Why AM Certifications are so difficult (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 97)

For AM to take a greater hold on the industries it’s poised to impact, there are certain angles to smooth out and one of those is certifications. Early adopters of additive production such as aerospace and medical are rightly picky about its certifications and the AM community is making sure to have its own record straight. Safety certifications are the highest priority in this regard and Lockheed Martin’s facility in Sunnyvale, California now holds the first UL certified in the world. Govt. bodies are also moving to help a wider audience to stay within standards, like Health Canada’s newest draft guidance on AM medical devices. However, the main reason why certifications are difficult is that AM is still not an exact science. With fast and multi-spectrum monitoring technologies, we are starting to see what happens during the process. However, certain aspects of the physics behind it are full of variables we don’t understand.

Lockheed Martin extends additive manufacturing to key spacecraft components

Lockheed Martin’s Additive Design and Manufacturing Center in Sunnyvale, California, where the company produces military, commercial and civil space technology, attained a comprehensive safety certification.

“We are the first UL certified additive manufacturing facility in the world,” Servando Cuellar, Lockheed Martin Space Systems engineering senior manager, told SpaceNews.

Read more here.

Health Canada Drafts Policies on 3D-Printed Implantable Devices

Health Canada Drafts Policies on 3D-Printed Implantable Devices

 

 

 

 

Health Canada released draft guidance Thursday to aid manufacturers in preparing license applications for implantable medical devices produced by additive manufacturing or 3D-printing. The guidance “represents the first phase of 3D-printing policy in Canada” because Health Canada intends to continuously adapt its policies to emerging issues on the topic “due to the fast-changing technological environment,” the regulator said.

Read the full article here.

High-Speed Cameras Used to Monitor 3D Printing Process

3D printing, particularly laser-powder bed fusion or L-PBF, requires a great deal of monitoring to avoid defects and flaws in the final parts. In a thesis entitled “Process Monitoring for Temporal-Spatial Modeling of Laser Powder Bed Fusion,” a student named Animek Shaurya studies the use of high-speed video cameras for in-situ monitoring of the 3D printing process of nickel alloy 625 to detect meltpool, splatter, and over melting regions to improve the quality of the print.

Read more here.

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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.

 

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Metal printing, the coming production phase (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 58)

Scalability of 3D printing in an industrial context requires a few hurdles to overcome, one of the foremost being printing speeds. Most current generation metal printers have printing times that can’t compete with common injection molding or CNC products, not to mention the time required for post-processing and more. Initially, the metal printing industry was focusing on different features to drive the growth of the sector, specifically material choice, precision and reliability. Now, companies like Seurat Technologies, Velo3D and Spee3D are poised to satisfy the demand to put 3D printers in the factory floor for good. As with FDM tech, SLS patents are expiring and opening the dam for new companies to be born. It’s only a matter of time before 3D printing is going to be competitive from a time standpoint with other traditional manufacturing technologies.

Is Velo3D secretly working to revolutionize 3D metal printing for robotics?

As you might recall, plastic 3D printing really took off back in 2009 when a key patent on deposition technology expired, opening the way for 3D printing technology to significantly drop in price. Metal 3D printing, by and large, relies on the far more expensive selective laser sintering technology, for which the patent expired in 2014. This was, as Silicon Valley expert Tekla Perry reminds the world, just before Velo3D was founded. All metal 3D printing experts, however, believe that the metal breakthrough is to come from the material side (rather than the SLS side), and Perry suggests that Velo3D could be working on that breakthrough.

Find out more about Velo3D here.

Seurat Technologies raises $13.5M to accelerate game-changing metal 3D printing technology

Seurat Technologies, a Silicon Valley-based startup, announces it has raised $13.5 million in a Series A funding round. The significant investment will reportedly be put towards funding and accelerating the company’s much-hyped metal additive manufacturing technology.

Read more about it here.

SPEE3D announces global launch of ‘Supersonic Metal 3D Printing’

SPEE3D, Melbourne, Australia, has announced the company’s official global launch and availability of its industrial metal Additive Manufacturing systems. Designed for scalable, just in time production, SPEE3D is said to be the world’s first metal 3D printer leveraging supersonic 3D deposition (SP3D) technology to deliver manufacturing grade printing at production speeds.

Rather than using heat to melt metal powders, SPEE3D’s patented technology uses supersonic deposition in which a rocket nozzle accelerates air up to three times the speed of sound to deliver manufacturing grade metal and high-density parts.

