Metal AM becomes feasible and affordable, and will change manufacturing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 93)

Metal AM has been around for many years but we have since bumped into many problems that make it hard for the tech to scale up. The techniques required to deal with metal materials are still finicky and expensive. All this is gradually changing, as advances in material sciences and better industry know-how lead to machines that are cheaper yet performant enough to appeal to the Small Medium Business (SMB) market. We recently heard there are 160 metal 3D printing startups! Wohaa! New research into bulk metallic glasses are making it easier to work with metals, lowering the barrier to entry by aiming at less pricey technologies. At the same time, companies like HP and Desktop Metal are offering metal 3D printers at very enticing prices, sub $400K, which is a big deal. New entries in the printer market are geared towards production instead of simple prototyping, signalling that the shift is close to a scaled metal printing industry.

Use of Metallic Glass Simplifies 3D Printing of Metals

3D printed metallic glass

Researchers at Yale, MIT, and Desktop Metal have teamed up to simplify metal 3D printing, expanding its potential for use in industrial applications and the range of objects that can be printed using the process. The research, led by Jan Schroers, Yale professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, has taken a new approach to 3D-print objects from metallic glass—a relatively new material stronger than even some of the strongest metals, but with the pliability of plastic.

Read more here.

HP’s Metal Jet 3D printer may build your next car’s innards

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[…] printing giant HP announced it’s entered the market with the ambition to dramatically lower prices, courtesy of a $400,000 product called the Metal Jet.

“We’re really going to enable mass production for mainstream metals, in particular steels,” said Tim Weber, head of 3D metal printing for HP.

Read more at CNET.

Metal 3D printing startup Velo3D launches its first product

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[Velo3D] is finally ready to discuss what it’s been working on, just as it announces the availability of its first product. The Sapphire system utilizes a technology the company calls Intelligent Fusion. The system is capable of 3D printing complex metal objects by sintering a bed of powder with a laser, in a process similar to standard resin-based 3D printing systems. One of the more compelling aspects of the technology is its ability to create geometrically complicated objects without the need for the support structure most require.

Read the rest at Techcruch.

 

We’ll be at Formnext in Frankfurt from the 13th to 16th November. Come see us at booth #B30J.

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How Small/Medium Businesses Will Drive the AM Wave (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 90)

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) have advantages that big corporations don’t have. One of them is agility, to make business decisions and to move into new markets. This agility is being augmented by technologies like additive manufacturing, laying the groundwork for them to become the next giants of the manufacturing industry. For starters, the barriers to entry in the industry have drastically lowered as startups no longer need to invest on expensive, specialized machinery. However, data shows that SMBs are already readily investing in AM, which puts them in the optimal position of focusing on new, maybe niche markets and grow unaffected by big, established companies. Furthermore, AM gives them the ability to nimbly change their production planning and strategy based on the whims of the market, better gearing their products and services to what is selling the most.

How 3D Printing Is Empowering SMBs in Manufacturing’s Digital Transformation

Traditional manufacturing requires companies to invest in expensive molds before a single product can be produced. And once the mold is developed, large order commitments are required to achieve enough scale for products to be priced competitively in the market. This poses a challenge for any company; but for startups and small companies it’s often completely cost-prohibitive. 3D printing eliminates such costly barriers to entry by not requiring physical prerequisites like molds for production. In fact, products can be custom-produced directly from digital files, with 3D printing software able to identify potential design flaws or inconsistencies before the manufacturing process even starts. And the ability of service bureaus to print products on-demand eliminates the need for large manufacturing runs or the potential for excess inventory.

Keep reading here.

3D printing to be utilised by three quarters of Europe’s SMB’s by 2020

Following new research by Ricoh Europe, it has been revealed that almost three quarters of Europe’s small and medium sized businesses (SMB) believe that 3D printing technology is vital to reduce costs and improve agility. The research found that 44% of the 2,370 SMB leaders surveyed from 23 different countries have already invested in 3D printing with a further 30% planning to invest within the next two years. From the businesses that were surveyed, it was revealed that 70% of businesses are aiming to utilise 3D printing to introduce new manufacturing strategies and techniques.

Read the full article here.

How “Speed Factories” Help Companies Adapt to Capricious Consumers

Speed factories are a growing trend among consumer-goods businesses, and one Jan Van Mieghem, professor of managerial economics and operations at Kellogg, has been researching. “More companies are focused on localization now, with custom-made products for very small local markets,” Van Mieghem says. Speed factories offer fast turnaround to meet demand in such markets, but they often have higher production costs.

Read the full article here.

