The Trifecta of Manufacturing Agility: Software, Hardware and the IIOT (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 65)

The world of today’s economy requires businesses to keep a quick pace with the demands of the market. The globalization of products and services made it so that, to stay competitive, product iteration and deployment must be quick and effective. Fortunately, we have the technological foundation to enable this kind of model. A combination of hardware, software and analytical tools put businesses in the position to close the iterative circle of prototyping and manufacturing in a lean fashion. Manufacturing technologies like 3D printing and hybrid manufacturing platforms give the tools needed to experiment and ultimately produce finished goods for almost any circumstance. The digital world we have weaved enables CAD and software to travel and be shared, creating an ecosystem in which everyone is uplifted. Finally, the IIoT is empowering everyone through the might of data-driven insights, interconnecting information hotspots and putting processing power to work on spotting operational inefficiencies.

Engineers Create 4D Printer that Combines Four 3D Printing Techniques

Engineers Create 4D Printer that Combines Four 3D Printing Techniques

[3D printing] Still somewhat in its infancy, the last decade has witnessed a generous body of research that seeks to exploit its uses more than we could have ever imagined. One example comes from a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology, led by Professor H. Jerry Qi from the University’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Their aim was simple: 4D printing. Or put in a different way, to create a machine that combines multiple materials into one 3D printer.

Read the full article here and the paper here.

3D Life Launches 3D Anatomical Heart Library

Justin Ryan, Research Scientist at the Cardiac 3D Print Lab, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, holds a 3D printed heart model. Photo via Philips USA.

[3D Life] are meeting the demand for anatomical models by launching a 3D anatomical heart library, providing medical professionals with access to 3D printing. The USA’s National Institutes of Health offers a similar library covering a broader range of medical models freely available as .STL files, but without the printing services offered by 3D Life.

Leonardo Bilalis, Design Engineer, hopes that the library will promote “better knowledge of [how 3D printed] organs can be used for surgery preparation for complex problems”, “making operations shorter and more efficient.”

Read more about it here.

IIoT Analytics are Just Numbers, Unless You Solve a Business Problem

IIoT-Analytics-are-Just-Numbers-Unless-You-Solve-a-Business-Problem

There is lots of excitement about analytics and machine learning. It’s moving through its hype-cycle but still faces many challenges. Putting aside other challenges, solving real business issues is still a major shortcoming. If your reporting and analytics is counting “things” – just buy a calculator. Find a business problem to solve, and then you will see real value.

 

Read the full article here.

 

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War stories from the AM Battlefield

Despite its rapid growth in recent years, the Additive Manufacturing User Group is still just that: A user group of amazingly talented individuals with long experience with every aspect of the technology. It’s the reason we love being there.

So while we showed off our Manufacturing Execution System and 3Diax Modular Platforms in the Exhibits, we were keen to build on the ethos of AMUG during the sessions. The result was a roundtable on the challenges companies are experiencing while they seek to scale up their additive manufacturing operations. We act as organizers – the audience are the real star.

I do a lot of public speaking, and frankly – complete control via a prepared speech is a LOT less nerve-wracking than hoping that people participate. But we were not disappointed by the User Group; the collaborative nature of the event showed up in full force and thanks to the excellent moderation of Additive Manufacturing Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Pete Zelinski, came to highly productive uses.

Authentise AMUG roundtable on challenges in additive
Authentise AMUG roundtable on challenges in Additive Manufacturing

So what were some of the topics people came up with?

Multi-material Documentation

Challenge: Multi-material, for example ABS infused with carbon, is becoming more prevalent, but the file definitions remain a major barrier. Line drawings certainly don’t do the trick anymore, especially as the complexity grows with deviations, infill requirements, orientation and more.

Comments: One participant suggested using XML structures attached to the geometry, while others referred to Model Based Design efforts that help to go beyond simple geometries and address scalability issues with the first suggestion through NIST-sponsored standardization.

Managing Downtime

Challenge: Despite the digital nature of AM, there are still significant challenges even in basic operations: How do we know when something is down? How do we include expected, predicted or current downtime in our schedules? How do we maintain throughput in a failure scenario?

Comments: This one was close to our own heart, Authentise’s MES was mentioned not just once in this context. In addition, participants pointed out that solutions go beyond data-driven scheduling software – they include additional sensors, machine learning to better predict run times, standarizing machine data access, furthering the use of augmented reality for machine maintainance and more.

Part Certification

Challenge: Lack of fully documented testing knowledge means we might be spending too much time and money testing, documenting, standardizing and more. How much testing is really necessary to make sure a part can fly.

Comments: Naturally, answers here differ by industry. They range from dozens of successful builds to just two. Standard practice seems to be freezing particular machine and locking in orientation, build plate setting and support.
There was a vigorous exchange on these and other topics. Certainly, there were a lot of things we could have done better (like adding interactive voting tools, such as PollEverywhere), but the audience really took up the mantle; AMUG participants are collectively smarter than any speaker they could put up. Encouraging conversations about challenges and solutions is the best way to learn – for ourselves and for participants. We’ll certainly be back next year and build on this success.