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