of copies of each model, and 3D Systems allows us to change designs frequently without committing to thousands of dollars worth of tooling.”

3D Systems used plenty of CNC machining to make the parts for the P51 Combat Fighter motorcycle; according to the 3D Systems On Demand site, this subtractive technology “is the best choice for rapid prototyping of high-quality metal and plastic parts” that need an extremely high degree of dimensional accuracy. The service bureau offers a variety of different materials and finishes for CNC machining and promises a standard delivery time of 1-2 weeks, based on the order.

As noted in its new eBook, the company also offers integrated additive and traditional manufacturing approaches, which is perfect for projects that need to combine the ability to manufacture complex shapes at a faster rate of speed with high precision. Room Temperature Vulcanization (RTV) is just one of these integrated processes – it uses 3D printed masters and silicone molds to produce high-quality parts in low to mid-volume batches, without having to rely on expensive hard tooling. The benefits of RTV include a large material selection, a shorter lead time, and the ability to over-mold existing hardware and parts with an additional material.

“When the 3D Systems On Demand service bureau was established several years ago, the company expanded its expertise and resources through strategic acquisitions, not only for 3D printing and additive manufacturing, but for traditional approaches as well,” the eBook states. “3D Systems On Demand now has a worldwide network of facilities to locally service companies that need a stable, reliable, well-resourced and uniquely experienced partner.”

To learn more about the wide variety of additive and traditional manufacturing processes that 3D Systems offers through its On Demand service bureau, check out the company’s new eBook, or contact us for more details.

[Images: 3D Systems]

The post 3D Systems: Augmenting Your Workflow with Traditional and Additive Manufacturing appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

3D Printing News Briefs: July 6, 2019

In this installment of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re sharing some business news with you, along with a case study about a 3D printer farm. First up, AMUG just installed its new board for 2019-2020. Then, Print Parts Inc. has launched its new additive manufacturing website. Finally, BCN3D is showing the world how it produces parts assembled on its 3D printers at the company’s Print Farm.

AMUG Installs New Board Members

The 2019-2020 AMUG Board. Front row (L to R): Leslie Frost, Gary Rabinovitz, Jamie Cone, and Todd Grimm. Back row (L to R): Andrew Allshorn, Vince Anewenter, Tom Sorovetz, Carl Dekker, and Paul Bates.

The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) has installed its nine-member board for 2019-2020. The new board, made up of appointed and elected positions, will build and oversee the next AMUG Conference, as well as develop an organizational structure to support the continued growth of the annual 5-day event, which will next be held in Chicago from March 22-26, 2020. Each member of the board serves as an AMUG officer, and the industry professionals were elected during this year’s AMUG Conference. Carl Dekker of Met-L-Flo has replaced Paul Bates of UL as the new AMUG President; Bates has now taken on the role of Past President.

“I am excited to be AMUG’s 2020 president,” said Dekker. “We have an excellent and experienced team leading us on the path to the next event. The recent growth of AMUG has been astounding! This brings many challenges, which I am pleased to say the new AMUG Board is being very proactive in addressing.

Additional board members are:

  • Vice President: Jamie Cone, BD
  • Vice President: Andrew Allshorn, At 3D-Squared
  • Event Manager: Tom Sorovetz, FCA
  • Secretary: Leslie Frost, GE Additive
  • Chairman: Gary Rabinovitz, Reebok
  • Treasurer: Vince Anewenter, Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • AM Industry Advisor: Todd Grimm, T. A. Grimm & Associates

New Additive Service Website Launched

There’s a new additive manufacturing service in town for when you need on-demand, 3D printed performance and production-grade parts: New York-based Print Parts Inc. recently launched its new PrintParts.com website. The company’s mission is to help its customers achieve on-demand printed parts at an affordable costs, and it is also one of the first AM services that offers composite parts made on Markforged 3D printers. Clients can order flexible quantities – from 1 to 1 million – at competitive prices, 3D printed out of materials like carbon fiber, Kevlar, Nylon, and Onyx. The company helps its customers navigate the entire process from start to finish, including consulting, industrial design services, and even technology-specific feedback. PrintParts.com is celebrating its launch by offering a 25% discount on part orders during its first month of operation. In addition, the first 100 customers will receive a special gift package, including stickers, a branded operator’s apron, and a PrintParts t-shirt.