 

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Newsletter (August) – Visualize your business’ soaring numbers

Revamped graphs, new data and customization options

As our platform gets more connected, access to data is becoming more encompassing and substantial. Authentise is working on revamping the graphs to include even more of the information you’re looking for.

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Here is some of the new data to be included in the improved graph selection, with much more to come in future releases:

  • OEE
  • Availability (Downtime vs Operating time)
  • Quality/Yield (total fails vs total builds)
  • Performance (spikes)
  • Throughput (cm3 per machine)

ca8ef43e-ee89-48ba-b5ea-2ed19518cbf8The more of our products you use, the more information you can display. With our Manufacturing Execution System, for instance, you can manage and utilize parts in process (value$ + #), On-time delivery, Manufacturing Cycle Time (time from order to shipped), Time/Cost per cm3 and many more.

Which APIs to customize the dashboards and receiving data for other systems used in your organization are the most valuable to you?

Please let us know by contacting our CMO Frank Speck at frank@authentise.com.

You can also find out more about Authentise and its services on our website and news page.


Authentise will be at IMTS 2018!

At IMTS, and in partnership with America Makes, we are planning a display of the power of Industry 4.0 in Additive Manufacturing. By interfacing with various booths within the event and even with external, remote locations, you’ll be able to see real-time operational data from all connected 3D printers.

Come see us at Additive ETC, located on Level 3 of the West Building at McCormick Center.


How AI is changing the face of manufacturing, and much more (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 85)

As AI is getting a foothold in pretty much every corner of the digital world, industries like manufacturing have a lot to gain by employing its perks. We at Authentise know very well the power of machine learning and the many other tools that enable our customers to get deeper, insightful looks into their production and save time in production. The next generation in Additive AI will likely be in-print monitoring platforms. The way these technologies are affecting every industry scared people into thinking that there’s going to be less room for human employees. Not only will there be value in the collaboration between humans and AIs, but new types of jobs will be created because of it. On a side note, it’s also interesting to see how 3D printing is enabling new computing paradigms to be researched, closing the loop beautifully.

Kansas State University Researchers Develop AI System For 3D Printing Process Monitoring

Researchers from Kansas State University’s Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering (IMSE) have developed a new quality monitoring system for the 3D printing process. With integrated supervised machine learning, a camera, and image processing software, the researchers created a production quality monitoring system for assessing 3D printed parts in real-time.

Read the full article here.

New Supply Chain Jobs Are Emerging as AI Takes Hold

Companies are cutting supply chain complexity and accelerating responsiveness using the tools of artificial intelligence. Through AI, machine learning, robotics, and advanced analytics, firms are augmenting knowledge-intensive areas such as supply chain planning, customer order management, and inventory tracking. What does that mean for the supply chain workforce? It does not mean human workers will become obsolete. In fact, a new book by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson debunks the widespread misconception that AI systems will replace humans in one industry after another. While AI will be deployed to manage certain tasks, including higher-level decision making, the technology’s true power is in augmenting human capabilities — and that holds true in the supply chain.

Read the rest at Harvard Business Review.

This AI Calculates at the Speed of Light

Researchers from UCLA on Thursday revealed a 3D-printed, optical neural network that allows computers to solve complex mathematical computations at the speed of light. […] researchers believe this computing technique could shift the power of machine learning algorithms, the math that underlies many of the artificial intelligence applications in use today, into an entirely new gear.

Read the full article at Discover Magazine.

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Can Data Connectivity Catapult AM Forward? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 76)

AM is a manufacturing technology like many other but, unlike most, has numerous variables at play in making the final part. Most are controlled by the initial setup by the lab technician, but after that there is very little that goes in the way of making sure that the best result is achieved. In-print monitoring is crucial yet still hard to apply properly. Techniques like machine learning enable automated pinpointing of potential issues, stopping before precious time and resources are wasted. This will be made possible thanks to a slew of sensors that power computer-vision algorithms. The bandwidth required for these applications will be huge, something that coming 5G networks will be able to support, together with other IIoT applications previously impossible. In the future, self-correcting printers will make AM much more reliable and efficient. There is already so much that the data coming from printers can teach to improve operational performance. At Authentise we have developed smart analytical tools to help you leverage all that data, and are now moving towards letting you control printer directly, with remote and automated tools.

Machine Learning and Metal 3D Printing Combine for Real-Time Process Monitoring Algorithm

Two researchers from the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have figured out how to combine 3D printing and machine learning for real-time process monitoring, a practice which can detect anomalies inside a part while it’s being 3D printed. Their research could one day lead to self-correcting 3D printers.

Read the full story here.

