Additive manufacturing is the future and many companies are beginning to realize this. Additive manufacturing, which includes most predominantly 3D printing, is now being used for everything from prototype manufacture to medical prosthetics to aerospace parts.
What used to be a university graduate student experiment is making its way into industrial use in a big way. With this kind of investment and interest, this means that additive manufacturing is seeing new developments around the world- and sometimes even out of it. New materials, new printers, new capabilities, new applications, and new business partnerships are all coming from this still ongoing boom in additive manufacturing.
Here is a news roundup of some of the most interesting additive manufacturing news:
Additive Manufacturing at Scale Arrives– While additive manufacturing has been around for years, it’s only been recently that it has become a serious industrial-level manufacturing technique. Both technological and political developments have made additive manufacturing increasingly viable. Click the link above to see a brief discussion with Jason Clark, a leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Digital Supply Networks practice, about the present and future of additive manufacturing as well as some tips about adopting this increasingly important manufacturing technique.
“SupportFree” Metal Additive Manufacturing– Velo3D has released a printer designed to print metal without the use of support structures. This has been challenging for many reasons and only recently has technology been able to overcome them. Velo3D is not only looking toward updating the technology, but helping companies bring additive manufacturing into their current options. Often, companies do not redesign their current parts for 3D-printing, causing losses. Velo3D’s printer eliminates many of these issues because it eliminates the need for support structures, reducing the finishing process needed for 3D printed metal parts.
German RepRap Introduces New L320 3D Printer for Liquid Additive Manufacturing– German RepRap has developed Liquid Additive Manufacturing technology. Their printer uses a liquid material that is vulcanized under heat exposure. The layers are thus cross-linked, resulting in a very solid connection. This process allows for industrial 3D printing of liquid or high viscosity material like Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR). German RepRap claims products printed with their LAM technology are almost the same as those made via injection molding, making it highly useful for flexible parts. Because of this, the method is very useful for applications in the medical industry in particular. While their original LAM printer debuted in 2018, they recently introduced L320 LAM 3D printer, which is better suited for industrial-scale use.
Tiny supersonic jet injection for nanoscale additive manufacturing– Researchers at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology are developing a unique additive manufacturing technology. It energizes precursor molecules using a very small high-energy supersonic jet of inert gas, accelerating the fabrication of nanometer-scale structures. Previously, building these structures was highly frustrating, leading to the development of this new specialized technique. Though still in the experimental stages, this opens up new methods for constructing magnetic memory, superconducting materials, quantum devices, 3D electronic circuitry, and more.
Steel powder developed for additive manufacturing– Researchers at TU Graz’s Institute of Materials Science, Joining, and Forming in Austria have created a unique steel powder to simplify the additive manufacturing process. This steel powder behaves in a more stable manner when liquefied by the laser of a 3D printer. Because of this, printed products with low angles will no longer collapse during the printing process, offering more design freedom. There is less need for supporting structures, reducing costs and print time. While initially experimental, the steel powder production process is currently being scaled for market maturity. Testing is ongoing and many manufacturing interests have expressed interest in this new material.
Northrop Grumman to Demonstrate Robotic Manufacturing in Space– Northrop Grumman recently was awarded a subcontract to support NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) demonstration of the autonomous robotic manufacturing and assembly platform on its first space flight. The platform, Archinaut, will need to autonomously construct two 10 meter solar arrays to power a small satellite. The result will deliver almost five-times as much power as currently available for satellites at this scale. Successful integration of additive manufacturing and robotics will revolutionize satellite design, allowing for smaller satellites to perform more power-intensive tasks. Learn more about Archinaut here.
HP and Siemens Deepen Additive Manufacturing Alliance to Advance Digital Manufacturing– Two leaders in the industry are coming together to collaborate on the continuing development and industrial integration of additive manufacturing. The effort is wide-ranging, including collaboration on system and software development as well as research into overall product lifecycle management (PLM), AM factory optimization, industrial 3D printing and data intelligence, manufacturing execution, and performance analytics.
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