“Print Parts. That’s what we do,” explained company founder Robert Haleluk. “Our team creates functional prototypes, high quality concepts, and performance parts to help customers take on mission critical projects with confidence. We love what we do and put passion into every part we print.”

Video & Case Study: Producing Parts at the BCN3D Print Farm

Desktop 3D printer manufacturer BCN3D Technologies, based in Barcelona, uses its breakthrough IDEX (Independent Dual Extruder) technology at the BCN3D Print Farm to double its 3D printer production capacity. At the Farm, 63 printers are working 24/7 to manufacture 10,000 pieces per month. In a recent case study, the company explains how it produces 47 plastic Sigma and Sigmax pieces, which are assembled by its printers at the Print Farm.

“We think it will have a huge impact for those companies and users wanting to produce small series,” Marc Felis, the BCN3D Marketing Manager, told 3DPrint.com about the video the company produced about its Print Farm and IDEX technology.

IDEX allows BCN3D printers to control both toolheads independently, which makes it possible to double the production capacity for pieces like the Vertical Bowden, which holds the 3D printer’s Teflon tube in place and made with PET-G material at the BCN3D Print Farm. Customers who use IDEX technology can also cut labor, machinery, and maintenance costs in half, as well as decreasing printer downtime. Additionally, the technology is very clean, because it prevents molten plastic from dripping into printed pieces. To see how your company could speed up the production workflow while keeping costs reasonable, check out the video below:

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

The post 3D Printing News Briefs: July 6, 2019 appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

3D Printing News Briefs: July 2nd, 2019

We’re talking partnerships and materials in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs. The Alfa Romeo F1 team and Additive Industries are strengthening their technology partnership, while Beam-IT and SLM Solutions are expanding their own cooperation. Metallum3D just opened a new beta testing program for its stainless steel filament, while Zortrax and CRP Technology are both introducing new materials.

Alfa Romeo F1 Team and Additive Industries Strengthen Partnership

At the recent Rapid.Tech-Fabcon industrial 3D printing conference in Germany, Additive Industries announced that its current technology partnership with the F1 team of Alfa Romeo Racing would be growing stronger. The Sauber Engineering company, on behalf of Alfa Romeo Racing, has ordered an additional: 4-laser, multi-module MetalFAB1 Productivity System, bringing the total up to four systems and making it Additive Industries’ largest customer with a high-productivity metal 3D printing capacity.

Our installed base is growing fast, not only with new customers in our core markets like aerospace and the automotive industry but also through existing customers like Sauber Engineering, who are advancing to become one of the leading companies in industrial 3D printing in Europe, ramping up production,” stated Daan Kersten, the CEO of Additive Industries. “Although most users of metal additive manufacturing are still applying prototyping systems, we see an increasing number of companies concluding they need dedicated systems for series production. Our modular MetalFAB1 family is the only proven system on the market today designed for this use. We are grateful and proud to be technology partner to Sauber Engineering and the F1 team of Alfa Romeo Racing.”

Beam-IT and SLM Solutions Sign Expanded Agreement

M.Sc.Eng. Martina Riccio, AM Process Leader of Beam-IT and technical team

Italian 3D printing service bureau Beam-IT and metal 3D printing provider SLM Solutions have signed an agreement, which will expand their current long-term cooperation. Together in a joint venture project, the two will work to develop more material parameters – focusing on certain material properties – for the nickel-based alloys IN939 and IN718; this process will help create a less lengthy timeframe in terms of parameter testing. Additionally, Beam-IT has added two new SLM 3D printers to its product portfolio: an SLM 280 and an SLM 500.




“We are pleased to announce our cooperation agreement with SLM Solutions and the two additional machines,” said Michele Antolotti, the General Manager of Beam-IT. “We regularly produce high-quality parts for our customers using selective laser melting because the SLM ® technology works efficiently, quickly and, above all, safely. With the expanded capacity of our new multi-laser systems we can also increase our productivity and react to the increased interest in SLM ® technology from our customers.”