New whitepaper examines smart metrology for additive manufacturing

If factories are to become faster and more flexible, inspection is a bottleneck to overcome, especially in industries where 100% inspection is required. In this new whitepaper by Autodesk and Faro, smart metrology for the additive manufacturing industry. Components made by additive manufacturing technologies (AM) have more variables than machined parts. Faster inspection for additive manufacturing is more challenging because AM processes are not as accurate as cutting metal. Better metrology for AM will help reduce feedstock and costs.

Check out the whitepaper here.

How Will 5G Change Robotics and the IIoT?

As efficient and effective as 4G technology is, it pales in comparison to the faster, more reliable platform of 5G. If the new protocol meets its advertised speeds of 100 gigabits per second, this rates 5G at a speed of 1,000 times faster than 4G. Given the increasing size of datasets, the greater need for real-time data processing and more reliance on large-scale and long-term data storage, it’s easy to see how 5G benefits everyone.

Read the full article here.

 

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Tackling Education in the World of Additive Manufacturing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 63)

AM is here to stay but, for many, the technology is a valuable opportunity watched from afar. Why? A big skill-gap is plaguing the manufacturing industry, which has a hard time finding the right people to employ. How is education being updated to bring new engineers up to current standards? What is the role of industrial and public institutions in influencing education? How much knowledge can one attain with a get-dirty, DIY approach?

Countries around the globe are recognizing the impact AM is having on the manufacturing economy and, along with other advanced technologies, are redesigning curriculums to include these trends. Also, industrial conglomerates, who are the most afflicted by the skill gap issues, aren’t standing by: many are rising up to develop training centers and generate activities to turn the tide. Nonetheless, some students are taking matters into their own hands, not only applying themselves to learning but developing business ideas revolving around AM.

Singapore wants elementary schoolers learning 3D printing, robotics, more

Singapore’s Applied Learning Programme (ALP), which aims to deliver hands-on learning programs to primary schoolers, is being expanded. All schools will implement the program, which includes STEM activities like robotics, coding, and 3D printing, by the year 2023.

“Students learn by applying and by doing, and they learn beyond the classroom,” Ng explained. “They see for themselves how they can apply what they have learnt to the real world.” – Singapore’s Education Minister for Schools Ng Chee Meng

Read more about it here.

NCAM calls on industry to help plug additive manufacturing skills gap

MTC NCAM

Given the buzz around AM technologies, you would be forgiven for assuming the message has been received loud and clear but with the UK Government’s recent Industrial Strategy failing to highlight the importance of AM and around 62% of manufacturers planning to undertake some form of move to ‘Industry 4.0‘, the appeal for more education and relevant skills is extremely valid. Within the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, the team at the UK’s National Centre for Additive Manufacture (NCAM) is currently seeking to answer that call by embarking on the task of addressing the AM skills gap.

Read more at TCT Mag.

3D Printing Entrepreneur Reveals Plan for 24h Sneaker Turnaround

A student entrepreneur who developed the idea, technology, and production of his own brand of custom 3D printed sneakers will see his “UnisBrands” products hit the market soon. Nick Unis, who is currently a final year accounting and finance student at Penn State University-Altoona, has been nurturing his idea for custom running shoes since high school. Having now joined the Happy Valley LaunchBox FastTrack Accelerator, Unis plans to ship the first UnisBrands shoes in Summer 2018, with the aim of averting 24 to 72 hours turnaround per pair.

Keep reading the article here.

 

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Automation: going where humans can’t (or don’t want to) (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 59)

Automation is being employed to solve many of the challenges of the present day. In a sense, it is liberating us humans from menial or even dangerous tasks in favour of more stimulating exercises. For example, putting your life in the possibly dangerous environment of an ammunition factory was the only way for poor families to sustain themselves. Robotics and other technologies are not only putting unsafe jobs out of the list, are increasing productivity considerably. There are also societal changes that we are only now starting to foresee. Analyses show that certain dynamics are going to shift as demographic and economic factors evolve. For example, a number of countries with an aging population will need an increase in caregivers. Automation is already bringing to market solutions for human-machine relationship robots to take care of this. This trend is putting under the spotlight how technology is making certain jobs obsolete, inflating the already present preoccupation of joblessness. However, studies conducted by automation technologies show that however permeating these are, humans will not only always be required for complex and open-ended tasks, the new framework brought about by automation will create new jobs, such that never even existed before.

