How Metal 3D Printing can be a Game Changer for Med Device Development

ANNIE CASHMAN| August 20, 2018
HOW METAL 3D PRINTING CAN BE A GAME CHANGER FOR MED DEVICE DEVELOPMENT
At Protolabs, we are seeing an increased adoption by our medical device partners of direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), the additive manufacturing process that 3D prints industrial-grade metal parts. This is especially the case in the robotics, disposable instrumentation, and orthopedic segments.

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Additive Manufacturing: A Ground-breaking Change to Empower Industry 4.0

Article | November 20, 2021

Advanced manufacturing enables the concept of industry 4.0 and represents a significant milestone in the manufacturing industry. Additive manufacturing is a critical component of the industry 4.0 concept, propelling the industry to new heights of innovation. In various fields that are not immediately related to industry 4.0 or manufacturing, additive manufacturing has alternatively been referred to as 3D printing. The numerous advantages of additive manufacturing, such as reduced cost and time, are boosting its popularity and use in manufacturing and other industries. “Digital technology is so empowering on so many fronts, but for it to be empowering, it must be for everyone.” – Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive (Manufacturing) at Microsoft. The global market of additive manufacturing is anticipated to increase at a 14.42 percent compound annual growth rate from USD 9.52 billion in 2020 to USD 27.91 billion in 2025. According to this market research, the future of 3D printing or additive manufacturing is quite bright in the coming years, and we will see widespread application across industries. First, let us understand the idea of additive manufacturing and its benefits to various industries. Concept of Additive Manufacturing Additive manufacturing is building a real thing from a three-dimensional computer model, often by successively layering a material. This technique utilizes computer-aided design (CAD) software or 3D object scanners to command devices to deposit material in exact geometric shapes layer by layer. As the name implies, additive manufacturing involves the addition of material to produce an object. Additive Manufacturing Benefits Produces Fewer Scraps and Trash When we compare additive manufacturing to traditional manufacturing techniques such as milling or turning, additive manufacturing adds only the amount of material required to build a product. As a result, it generates less waste and conserves scarce resources. Reduces the Time and Cost of Prototyping Making a product prototype is now faster, easier, and cheaper. Other production processes, like milling, have high setup and material costs. Prototyping is less expensive and takes less time, so you can quickly produce, test, and modify. It also shows practically instant verification of progress done. It Encourages the Digitalization of Businesses Continuous and effective communication between devices, machines, and robots is required for additive manufacturing. However, this is only achievable with effective digitization of production processes. As a result, businesses invest more in digital and IoT, a prerequisite for Industry 4.0. It Simplifies the Assembling Process by Condensing it into a Single Component Additive manufacturing in Industry 4.0 also simplifies the production process, especially product assembly. A traditional component requires numerous manufacturing procedures. This increases material and labor expenses as well as production time. However, additive manufacturing allows you to print the group in one piece. The Top Three Industries That Make the Most Use of Additive Manufacturing Additive manufacturing is presently used in a variety of industries. However, specific sectors make the best use of it. Thus, we will examine the industries embracing additive manufacturing technology and emerging with new life easing solutions. Healthcare In the healthcare industry, dentistry is the critical application of additive manufacturing. Technology helps it create bridges, crowns, braces, and dentures, always in high demand. Additive manufacturing has also been used to create tissues and organs, surgical tools, patient-specific surgical models, and personalized prosthetics. For example, many medical equipment companies employ 3D printing to build patient-specific organ replicas that surgeons can practice before completing complex surgeries. Aerospace Additive manufacturing is