Metallum3D Opens Stainless Steel Filament Beta Testing Program

Virginia-based company Metallum3D announced that it has opened a beta test program for its stainless steel 316L 3D printing filament. This new program will support the company in its development of an affordable and accessible on-demand metal 3D platform for FFF 3D printers. The Filament Beta Test Program is open until July 31st, 2019, and a limited run of 150 0.5 kg spools of Metallum3D’s stainless steel 316L filament will be offered for a discounted price on a first come, first serve basis.

Nelson Zambrana, the CEO of Metallum3D, said, “Our 1.75mm Stainless Steel 316L filament material has a metal content of 91.7% by weight or 61.5% by volume, while maintaining enough flexibility for a minimum bend diameter of 95 mm (3.75 in.). The combination of high metal loading and filament flexibility was a tough material development challenge that took us over a year to solve.”

Zortrax Introducing Biocompatible Resins for Inkspire 3D Printer

Last year, Polish 3D printing solutions provider Zortrax developed the Inkspire, its first resin 3D printer. The Inkspire uses UV LCD technology to create small and precise models for the architecture, jewelry, and medical industries. With this in mind, the company is now introducing its specialized biocompatible resins that have been optimized for the Inkspire to make end use models in dentistry and prosthetics.

The new class IIa biocompatible Raydent Crown & Bridge resin is used for 3D printing temporary crowns and bridges, and is available in in an A2 shade (beige), with high abrasion resistance for permanent smooth surfaces. Class I biocompatible Raydent Surgical Guide resin for precise prosthetic surgical guides  is safe for transient contact with human tissue, and offers translucency and high dimensional accuracy. With these new materials, the Zortrax Inkspire can now be used by prosthetic laboratories for prototyping and final intraoral product fabrication.

CRP Technology Welcomes New Flame Retardant Material

Functional air conditioning piping made with LS technology and Windform FR1

In April, Italy-based CRP Technology introduced its Windform P-LINE material for for high-speed, production-grade 3D printing. Now, it’s officially welcoming another new material to its polyamide composite family – Windform FR1, the first carbon-filled flame-retardant laser sintering material to be rated V-0. The material is from the Windform TOP-LINE family, and passed the FAR 25.853 12-second vertical, the 15-second horizontal flammability tests, and the 45° Bunsen burner test. The lightweight, halogen-free material combines excellent stiffness with superior mechanical properties, and is a great choice for applications in aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, and electronics.

“Only a few days from the launch of a new range of Windform® materials, the P-LINE for HSS technology, I’m very proud to launch a new revolutionary composite material from the Windform® TOP-LINE family of materials for Laser Sintering technology,” said Franco Cevolini, VP and CTO at CRP Technology. “Our aim is to constantly produce technological breakthroughs. With Windform® FR1 we can steer you toward the proper solution for your projects.

“We will not stop here, we will continue our work on renewal and technological expansion in the field of Additive Manufacturing. Stay tuned!”

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

RAPID 2019: Talking 3D Printing and Partnerships with Ultimaker’s Jamie Howard

While attending the recent RAPID + TCT conference and trade show, I also visited the Ultimaker booth to meet with Jamie Howard, the new president of Ultimaker North America. On the first full day of RAPID, when the show floor had officially opened and there were just a few less lectures and workshops, the company announced that Heineken is using its on-demand 3D printing solutions to create functional machine parts and custom tools for the manufacturing line at its Seville brewery in Spain.

“We’re still in the first stages of 3D printing, but we’ve already seen a reduction of costs in the applications that we found by 70-90% and also a decrease of delivery time of these applications of 70-90%. Local manufacturing helps us a lot in increasing uptime, efficiency and output. We use 3D printing to optimize the manufacturing line, create maintenance and quality control tools, and create tools for our machines which help us increase safety for our people. I think there will be even more purposes in the future,” Isabelle Haenen, Global Supply Chain Procurement at Heineken, said in a press release.

Howard told me that he would describe Heineken as a “global customer,” and that Ultimaker was already looking at additional 3D printing applications in the brewery, aside from the ones it’s already working on, like safety and line optimizations and tooling.

The brewery produces multiple brands of beers owned by Heineken, which all adds up to 500 million liters of beer annually. Engineers at the Seville brewery started off using the Ultimaker 2+ about a year ago, but have since switched to a set of Ultimaker S5 machines.

Howard explained that the project partnership with Heineken included the Ultimaker applications engineering team going through the plant to help the brewery “discover and develop applications that could be 3D printed.”

