The 5Ps of Additive Manufacturing

In the recent article “Lockheed Martin Looks to Catch Up in 3D Printing”(http://advancedmanufacturing.org/lockheed-5ps-additive-manufactuirng/), an overview is provided of a seminar in which Robert Ghobrial, the additive manufacturing lead, spoke. Robert Ghobrial was clear that while Lockheed Martin is still exploring 3D manufacturing and the most effective ways to use the new technology, they were making great headway, and had already seen some recent successes. Ghobrial also provided what he called “The 5Ps of Additive Manufacturing”, which outline how additive manufacturing can help aerospace, defense, and other businesses. The 5Ps are:

  1. Proposal: “3D printing can make giveaways at trade shows; architectural and space models; and aid in customer/client communication.”
  2. Prototype: “3D printed prototypes help with design validation and proof of concept development.”
  3. Procurement: “Can we make something vs. buying it?”
  4. Production Support: “3D printing can support production by helping make assembly fixtures, manufacturing tooling, production templates, inspection fixtures and machine safeguards.”
  5. Production: “AM can produce end-use parts; make parts on demand for spares, warranty and repairs support; and even manage obsolescence.”

These 5Ps provide all of a unique perspective into some of the ways many businesses may be able to employ 3D printing. How effective will additive manufacturing be in the long run? Only time will tell.

3D Printing and the IoT

Have you ever thought about the immense amount of potential uses of 3D printing? In the article, “Smart Sensory Prosthetic Links Wearers to the IoT with 3D Printing”(http://3dprintingindustry.com/2015/09/17/smart-sensory-prosthetic-links-wearers-to-the-iot/), the potential of 3D printing is stretched with new use in the prosthetic limb industry. The article is focused on Troy Baverstock, a 3D printing enthusiast and a student at Australia’s Griffith University. Baverstock has used his expertise in 3D printing to develop limbU, a “3D printed add-on for prosthetic legs that is equipped with various sensors to help prosthetic users keep track of their internal and external worlds”. LimbU differs from its various competitors in that it connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth to track the intensity, speed, number of steps, as well as monitors altitude, direction, and GPS coordinates. The data collected by the limbU also assists doctors to monitor rehabilitation efforts on a daily basis. Additionally, the covers of the limbU come in various colors and designs. What other ways can 3D printing have an effect within the medical market? How else can 3D printing and the IoT partner to provide a better customer experience?

An Eye to the Future

In the article “An eye to the Future – Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing of Bespoke Eyewear”(http://www.paconsulting.com/our-experience/additive-manufacturing-3d-printing-bespoke-eyewear/), the boundaries and potential of 3D printing are explored. The article starts specifically reviewing the spectacle industry and then delves into its reach into other markets. While the manufacturing hasn’t changed in over 50 years, recent developments in additive manufacturing are making a push from “a prototyping tool to the manufacture of low volume production items for products as diverse as aircraft parts and cookie cutters.” As a test, PA, a spectacle company, set up a design team at the 2014 London Design Festival’s TENT exhibition. In the shop of the future, the user would scan their face, let the software work out the optimal fit .The final product could then be printed to the customer’s specifications. This stand “demonstrated how existing, affordable cutting-edge technologies such as digital FDM 3D printing can already be used to create unique ranges of highly personalized fashion products.” To finish, the article also lists other diverse market items that smart manufacturing is being used in. These vary from medical injectors to an ‘ecoMeter’ in home display. With this information however, several questions are raised. Does a company need different 3D printers to successfully manufacture different products? Are skilled workers needed to manufacture each specific item? Will 3D printing increase the amount of jobs in the working force?

The Rise of 3D Printing

In the article “Why 3D printing is on the rise in industrial manufacturing” (http://www.plantservices.com/articles/2015/why-3d-printing-is-on-the-rise-in-industrial-manufacturing/), the process of 3D printing is explained, and the current status as well as future projections are analyzed. 3D printing is the process of printing “in three dimensions instead of two, by selectively depositing a build material in successive layers and then fusing those layers together.”  Per a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 67% of surveyed manufacturers are currently implementing 3D printing, while 25% more indicate plans to adopt 3D printing in the future. Additionally, Canalys estimated the 3D printing global market to be $3.8 billion in 2014, with a projected rise to $16.2 billion by 2018. In conclusion, the article explains some of the various types of 3D printing such as Stereolithography, PolyJet, Fused Deposition Modeling, as well as several others, and how they are used today. 

3D Printing in the Aerospace Industry

In the article “Factory of the Future: New Ways of Manufacturing” (http://www.airbusgroup.com/int/en/story-overview/factory-of-the-future.html) the changes and improvements in manufacturing are explored with a specific emphasis on how 3D printing can add to the new and innovative model of “smart manufacturing” within the aerospace industry. The article articulates that Airbus Group has “started using ALM for tooling, prototyping, making parts for test flights and also for parts that will fly on commercial aircraft.” It also states that components produced through ALM are starting to be used in different aircraft ranging from the next-generation A350 XWB to in-service jetliners from the A300/A310 division. Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), or 3D printing, are being heavily utilized because of their ability to “produce prototypes and series components, potentially delivering cheaper and lighter parts.” The article finishes with the quote, “3D printing is the dream of any engineer. You have an idea, you print overnight and the next morning you have a new part in your hands.” How can 3D printing use be expanded in the aerospace industry? Will it become feasible for 3D printing to be used in other industries as well? What are some of the difficulties in implementing this technology?

The Future of 3-D Printing

The article, “The 3-D Printing Revolution”(https://hbr.org/2015/05/the-3-d-printing-revolution), delves into “additive manufacturing” and the impact it is having on the modern manufacturing industry. Additive manufacturing is the process of manufacturing a product layer by layer, instead of removing, grinding, or cutting off excess material. Per the article, 3-D printing was being used by 11% of companies surveyed in 2014. In order to reach an adoption level of mainstream, they must reach 20% according to Gartner analysts. Several companies contributing to the increase in the use of 3-D printing are GE, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Aurora Flight Services, Invisalign, Google, and LUXeXcel. It is important to acknowledge that not only are most of these very prominent companies in today’s market, but also they stem from vary diverse sectors of the market. The article also includes that the 2014 sales of 3-D printers had already reached one-third of the volume of industrial automation and robotic sales with some future projections being up to 42%. With the increase in 3-D printing being so prominent, is there any market it won’t be able to affect? Will there be an increase in the need of trained workers as the number of 3-D printers increases?

3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

The article “Why 3D Printing is on the Rise in Industrial Manufacturing” (http://www.plantservices.com/articles/2015/why-3d-printing-is-on-the-rise-in-industrial-manufacturing/) explores the benefits and future potential of 3D printing in the industrial and smart manufacturing industries. Per a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, “67% of surveyed manufacturers said that they are currently implementing 3D printing in some way, with 25% more indicating that they plan on adopting it in the future”. Why are so many companies adopting 3D printing, and what effects could it have? One of the main reasons referenced in this article as to why 3D printing is so influential is that it is an “additive manufacturing” process. This means that instead of “subtractive processes”, where raw material is cut away or removed in some other process, “additive processes such as 3D printing build a 3D object by depositing material in successive layers and then fusing the layers together”. This removes waste and speeds up production time. Lastly, 3D printing can produce infinite custom designs specific to the customer need. As 3D technology advances and more companies adopt this technology, this article projects an increase in quality and speed of production while simultaneously cutting waste. What problems could 3D printing cause? How expensive is the research, production, and installation of 3D printers? Is specific training needed to effectively use a 3D printer?