utilized to fabricate metal brackets that serve as structural components within airplanes. Prototypes are increasingly being printed in three dimensions, allowing designers to fine-tune the shape and fit of finished parts. In addition, interior airplane components such as cockpit dashboards and door handles are manufactured using 3D printing services. Automotive 3D printing can manufacture molds and thermoforming tools, grips, jigs, and fixtures for the automotive industry. Automakers utilize additive printing to customize parts for specific vehicles or drivers (e.g., seats for racing cars). An appealing colored dashboard, efficient fuel systems, and complicated braking mechanisms are all possible with 3D printing in the automotive industry. Therefore, it is best suited for pre-production, manufacture, and modification of automotive parts. How Does NASA use additive manufacturing in its space projects? The space environment has always been unpredictable, and scientists must be adequately prepared before embarking on any space mission. They must consider the durability and weight of all the objects they propose to transport into space. To land any object on a planet that does not have a flat surface or similar weather conditions to earth, scientists must design each object with these considerations in mind. “You always want it to be as light as possible, but you also want it to be strong enough.” -Chris Chapman, NASA Test Engineer It is not conceivable to make items capable of dealing with all the changes on other planets and achieving these project objectives using conventional materials and production processes. However, scientists do require a technique that will enable them to manufacture lighter and stronger objects for their space missions. 3D printing has played a significant part in meeting this demand and has provided space projects to manufacture objects that would withstand any unexpected events during space missions. For example, NASA employed 3D-printed metal components in their Mars project. NASA's specialized engineers are utilizing additive manufacturing to create rocket engines and possible Moon and Mars outposts. NASA used the 11 3D printed metal components on its Mars mission as well. It employed 3D printed components for the first time in the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012. It was a successful project, and NASA has since begun employing 3D printed parts in its space missions to make machines lighter while remaining robust and functional. Final Words Additive manufacturing technology is making a real difference in the manufacturing process, and it is becoming the trending technology in the manufacturing industry. The benefits of additive manufacturing make the manufacturing process more advanced, easy, and customer-oriented. Additive manufacturing is the major transformation in the manufacturing industry and will take it to new heights of precision. FAQ Why is additive manufacturing critical? Additive manufacturing reduces the time and cost of prototyping and reduces the scraps amount during the manufacturing process of any object. In addition, it simplifies multiple processes from various industries. Are additive manufacturing and 3D printing the same? Yes, additive manufacturing and 3D printing are the same processes with different names as per the choice of the different industries. For example, in some industries such as space missions, It is also referred to as Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). Which is the most applied sector for additive manufacturing? Healthcare is the industry that utilizes additive manufacturing technology the most. It also helps medical practitioners practice surgery on any critical body part with its 3D printed model from human tissues. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why is additive manufacturing critical?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Additive manufacturing reduces the time and cost of prototyping and reduces the scraps amount during the manufacturing process of any object. In addition, it simplifies multiple processes from various industries." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Are additive manufacturing and 3D printing the same?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Yes, additive manufacturing and 3D printing are the same processes with different names as per the choice of the different industries. 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Rex Moore Proves Project Business Automation Provides Predictive and Proactive Resource Requirements