Heineken’s 3D LAB [Image: Ultimaker]

“We offer that to our Enterprise customers as a service to help them accelerate the adoption of 3D printing in the enterprise,” Howard said. “We also facilitated some advanced training in design for 3D printing so that they could actually print the parts and tools we discovered during what we call the ‘site scan’ process, and that enables the transfer of knowledge and the adoption of knowledge necessary to have them be able to do it more on their own.

“So teaching the competency to discover new applications – it expands the catalogue of parts and applications that they can actually 3D print, which increases the adoption and expands the footprint of the printers.”

Since adopting Ultimaker’s solutions, the brewery has been able to increase its production uptime and save about 80% in production costs.

“The Heineken opportunity is really a good demonstration of the range of applications you can use the Ultimaker platform to do,” Howard said. “Our vision and mission is accelerating the world’s transition to local digital manufacturing, and in a distributed way, where you have the opportunity to leverage our software.

“The open materials platform gives us the flexibility to, at a local level, expand the range of applications with all the same accessibility to the material partners that we have through our Partner Alliance. The Heineken use case includes four categories of applications, from rapid prototyping to safety devices and also jigs, fixtures and tools on the manufacturing line, and also tooling for end-use parts – parts that fail during the production line process – to keep the uptime of the facility higher.”

I asked Howard what types of materials Heineken was using, and he showed me a device made out of Tough PLA material that is used to keep bottles from falling off the line.

“It’s light, and yet has the strength to be able to handle the weight from the bottle,” Howard explained.

“The tool that they were using before was a lot more rigid and rough, and it was sometimes causing the bottles to come off the line.”

The 3D printed version of the tool causes less friction on the bottles, which means a higher yield for Heineken as less bottles are breaking. It also saves the brewery time and money, as they can fabricate the tool on-site rather than send the design away to a third party for manufacturing. Howard also told me about one of the 3D printed safety device that’s been implemented in the brewery.

“There was a piece of equipment that required maintenance, and there was a safety latch that they built to prevent the machine from accidentally coming on during the maintenance process, to protect the workers from any injury. So the part that was printed goes over the power [switch] so you can’t inadvertently turn that machine on during the maintenance process.”

We then moved on to some parts 3D printed by other Ultimaker customers, including one for Volkswagen Autoeuropa. The tool, pictured above, was used on the manufacturing line to keep the wheel assembly from getting scratched. The tool has multiple drill guides to keep the wheel from falling off the lug nuts while it’s being screwed on, and Volkswagen was able to save a lot of time and money in upgrading to this 3D printed tool from the one they were previously using from a molding company, which would often break.

“We redesigned it…before, they were molding it in one piece. Our engineers helped them to discover that if they designed this differently, they could do it in a way that, if this part breaks, then you can just print that part, you don’t have to take the whole thing and throw it away,” Howard explained.

“All the principles of lean manufacturing are addressed in this particular piece.”

This new 3D printed version of the part reduces the amount of the time the tool was unavailable due to breakage, keeps productivity up, and also protects the wheel, so that the yield of the assembly at the end of the line is higher overall.

Take a look at more of my pictures from the Ultimaker booth at RAPID + TCT below:

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Images: Sarah Saunders, unless otherwise noted]

3DQue Introducing QPoD & QSuite at RAPID 2019: Enabling Autonomous 3D Printing Mass Production Capabilities

Today in Detroit, this year’s RAPID + TCT kicked off in the Cobo Center. We’ve already been reporting on plenty of news from the show, with lots more to come in the days ahead. Canadian company 3DQue Systems Inc., which automates FFF and FDM 3D printing for mass production, will be launching two technologies at the event this week: QSuite and QPoD.

First, a little background…the company was founded just last year by finance expert Steph Sharp and 18-year-old inventor and 3D printing whiz 18-year-old Mateo Pekic, who began 3D printing small part quantities in 2016. Pekic needed to find a way to remove parts from the print bed and start the next job remotely, and after lots of research and testing, has now been running his own 3D printers – with full automation – for more than two years.