Read more about it here.

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RAPID: AM Future in Mass Manufacturing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 21)

This week was RAPID‘s week. The news outlets were populated with interesting announcements, from innovative processes to new products, pushing AM’s boundary even further. And there is one thing of which RAPID this year was a testament to: AM is going full-throttle towards mass manufacturing. As a prototyping technology it has far surpassed traditional production means and now the industry is betting big that it will permeate the factory plant of tomorrow. Through process and size improvements, production logistic systems and a software arsenal that is capable of effectively integrating AM within the manufacturing plant workflow, all the issues preventing AM to be utilized in a mass manufacturing environment will be dealt with. Manufacturing processes will go hybrid, symbiotically allowing us to achieve so much more. AM is the missing piece of the multitool of the future.

3D Hybrid Solutions with Multiax to launch “world’s largest metal 3D printer” at RAPID

The large format CNC machine made by Multiax. Image via 3D Hybrid Solutions.

 

3D Hybrid Solutions has announced it will launch a large-scale metal 3D printer at RAPID 2017 following a collaboration with CNC machining company Multiax. Based in Philadelphia, 3D Hybrid Solutions develops additive manufacturing tools for existing CNC machinery. The joint venture, which will be unveiled in Pittsburgh during the RAPID conference, combines this expertise with Multiax’s large-scale 5-axis CNC machines. Resulting in a machine which the company claims is “the world’s largest metal 3D printer” with a build chamber of “500 cubic meters.” According to 3D Hybrid Solutions, not only will the system be the largest metal 3D printer, it “will also be one of the fastest metal 3D printers with speeds beyond 20 pounds per hour.”

Read the full story here.

BLACKBELT unveils 3D printer on a conveyor belt for continuous FDM printing

The machine is perfect for creating large horizontal parts like signs. Photo via Blackbelt.

Aimed at producing large-scale, continuous prints and for series production, the Blackbelt machine brings a new way of thinking about 3D printing. Conveyor belts are often associated with factory production and it seems appropriate for Blackbelt’s device to incorporate this belt system. The Blackbelt 3D printer houses its 3 print heads on an X-Y actuation system, with the Z-axis in the form of a conveyor belt. This allows for theoretically infinite sized horizontal parts. The idea of infinite size is something Stratasys is addressing with its Infinite Build 3D printer. The device is currently undergoing testing at Ford Motors.

Read more here.

Innovative Uses of Geometric Search to Advance Additive Manufacturing

Assessing CAD data effectively and accurately is the first step to efficient and successful build processes. Many such processes, such as quoting, increasingly rely on cloud applications and require distribution of sensitive IP. For some industries that is unacceptable. Sending CAD data off-site can be the biggest roadblock to developing sophisticated process automation. As a solution, we apply existing geometric search algorithms to identify similar, white-listed designs that can be used in place of sensitive IP. By using a similar design that has been pre-screened for export we eliminate security issues. We’ve found that seamless, secure benchmarking and quoting operations are possible while maintaining strict security policies. In this presentation, we’ll discuss several potential use cases for geometric search including identifying previously fulfilled orders to compare the overall cost to produce or the ability to identify potential suppliers. We’ll also discuss drawbacks of using geometric search and limitations of our techniques. Tools such as geometric search have a variety of uses if used intelligently and can help businesses maintain control of sensitive IP.

 

Don’t forget to come back next week for another edition of the News-In-Review. Also, our Twitter account is very active, come check us out!

 

Our Autonomous, Decentralized Future (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 19)

Ever since the first applications in the Ford automotive pipeline, industrial automation has taken giant steps in assuring a both voluminous and efficient production process. Nonetheless, the centralized framework on which it has thrived does no longer provide an optimal economy for today’s hyper-connected society and infrastructure. Highly automated systems are being put in place to intelligently tackle manufacturing issues, capable of addressing objectives in a decentralized manner. IIoT is a prime example of this, where edge computing combines data collection, analysis and action outside the realm of influence of a central authority. An open source framework, coupled with a mix of microservices is a sound answer to what the future of industrial automation might be. Similarly, AM’s flexible nature is making it possible to rethink manufacturing operations. Small, low-cost machines can work autonomously and in parallel in order to manage various production orders intelligently. Even more farsightedly, Siemens envisions swarms of 3D printing robots capable of subdividing bigger prints into smaller units, working in-situ.