Article | July 28, 2021

Rex Moore Group, Inc. is a Top50 electrical contractor delivering unmatched integrated electrical solutions. As an early adopter of Lean manufacturing principles, Rex Moore has created a company-wide culture of continuous improvement that drives significant value to their clients. The firm contracts and performs both design/build and bid work for all electrical, telecommunications, and integrated systems market segments. Rex Moore has a full-service maintenance department to cover emergency and routine requirements for all facilities, whether an existing facility or one that has been recently completed by the company. The ability to negotiate and competitively bid various forms of contracts including lump-sum, fixed fee, hourly rate, and cost-plus work as a prime contractor, subcontractor, or joint venture is enhanced with Project Business Automation (PBA) from Adeaca. This solution permits the company to propose work only if they are in a position to be competitive in the marketplace and provide excellent service with fair compensation. Rex Moore used Adeaca PBA as a construction management software for builders and contractors to integrate and facilitate its business processes in its ERP system. Together with Microsoft Dynamics, PBA integrated processes across the company on a single end-to-end platform. This allowed the company to replace 15 different applications with a single comprehensive system, eliminating the costs and inefficiencies associated with multiple systems and silos of information.

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Why Manufacturing Companies Must Consider Business Intelligence

Article | December 14, 2021

Do manufacturing businesses require Business Intelligence (BI)? The answer is YES. Manufacturing is one of the most data-intensive businesses, producing massive amounts of data ranging from supply chain management to shop floor scheduling, accounting to shipping and delivery, and more. All of this information would go to waste if not properly categorized and utilized. Scrutinizing and analyzing your data with business intelligence will help you become a more efficientand productive organization. Your organized data can show you where the gaps or inefficiencies are in your manufacturing process and help you fix it. Many companies simply are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology, consumer demands, the way we work, human needs and much more are constantly changing. Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive at Microsoft BI has the potential to improve the operations of an organization and transform it into an organized one. According to Finances Online research, more than 46% of organizations are already employing a BI tool as a significant part of their company strategy, and according to Dresner Advisory Services research, 8 in 10 manufacturers who use BI for analytics have seen it function successfully. How Manufacturing Operations Are Improving with Business Intelligence? As revealed by the BI statistics above, we can see that business intelligence is critical in manufacturing. To further illustrate how business intelligence supports the manufacturing industry, let's look at some of the business intelligence benefits that are making a difference in the manufacturing industry. Advances Operational Efficacy While modern enterprises create massive amounts of data, not all of this data is relevant. Today's business intelligence solutions take all of the data from your organization and transform it into an easily comprehensible and actionable format. It enables you to minimize or fix errors in real-time. Additionally, it helps you to forecast raw material demand and assess procedures along the supply chain to ensure maximum efficiency. Allows for the Analysis and Monitoring of Financial Operations Business intelligence solutions provide insight into sales, profit, and loss, raw material utilization and can usually assist you in optimizing resources to increase your return on investment. Understanding your cost-benefit analysis, BI enables you to manage production costs, monitor processes, and improve value chain management. Assists in the Management of Your Supply Chain Manufacturing companies engage with various carriers, handling these multiple processes can be complicated. BI enables manufacturing companies to have more accurate control over shipments, costs, and carrier performance by providing visibility into deliveries, freight expenditures, and general supplies. Contributes to the Reduction of Inventory Expenses and Errors Overstocks and out-of-stocks are substantial barriers to profitability. Business intelligence can assist you in tracking records over time and location while identifying issues such as product faults, inventory turnover, and margins for particular distributors. Determines the Efficiency of Equipment Several factors can cause inefficient production. For example, errors with equipment due to improper installation, maintenance, or frequent downtime can reduce production. So, to keep industrial operations running well, one must monitor these factors. Manufacturers can maintain their machines' health using data analytics and business intelligence. It provides real-time information about your production lines' status and streamlines production procedures. How Business Intelligence Helped SKF (SvenskaKullagerfabriken) to Efficiently Plan Their Future Manufacturing SKF is a key supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics, and lubrication systems globally. The company posses its headquarter in Sweden and has distributors in over 130 countries. Due to SKF's extensive worldwide reach and product diversity, they constantly need to forecast market size and demand for their products to modify their future manufacturing. Generally, SKF experts developed and kept their forecasts in traditional and intricate excel files. However, the efforts of maintaining and reconciling disparate studies were excessively high. As a result, SKF used require days to generate a simple demand prediction. Later, SKF integrated its business data assets into a single system by utilizing business intelligence in production. Following that, they could swiftly begin sharing their data and insights across multiple divisions within their firm. They are now able to aggregate demand estimation fast and does not face cross-departmental issues about data integrity for the vast number of product varieties they manufacture. This intelligent data management enabled SKF to plan their future production operations efficiently. Final Words Business intelligence in manufacturing makes a big difference in the organization's entire operations. Given the benefits of business intelligence in manufacturing, a growing number of manufacturers are implementing it in their operations. According to Mordor Intelligence, Business Intelligence (BI) Market was worth USD 20.516 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to reach USD 40.50 billion by 2026, growing at a 12% compound annual growth rate throughout the forecast period (2021-2026). Hence, we may say that the business intelligence is crucial for manufacturing and is booming, thanks to its enormous potential and the numerous benefits it provides to various businesses. FAQ Why is business intelligence so important in manufacturing? Organization intelligence may assist businesses in making better decisions by presenting current and past data within the context of their business. Analysts can use business intelligence to give performance and competitive benchmarking data to help the firm run more smoothly and efficiently. What value does BI add to manufacturing? Business intelligence solutions provide insight into sales, profit, and loss, raw material utilization and can usually assist you in optimizing resources to increase your return on investment. Understanding your cost-benefit analysis enables you to manage production costs, monitor processes, and improve value chain management. What is business intelligence's key objective? Business intelligence is helpful to assist corporate leaders, business managers, and other operational employees in making more informed business