“Until now, plastic 3D printing has failed to meet today’s manufacturing needs due to the high cost of part removal and lack of end-to-end automation. Working from his basement, Mateo Pekic has been able to solve a problem that has stumped some of the world’s leading experts in materials science, engineering and innovation by automating plastic 3D printers to safely produce complex plastic parts at scale,” said Sharp, who is also the CEO of 3DQue.

Pekic spoke with Sharp, a local mentor for entrepreneurs, and asked her to run the business with him; 3DQue was founded just days after Pekic’s 18th birthday. The company has truly made plastic 3D printing competitive with traditional manufacturing, as it offers solutions to some of the major problems when it comes to scaling the technology, such as unit cost, autonomous part removal, and automated production.

When I first saw an image of the QPoD, I was positive it was oriented wrong, until I read the release more closely. The plastic high-volume 3D printing mass production unit, powered by the company’s automation QSuite, has a vertical build platform.

This could actually be a real game changer. The efficient, compact, 24/7 production-on-demand unit has a total of nine 3D printers in a 12 sq ft 3×3 array. An 8-day field trial was conducted on the autonomous platform in January, and the QPoD printers were able to successfully produce 25 x 25 x 25 mm switch cube frames at a rate that would be equivalent to 100,000 parts a year: a production capacity of over 8,000 parts/sq ft.

Switch cubes

The platform has internal conveyors and collection bins for true autonomous 3D printing, at unit costs that are competitive with injection molding. With QPoD, there’s no need for outsourcing, which helps reduce inventory levels, costs, the environmental footprint, and lead times.

The QPoD is driven by QSuite, which automates 3D printers all the way from upload of the design to delivery of the parts. This end-to-end automation upgrade negates manual, time-consuming tasks like enterprise scheduling, 3D printer restart, and parts removal. The suite includes several modules, including calibration, material removal, and matching the next print job to the current 3D printer configuration.

QSuite mass produces high-quality plastic parts in a continuous loop without the need for dedicated operators, and reprioritizes jobs based on changing parts or deadlines. The suite doesn’t require any glue, tape, or robotics for autonomous part removal, and uses real-time reporting and management data to give users complete control from remote locations.

At RAPID this week, 3DQue will be offering live, hands-on demonstrations of the innovative QPoD. Not only has the cover been removed from the platform so attendees can get a good look inside, but you can also book a hands-on demonstration of the automated part ordering system at the company’s booth #1765. You can choose the part, material, color, and quantity, then watch how it’s uploaded into the queue and matched with the correct printer. Once the part is printed, attendees will be able to see it automatically delivered to the collection area and pick it up.

Additionally, don’t miss the Innovation Auditions at RAPID today from 1:30-2:30, as Pekic will be competing for the chance to present 3DQue at tomorrow morning’s keynote presentation.

Starting in July, QSuite capabilities will be available for license to end users on a pay-for-use basis starting at $1 an hour per printer (lower hourly rate for high volume users). Booking is also currently open for the QPoD platform, with installations slated to take place between June-December 2019 for the introductory price of $45,000. Each on-demand production unit comes with QSuite, automated part delivery, control panel, and nine 3D printers.

Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Images provided by 3DQue]

MetalMaker 3D Launching Rapid Prototyping Service for Metal 3D Printed Parts On Demand

Tomorrow, North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing event, FABTECH, will begin at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Many industry announcements will be made at the trade show, including one from advanced manufacturing startup MetalMaker 3D. The Connecticut-based company has just launched its new rapid prototyping service for on-demand 3D printing of metal parts. The process, which integrates investment casting with 3D printing, is said to be a more practical alternative to direct metal laser sintering, or DMLS, 3D printing.

“Until now, there has been a clear divide between the promise of metal additive manufacturing and reality of the types of metal parts that can practically be used in industry,” Eric Sammut, the CEO of MetalMaker 3D, told 3DPrint.com. “We are bridging that gap and offering a solution that maintains the performance of traditional manufacturing while delivering on the promise of additive manufacturing.”

Backed by seed accelerator Techstars and Stanley Black & Decker, MetalMaker 3D offers an industry-compatible solution for 3D printing metal parts that addresses many limitations of DMLS. Because parts made with DMLS 3D printing don’t have the same material properties as traditionally manufactured components, they are often also too expensive to use for the purposes of prototyping. But, MetalMaker 3D claims that it can offer truly isotropic metal parts, which are up to ten times cheaper than parts made with DMLS, with just one week of lead time.