Robots Have Replaced Humans in 25% of China’s Ammunition Factories

Rifle bullets on wood table with low key scene. Close-up photo : Foto stock

Speaking with the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Xu Zhigang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Shenyang Institute of Automation, said that nearly 25% of China’s ammunition factories have had their human workers replaced with “smart machines.” Interestingly enough, China didn’t turn to AI simply because it wants to lead AI adoption. It was instead because the factories were lacking in people who actually wanted to work in such dangerous environments.

Keep reading here.

Can Robots Tighten the Bolts on a Rickety Caregiver Sector?

Can Robots Tighten the Bolts on a Rickety Caregiver Sector?

In 15 years, the percentage of the population over 65 will more than double in Europe, Japan and the U.S. A tenfold increase in care workers will be required, at a time when the sector is relentlessly shrinking. At first glance, this could be a perfect opportunity for robots to fill a genuine social need—entrepreneurs and tech evangelists frequently talk of machines tackling the “dangerous and demeaning work” of carrying and cleaning patients.

Read the full article here.

Could Self-Driving Trucks Be Good for Truckers?

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Uber does not believe that self-driving trucks will be doing “dock to dock” runs for a very long time. They see a future in which self-driving trucks drive highway miles between what they call transfer hubs, where human drivers will take over for the last miles through complex urban and industrial terrain. […] Basically, if the self-driving trucks are used far more efficiently, it would drive down the cost of freight, which would stimulate demand, leading to more business. And, if more freight is out on the roads, and humans are required to run it around local areas, then there will be a greater, not lesser, need for truck drivers.

“If you believe the [automation] narrative that’s out there today, it is especially counterintuitive,”Alden Woodrow, the product lead for self-driving trucks at Uber, says, “because the more self-driving trucks you have and the higher utilization they have, the more jobs it creates.”

Read the full article in the Atlantic.

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Automation is coming for our jobs: are we ready? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 54)

Automation is a process that’s being on-going for the past 40 years to take ever more complex tasks and have machines take over. This means that a lot of manual, repetitive tasks have been handed over to robotic arms and minds, freeing the humans to do something more elevated, and possible more stimulating. This will constitute a monumental impact on society, with as many as 800 million workers projected to be displaced by 2030. Nonetheless, there are a few key issues in the way of that vision: skill gaps make it hard to change careers, our social systems aren’t suited to support workers through these new shifts and this phenomenon could accentuate present issues that we are pressing to eliminate, like gender and racial discrimination in the form of pay gaps. For its promises of utmost freedom, there are a few angles to iron out before it becomes reality, creating a suitable environment to guarantee innovation and social welfare (like Sweden!).

Automation Could Displace 800 Million Workers Worldwide By 2030, Study Says

A coming wave of job automation could force between 400 million and 800 million people worldwide out of a job in the next 13 years, according to a new study. A report released this week from the research arm of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company forecasts scenarios in which 3 percent to 14 percent of workers around the world — in 75 million to 375 million jobs — will have to acquire new skills and switch occupations by 2030.

“There are few precedents” to the challenge of retraining hundreds of millions of workers in the middle of their careers, the report’s authors say.

Read the full article here.

How Robots Could Make the Gender Pay Gap Even Worse

A new report published Thursday suggests that robots could make the gender pay gap even worse, stoking existing fears and uncertainty around the concept of automation. In a paper titled “Managing automation Employment, inequality and ethics in the digital age,” the Institute for Public Policy Research argued that a greater share of jobs that women hold—46.8% versus 40.9% for men—have the technical potential to be automated since female workers are more likely to hold low-skill “automatable” occupations. Paired with women’s underrepresentation in high-skill occupations that may be complemented by technology, that means that automation could exacerbate gender inequality.

Read more here.

The Robots Are Coming, and Sweden Is Fine

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Sweden’s famously generous social welfare system makes this a place not prone to fretting about automation — or much else, for that matter.

Mr. Persson, 35, sits in front of four computer screens, one displaying the loader he steers as it lifts freshly blasted rock containing silver, zinc and lead. […] He is cognizant that robots are evolving by the day. Boliden is testing self-driving vehicles to replace truck drivers. But Mr. Persson assumes people will always be needed to keep the machines running. He has faith in the Swedish economic model and its protections against the torment of joblessness.

“I’m not really worried,” he says. “There are so many jobs in this mine that even if this job disappears, they will have another one. The company will take care of us.”

 

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5 Ways You Can Use Data to Improve Your Additive Manufacturing Operations in 2018

In the run-up to the New Year, we’re summarizing our key learnings of 2017 into a quick checklist for your 2018 Additive Manufacturing IT endeavors. Taking these seriously will reduce your Total Cost of Ownership and make sure you are production ready.

