Reinventing Additive Manufacturing
Article Published in March 2018 Edition of Manufacturing Technology Insights
With the intention of showcasing their latest manufacturing technology, one of the development partners of Cincinnati Incorporated (CI), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) decided to participate in the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Their project had an overwhelming set of displays for a variety of technologies, including metal 3D printing, remote wireless charging of a car, 3D printed crash-absorbing structures and large-scale BAAM (Big Area Additive Manufacturing) printed tools. 60 days before the show, the development partner decided to scrap the original display plans and build one technology demonstrator based on a full-scale Shelby Cobra. With the assistance of CI, the partner was able to create a suitable 'show car' demonstration in eight weeks.
"The project was such a hit that the prototype has been on a world tour, making stops at exhibits like the International Manufacturing Technology Show held in Chicago and COP21, the International Climate Talks in Paris, the White House, and shows on The Discovery Channel," says Carey Chen, the president, CEO, and Chairman of the Board at CI.
Over the years, CI has assisted many organizations through its innovative initiatives to reinvigorate a leadership position for itself in technology, quality, and service to its customers.
Having established a rich heritage of making some of the world's most robust metal fabricating machinery including press brakes, shears, and lasers, the firm has expanded its operations into additive manufacturing landscape.
"Traditionally, 3D printers were making small fragile parts for visualization of product prototypes which was expensive and slow. Further, the additive industry continues to make parts with smaller layers for better resolutions and surface conditions which inherently take a long time to operationalize," says Chen.
By leveraging the principle and thought - complexity is not necessarily free - CI creates larger layers that can be finished to meet accuracy or visual requirements post-processing. This enables clients to print items at full scale, instead of printing small trinkets which decreases time and increases productivity.
SAAM is completely automated, which enables it to produce part afer part without needing constant attention from a team of administrators
In comparison to a typical 3D printer that can produce a one pound part in about a day, the CI BAAM can create a 50 to 80 pound part in about an hour. "BAAM has been built to run around the clock. It is rugged enough to be used in a manufacturing environment and does not need to be in an office space or clean room," adds Chen.
Being a 119-year-old machine tool company, CI's partnership with ORNL has been instrumental to its continuous improvement journey.
Through its collaboration with ORNL, CI has been able to accelerate its product development cycle timeline to six months. "We signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with ORNL in February 2014 and had our first order for a machine in July," mentions Chen. Since then, CI has partnered with numerous companies in the development of BAAM to satisfy new applications by building new materials for 3D printing.
In their quest to innovate and develop continuously, CI is expanding its market into smaller additive manufacturing machinery. In November 2017, the firm recently acquired a company based in Boston - New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) - to make a smaller printer called SAAM (Small Area Additive Manufacturing). The printer has been programmed on the cloud that allows it to be shared with a large number of engineers seamlessly. Chen adds, "SAAM is completely automated, which enables it to produce part after part without needing constant attention from a team of administrators."
Top 10 3D Printing Solution
Providers - 2018
With the application and implementation of latest technologies like Continuous Liquid Interface Production, hybrid printing, blockchains, automated processes, integrated softwares,
and collaborations for standardized processes, 3D printing has revolutionized the product manufacturing industry. Today, additive manufacturing is making significant inroads into the
manufacturing floor and production process. With additive manufacturing, companies are able to create prototypes rapidly that cut costs and cater to their needs in a more versatile manner
as compared to the conventional techniques.
The use of 3D printing has not only offered great designing freedom but has also reduced the product development cycle. The advanced modeling techniques used in 3D printing simplify
the prototype schematics significantly reducing industrial waste. A notable advantage offered by 3D printing is making production much more economical by fostering creation of strong, durable parts and products with no discernable layering. With escalating applications of this printing technique the concept of Manufacture as a Service (MaaS) does not seem a far-fetched idea. With MaaS, manufacturers will benefit from faster upgrades and an improved ability to innovate with minimal downtime. This technology has evolved and has reestablished
its application standards by manifolds.
To help agencies choose the best solution provider, Manufacturing Technology Insights brings forth a competitive list of the best service providers in the 3D printing field. Our distinguished panel comprising of eminent CEOs, CIOs, VCs, and analysts, along with Manufacturing Technology Insights’ editorial board has assessed several 3D Printing Solution Providers and shortlisted the ones that are distinctively prominent in the field. We present you Manufacturing Technology Insights’ “Top 10 3D Printing Solution Providers - 2018.”