Sammut explained, “Our goal is to enable manufacturers to use this additive pattern investment casting process in-house to produce custom metal parts in less than 24 hours.

“By combining additive manufacturing with investment casting, we get the best of both worlds: the design freedom, customizability, and rapid iteration of additive, along with the consistent mechanical, dimensional, and material properties of metal casting.”

The startup’s process can make functional metal parts with the design freedom inherent to 3D printing, while also providing the “isotropic mechanical and dimensional properties” that occur with high precision casting.

Currently, MetalMaker 3D is developing small-scale foundry systems for in-house investment casting so manufacturers can use the process for prototyping and low-volume production of complex metal parts, and is already working with several manufacturers, including partner Stanley, on real-world case studies. But, at FABTECH tomorrow, the startup will officially launch its rapid prototyping service, which involves working closely with its manufacturing customers to “refine their commercial product offering.”

While MetalMaker 3D does plan to expand its range of material options in the future, it will begin by offering rapid prototyping for aluminum parts with the aluminum 356 casting alloy – one of the most widely used in both the aerospace and automotive industries. In addition, the startup will also be offering optional T6 heat treatments as part of its new prototyping service.

Sammut said, “We can match the alloy, process, and heat treatment to create functional metal parts that are indistinguishable from commercially manufactured components.”

MetalMaker 3D will be running its prototyping service at the same time it works to continue developing its product offering, so its manufacturing customers can complete the process in-house. To request quotes and order custom 3D printed metal parts through the startup’s new on-demand rapid prototyping service, just fill out the quote form to receive a response within 48 hours…once FABTECH is over, of course.

If you will be attending the trade show in Georgia this week, visit MetalMaker 3D at Booth B5642 in the Additive Pavilion.

Discuss this news and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

3D Printing News Briefs: August 18, 2018

In 3D Printing News Briefs, in which we share news about some upcoming events, and then move on to business, science, and 3D printing pen art. Europac 3D and Addition Design and Research are showing their plans for the upcoming TCT Show, and the Formlabs Roadshow is coming to Chicago next month. Makelab has launched its on-demand production platform, powered by AMFG software, and Rize published a brief about 3D printing in life sciences. Finally, 3Doodler announced an upcoming video class series on 3D printing pen art.

Europac 3D Announces Lineup for TCT Show 2018

Top UK 3D printing, scanning, and inspection business Europac 3D announced that its booth for this year’s TCT Show in Birmingham will be its “biggest and most informative” yet, showcasing the latest in 3D printing innovations. In addition to displaying and 3D printing a range of sunglasses during the show to illustrate its end-to-end solutions, the company will also display 3D printers from HP and UnionTech, NX software from Siemens, and 3D scanners from Artec and Kreon Technologies. Experts will also be on hand at Europac’s booth to answer any questions.

“We will have our biggest and best stand to date at TCT this year and will be hosting 3D printing, scanning and modelling experts to provide visitors with a one stop shop for all their technical queries,” said John Beckett, Managing Director of Europac. “Europac 3D will be on hand to demonstrate all of our latest projects and innovations. We look forward to welcoming visitors to our stand for what promises to be an unforgettable event.”

Check out what Europac to offer at Stand M26 at the TCT Show, running from September 25th-27th.

Addition Design and Research Attending TCT Show 2018

Another 3D printing company that’s announced its plans to exhibit at the TCT Show is contract research and development (CRD) supplier Addition Design & Research, which provides end-to-end advanced design and manufacturing solutions using 3D printing. While the company is rather new to the 3D printing industry, it’s long worked at the intersection of CRD, high value design and engineering, and AM with other organizations to create high quality business solutions.

Addition Design & Research will be available during the TCT Show at Stand K49 for one-on-one meetings to provide insight into its expertise, offer advice on how to adopt 3D printing, and to discuss collaboration. Any organizations in the UK searching for a primer on using 3D printing as a business solution should attend the company’s training course in Sheffield just ahead of the show.

Formlabs Roadshow Hits the Road in Chicago

The popular Formlabs Roadshow has visited many big cities, from New York City and San Francisco to Los Angeles and now Chicago.