Let’s start with the easiest:

 

Performance Measurement

The simplest initiative is to start measuring your Overall Equipment Efficiency, Failed Build levels or other Key Performance Indicators using data from your machines. With our Machine Analytics module, you can start today with an existing dashboard or incorporate the data into your own solutions.

 

Transparency

Many of you work in organizations that already operate many printers, though you might not know where they are, what they do and how often they do it. Using device data to track your assets and processes is the first step to creating a more transparent network and learning from your experience. Our Machine Analytics module includes a Gantt chart of all historical prints fed simply by data from machines.

 

Process Automation

To see immediate ROI from your data, start by identifying manual steps you could cut out with data: How can your sales team see when the printers are available? Can we alert customers or sales teams automatically if the print fails or once it goes into production? These and many other options are part of our MES solution.

 

Traceability

Additive production has many advantages over subtractive and other processes. Among them is your level of data access – let’s use it. Provide all required traceability documentation – and more – to your customers by extracting data from the machines and digitalizing process events. MES does this, and we’re augmenting it every day: We’re excited about announcements forthcoming in 2018.

Quality

This, of course, is the big one: Using all the data generated to draw conclusions about quality that could influence the incidence of testing. There’s still plenty of work to do, but it is never too late to start developing strategies to capture all that data in order to make the necessary abstractions.

 

Call us to discuss how we can help you optimize data to improve your additive manufacturing process in 2018. The industry has tremendous opportunities if we use it wisely.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Authentise Team!

Beyond Bioprinting: The Way Ahead In Biological AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 30)

Welcome to our 30th News In Review for 2017!

We’ve all heard of the 3D printed heart and ear tissue. There is much more to bioprinting than these initial steps and, thanks to new technologies, explorations and endeavors, the road ahead is looking a whole lot more exciting. New technologies enable researchers with nanoscale control of the manufacturing environment, both low-powered and more precise, to create bioprinted scaffolds for a variety of uses. Synthetic biologist will surely make good use of the new tech: 3D printed bioreactors can be manufactured to generate specific kinds of biologic products, like proteins of even antibiotics. Bioprinting is skyrocketing, beyond the confines of our atmosphere. NASA has revealed plans to bring bioprinted cancer cells to the ISS in order to study potential treatments in a controlled, zero-g environment.

Light-directed assembly using gold nano-rods opens up 3D bioprinting applications

Using gold nano rods and near infrared laser for bioprinting

[…] the use of high-powered lasers to pattern micro/nanoscale objects has drawbacks. In particular, the substantial energy required to move material or objects means that high throughput of material is not possible. Now a team at the National University of Singapore have announced another technique to engineer living tissue. In the paper “Effective Light Directed Assembly of Building Blocks with Microscale Control” a method for improving control over the micro structure with light-directed assembly is described. The researchers believe their method could have applications for bioprinting, tissue engineering, and advanced manufacturing. Working with microfluidic-fabricated monodispersed biocompatible microparticles the scientists were able to fabricate a structure.

Check out the rest of the article here.

A better way to make drinks and drugs

Carefully selected molds churn out antibiotics. Specially engineered bacteria, living in high-tech bioreactors, pump out proteinaceous drugs such as insulin. Some brave souls even talk of taking on the petroleum industry by designing yeast or algae that will synthesize alternatives to aviation fuel and the like. Dr Nelson’s bioreactors are composed of a substance called a hydrogel, which is about 70% water. The remaining 30% is a special polymer, infused with yeast. [It can] be extruded smoothly through the nozzle of a 3D printer.The fun starts when such a [hydrogel] cube is plopped into a solution of glucose. The hydrogel is permeable to this solution, so the yeast is able to get to work on the glucose, converting it into ethanol as if it were the sugar in the wort of a brewery. […] The surprise was that it keeps on doing so, day after day, week after week, as long as the fermented solution is regularly replaced with fresh. The team’s bioreactors have continued to produce ethanol in this way for over four months now, with no signs of slowing down.

Read the full article on The Economist’s website.

NASA to take cancer fight into space with bioprinted cells

A BioCell which can contain six samples. Photo via BioServe.

NASA has revealed plans to grow bioprinted cancer cells in space in a bid to advance cancer research. Utilizing the microgravity environment, NASA hopes to the cell structures will grow in a more natural spherical shape. Since, back on earth in vitro the cells have only able been able to grow in two-dimensional layers. However to harness the cells without the presence of gravity, NASA is hoping to employ magnets.

Read more about NASA’s plans here.

 

This is it for this week, don’t forget to check out our Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin feeds for more news on the AM/IIoT world as well as updates to our services.

See you next week!