New design thinking is helping AM reach new heights (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 75)

AM is a fantastic piece of technology, but sometimes it can only go as far as the design behind it. That’s why, following the rise and promise of 3D printing techniques, new ways of designing by means of CAD and reasoning have been born, and they help boost the capabilities of AM in a number of ways. Take General Motors for example: through a technique called generative design, they are able to procedurally build the volume of a part to better address its functions and operational stresses, while at the same time saving precious weight. In other cases, new materials and design possibilities come together to enable unprecedented applications like, for example, a customized inflatable for future car interiors. With this kind of thinking, we start to see how this new wave of design methodologies is enabling AM processes to actually work. The 3D printed bridges and houses that we often hear about wouldn’t be much of a revolution by 3D printing alone, if not for a smart and optimized design that can make it work and excel.

GM and Autodesk Using Additive Manufacturing for Lighter Vehicles

GM is using Autodesk’s generative design technology and additive manufacturing to fabricate lighter automotive parts; this seat bracket is 40% lighter and 20% stronger than its predecessor. […] It uses cloud computing and AI-based algorithms to rapidly explore multiple permutations of a part design; it can generate hundreds of high-performance, often organic-looking geometric design options based on goals and parameters set by the user.

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MIT’s 3D-printed inflatables could shape the interiors of cars in the future

Car interiors could morph into different configurations at the flick of a switch, using 3D-printed inflatable structures developed by researchers at the MIT. The Self-Assembly Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) worked with BMW on the project, called Liquid Printed Pneumatics. The German auto brand wanted to see how the lab’s experimental engineering techniques could help it realize some of the shapeshifting features imagined in its futuristic concept cars.

Keep reading at Dezeen.

Additive Construction: From the 3D-Printed House to the 3D-Printed High-Rise

AM has begun to affect nearly every industry, from healthcare to aerospace, making it possible to create unique geometries with unique properties. One industry where 3D printing’s impact is at an even more nascent stage in construction. There are firms and research groups exploring the use of 3D printing as a building technology, but additive construction is still so young that its exact purpose and benefits remain speculative and unclear. Why, other than for sheer novelty, squeeze concrete out of a nozzle to fabricate a building when you can rely on traditional methods?

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How large companies are (or plan to) leverage AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 74)

Big companies are the first to experiment and get to know the features of new technologies. Their job is to stay on top of the competition and new manufacturing techniques like AM are bringing new possibilities. However, part of the process is recognizing where the technology would be most beneficial. Right now, AM is being actively employed for prototyping and iterating the design of entirely new types of parts. Ford, for example, is experimenting with large-format 3D printing to bring to its car manufacturing. For other companies, where the runs are small and often full of complex parts, AM is a real game-changer. Airbus has been 3D printing panels for its A350 XWB model airplane, saving weight and money. Even though the dream of bringing AM to mass manufacturing plants is still a ways off, progress is being made to make it a reality. Adidas is testing the fast, production-level 3D printer from Carbon to produce as many as 100’000 AM-enabled shoe pairs by the year’s end.

3D printing: Ford pilot project goes large

The automaker is running a project with Stratasys, a manufacturer of additive manufacturing systems based in Eden Prairie, Minn., that’s testing the production of big, single-piece units as prototypes, auto parts and components. Ford recognizes the Stratasys system as a potentially more efficient and affordable way to create tooling, prototype parts, make components for low-volume vehicles (such as performance cars) and produce personalized car parts.

Read more at Plant.ca

Airbus saves 15% in material weight due to 3D printing

The European aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has been working with Materialise’s Certified Additive Manufacturing for two, creating plastic parts for aircraft through 3D printing. The manufacturer has noted the benefits of 3D printing for small batch production, enabling more customization whilst being time and cost-effective.

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How Adidas Plans To Bring 3D Printing To The Masses

Adidas is not only planning to introduce by the end of this year 100,000 pairs of shoes with plastic midsoles made via a new 3D technology created by Silicon Valley startup Carbon; it’s also making moves to ramp up that production to millions in the coming years, said James Carnes, vice president of strategy creation for Adidas’s namesake brand.

“We have a really aggressive plan to scale this,” Carnes said in an interview. “We are scaling a production. The plan will put us as the (world’s) biggest producer of 3D-printed products.”

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