The Move to a Common Open IoT Framework

Loosely-Coupled Microservice Platform Architecture. Source: EdgeX Foundry

In order for the [IIoT] to truly take off, connecting devices to the cloud—or on the edge of the network— needs to be fast, easy and affordable. It is also important that the suppliers of automation technology embrace open standards so that these “things” are interoperable. […] This week, Opto 22 takes its commitment to open standards a step further with the announcement that it has joined The Linux Foundation as a silver level member. According to Opto 22, this strategic move is the company doing its part to “spearhead the adoption of open-source technology in the industrial automation and process control industries, and accelerate the rollout of Industrial Internet of Things application.”

Read more at Automation World.

Markforged plans large-scale digital metal manufacturing with 3D print farms

Sintering multiple 17-4 Stainless Steel Sprockets. Image via Markforged.

The future of metal 3D printing is in print farms says Markforged CEO, Greg Mark. While a number of companies are attempting to create machinery capable of industrial metal 3D printing, Greg Mark believes these “large-format metal printers will be replaced by smaller, low-cost machines working in parallel – print-farms.”

3D metal print-farms will shorten development time, closing the gap between prototyping and production.

Markforged intends to develop a system that allows for rapid production of strong metal parts. For Markforged, farming is the solution for large scale metal 3D printing production. Currently, 3D printing farms are mainly working with plastics.

Read more of their AM farm plans here.

Siemens Contemplating “Swarm” 3D Printing?

Siemens’ experimental production robot.

A report on Forbes details work undertaken by Siemens to develop a “mobile robotic 3D printer” concept. The curious-looking small robot was developed last year and since then has served as an experimental platform for developing software for future production use.

[…] some day, the same software that is helping the robotic spiders crawl the floor while avoiding obstacles and keeping their printing parts in balance could enable whole new systems of factory work – on tasks much more complex than assembling handheld toys.

For example, a team of robots could work together on a new kind of fuselage cylinder for airplanes. If each robot could attack the job from a different angle, they might build complex shapes together that no single printer could create by itself.

Read more about Siemens undertaking here.

 

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Evolving Scene of Metal AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 15)

This week was chock-full of news related to metal AM. The global scene is intensely researching the potential of metal AM and competitiveness is growing in all its aspects: metal powder production, CAD optimization, manufacturing method and much more. This week we saw exposed not one, but two new methods of metal AM! LLNL and the University of Sheffield both came out with novel techniques to produce produce metal objects additively and they both have their own unique benefits, being that increased speed or greater reliability. All the while we are making strides in understanding the complex physics involved in metal sintering processes: greater knowledge and improved optimization software is also crucial to manufacture metal parts reliably and efficiently.

 

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announces new metal 3D printing method

US federal research facility, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has announced the results of an ongoing three-year research project into direct metal 3D printing. The technology, referred to as ‘Direct Metal Writing’ (DMW) adds to existing metal additive solutions such as selective laser melting (SLM). […] The new approach uses semi-solid metal feed material, beginning with a heated ingot or small block of metal. Once heated to a semi-solid state, the metal is then pushed through the extruder in a paste-like consistency. The material is shear thinning, which means it forms as a solid when left to rest and acts more like a viscous liquid when in motion or when applied with force.

Read more about DMW here.

Significant Speed Up For 3D Metal Printing Developed

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed a unique 3D metal printing process that could dramatically speed up metal printing. […] they call “Diode Area Melting”, or “DAM”. Instead of a single (or small number of) lasers, the DAM approach involves using an array of low power laser diode emitters. These emitters are not directed to the powder by an arrangement of mirrors, but instead are positioned above the powder surface and apply their energy directly.

Read more about DAM right here.

Challenges in modeling and simulation for metal additive manufacturing

Commercial acceptance of AM for exacting applications still faces a technical challenge caused by the limited understanding of physical phenomena in the melt pool. Real-time observation of this physical phenomena is difficult since AM melt pools are inherently transient and involve complex physical interactions between energy beam-powder substrate. Moreover, the real-time measurements of thermal and fluid variables can typically be made only on the surface of the melt pool. In contrast, a numerical simulation of mass, momentum, and energy transfer in melt pools can provide approximation of the melt pool shape and some useful 3D fields such as the distributions of temperature, flow velocities, solidification temperature gradient and solidification rate. Ultimately, an understanding of the relationships between processing, structure, properties and performance is essential.

Check out both parts of the article, here and here.

 

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