The Additive Manufacturing Ecosystem: a Round-Up

2019-10-16

Aya Bentur  

Jaguar Land Rover 3D Printed Gloves

This week we’ve prepared a round-up of some of the latest news in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) ecosystem. This round-up focuses less on the side of technical innovation and more on news items that offer an insight into the current progression of the AM ecosystem, here are 5 recent news.

Turing a Lose-Lose to a Win-Win

LEGO is taking action against homemakers and tinkerers that are uploading files for 3D printed LEGO parts (such as the part below). The frustration the company faces when dealing with unauthorized parts is clear yet one can hope that in the not so far future the company will provide their own authorized and authenticated files for 3D printing LEGO parts. Putting the file parts out there for a lower price and enabling their fans to buy missing parts or specific parts can be beneficial for both the company and the fans. I would be more than happy to pay for a file part knowing that it’s adaptable to the rest of the LEGO parts.

3D Printed LEGO Part

A New Perspective

Next week a new AM report will be released by SmarTech Analysis. The report titled The Additive Manufacturing Applications Market Analysis Report is said to focus on an evaluation of the top applications in the AM world. Meaning looking at the parts produced as opposed to reports focusing on machines, materials, etc. We’ve been advocating for a report like this for years – looking forward to it at the end of the month!

How a 300-Year Industry Implemented AM

Kaspar Schulz GmbH has been manufacturing brewing equipment for over 300 years now. Lately, the company teamed up with GE Additive in redesigning 2 applications for additive manufacturing. One of these parts is a racking blade used to separate and rinse the spent grain. Their goal in the redesign process was to improve the filtration effect, increase efficiency and reduce working time. The end product is a thin blade with internal channels that distribute the water evenly. Dr. Matthew Beaumont, GE Additive’s CEC Munich site leader, discussed the process: “the design team was quickly able to come up with a design to efficiently loosen the spent grains and inject water, throughout the bed, during rotation”. The process and outcome lean on GE’s previous knowledge and experience in utilizing AM in aerospace and industrial applications, translating it to the brewing industry.

Kaspar Schulz and GE Additive 3D Printed Racking Blade for Brewing equipment

Health First

Another use case of AM in industrial fields is the 3D printed gloves developed by Jaguar Land Rover in order to protect employees from musculoskeletal disorders (below and up top). The gloves are designed in a personally customized lattice structure combined with a foam pad meant to absorb impacts caused by repetitive tasks using the palm of the hand, such as fitting parts. Here, again, is an example of a win-win situation – the gloves will protect the health of the workers, and the company will cut costs related to time-off and compensation due to workplace injuries.

Jaguar Land Rover 3D Printed Gloves for musculoskeletal disorders

Debunked

Fast Company published an article highlighting the 5 Biggest myths around 3D printing. The myths the article debunks are: everyone will print their own firearms, it will destroy the environment, it will steal our jobs, it’s too expensive, and everyone will print fake products. While the last one on the list was indeed debunked there are better solutions than the ones outlined in the article that solve it completely.

The AM ecosystem is constantly producing news, there is always more to discuss. Tell us about your news in the comments below or email us. For more insights and information follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates.

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