“Formlabs is traveling to industry hubs across North America to celebrate the capabilities of 3D printing in digital manufacturing,” the event reads. “We are bringing together local innovators and global disruptors to discuss how accessible 3D printing technology is enabling manufacturing across the business and education landscapes. Join us as we tackle opportunities and barriers in digital manufacturing and design with industry experts.”

The event, which centers around taking advantage of Industry 4.0, will be held from 10:30 – 2 on Friday, September 14th at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII). Speakers include several well-known 3D printing experts, including Luke Winston, the Chief Business Officer at Formlabs, and Siemens’ Additive Manufacturing Solutions Director Chris Weber, with more to be announced soon. Tickets are less than $70, so sign up here to attend.

Makelab Launched On-Demand Production Platform

Brooklyn-based 3D printing service bureau Makelab is partnering with AMFG, which creates automation software for industrial 3D printing, to launch a new on-demand production platform. AMFG’s software will automate Makelab’s manufacturing operations, as well as make its 3D printing services more accessible to universities, engineers, and designers. Customers can use AMFG’s on-demand portal to easily request 3D printed parts with its auto-quoting tool, while Makelab will be able to track parts and requests, automatically schedule jobs and optimize build space, plan for post-processing, and conduct quality assurance.

“With AMFG, we’ve found an end-to-end solution which not only takes care of the auto-quoting in a more user-friendly and intuitive way, but also takes care of managing production, which is a huge advantage for us. As we scale our business, we’re always looking for innovative ways to solve key issues like keeping track of all our machines, effectively packing builds and ultimately, optimising our workflow for maximum efficiency,” said Makelab Co-Founder Christina Perla. “AMFG answered all of these questions and more, so we can provide a faster, more efficient service for our customers.”

Rize Commissions Brief on Life Sciences 3D Printing

Boston-based 3D printing company Rize recently commissioned a new Insight Brief, titled “Personalized 3D Printing in Life Sciences,” written by Axendia’s Eric Luyer, an Industry Research Analyst, and Ellyn McMullin, a Research Associate. There are many applications for 3D printing in the healthcare, medical device, pharmaceutical, and surgery industries, and Life Sciences companies can use the technology to break down barriers. But there are plenty of complex regulations to be managed in order for this to be successful. The brief discusses 3D printing applications in Life Sciences, some of the FDA guidelines, and how Rize’s 3D printing Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) technology is very important to controlling some of the important processes that Life Sciences manufacturers need.

“RIZE’S patented APD system is key to Traceability, Control of Process Parameters and validated processes that Manufacturers must maintain and control to meet FDA 21 CFR 820.30 Design Controls requirements. It’s an industrial 3D Printer where complex geometry can be manufactured matching patients’ anatomy,” said Kishore Boyalakuntla, Vice President of Product at RIZE.

The brief also discusses how global medical device manufacturer CONMED used Rize’s technology to 3D print molds for producing medical-grade elastomeric products.

3Doodler Working on 3D Pen Art Video Class Series

Popular Kickstarter-backed company 3Doodler is working with Bluprint, owned by NBCUniversal, on a series of 3D Pen Art video classes aimed at teaching makers and crafters how to create works of art with the 3Doodler Create+ 3D Pen. Its content, available for free online through Bluprint, Craftsy, and streaming apps like Roku, will be part of the new entity’s expanded subscription service, and Grace Du Prez, an internationally renowned 3D pen artist whose work we’ve covered before, will be the host of the show, which marks the first such broadcast agreement for 3Doodler.

Six episodes will run through the 2018 holiday season, and the first five are already up, covering projects like phone cases, terrariums, and lantern lights; you will need to sign up for a free Bluprint trial to watch. The sixth video class will be an episode of Doodle Wars, a new, family-friendly NBC competition series. Check out a teaser video for Doodle Wars below:

NEW SHOW TIME: Doodle Wars is here ! These artists are incredible and thanks to this show I’m now calling myself Bob Ross Jr. Shoutout to Bluprint NBC and the whole awesome Hudsun Media team that made it happen and our great judges Zoe Hong + Jon Chad. Catch the whole season over at mybluprint.com now!….#doodlewars #iamadoodlerwarrior #doodle #scribble #draw #art #doodling #competition #mybluprint

Gepostet von Paul Costabile am Mittwoch, 15. August 2018

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.