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How to Improve Production Scheduling: The 5 Crucial Elements

Article | December 8, 2021

The manufacturing production schedule is a critical aspect that enables the manufacturing business to complete each production activity precisely and on time. Allocating different raw materials, resources, or processes to distinct project phases is called a production schedule. Its goal is to make your manufacturing process as efficient and cost-effective as possible in terms of resources and labor — all while delivering products on schedule. As technology takes over and enhances many of the processes we used to handle with manual labor, we are freed up to use our minds creatively, which leads to bigger and better leaps in innovation and productivity." – Matt Mong, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca So, how is the overall production schedule managed? According to businesswire, the global APS (Advanced Production Planning and Scheduling) software market was valued at $1,491.22 million in 2020 and is anticipated to raise $2,941.27 million by 2028 expanding at an 8.86 percent CAGR from 2020 to 2028. Some software and tools are available to assist manufacturing organizations in properly scheduling production planning, including MaxScheduler, TACTIC, MRPeasy, and Gantt charts. Though there are numerous software programs available on the market for production scheduling, the most crucial aspect is determining which elements to consider when planning production. This blog will look at the five most important factors to consider while planning the production schedule. Five Elements to Consider When Scheduling Production As we saw in the introduction, production scheduling is used in the manufacturing process to assign plant and machinery resources, schedule human resources, plan production processes, and purchase materials. So, what are the primary components or stages of this production scheduling process? Let's take a quick look at each of them. Planning to Make the Best Use of the Company's Resources The role of planning in production scheduling is to use the company's resources to maintain a regular production flow. As a result, downtime is decreased, and bottlenecks are minimized, allowing production to be optimized. For production scheduling, two forms of planning can be used: Dynamic Planning: Dynamic planning is carried out under the idea that process stages will alter. So, materials must be ready, but production cannot begin until demand is decided. Static Planning: Static planning is done keeping in mind that all process steps will be completed on schedule and without adjustments. Routing to Determine the Order of Actions A “bill of materials” is used in discrete manufacturing to specify what things are needed and in what quantities. Routing determines the path and sequence of required phases of the process. It may involve in-house operations, but it may also comprise sub-contracted components that must be returned to the production flow for final assembly. Scheduling to Make Use of Predetermined Planning Levels To manufacture products from components or raw materials, scheduling makes use of the previously set planning level. As a result, it is time-dependent and must meet the demand outlined at the planning level. Each department, product, and procedure can have their own unique set of timetables. Sub-schedules for sub-assemblies or mixes and blends may be defined by department-specific master production schedules, utilized at the highest level to define product timeframes. Dispatching to Decide on Immediate Actions Dispatching assigns the following jobs to be done from a subset of the production queue. Dispatching is utilized to make quick decisions. This is in contrast to planning, which involves the planning of future actions. Dispatching is utilized in both pull and push production systems. Execution to Ensure that all Processes are Carried out Correctly Production scheduling must rely on proper execution to ensure that all processes are completed appropriately and in the sequence planned. It requires everyone to know what they are expected to do and when they are expected to do it. Execution requires knowledgeable management decisions, well-trained employees, correct data in the manufacturing plan and schedule, and consistent sales statistics and forecast numbers. All must be present for the organization to carry out its production plan and fulfill orders. How MRPeasy – A Production Scheduling Software Assist Manufacturing Companies in Scheduling Their Production? MRPeasy is a cloud-based material requirements planning (MRP) application explicitly designed for small manufacturing units. Its primary functions are purchase order management, forecasting, and inventory management. This software simplifies the process of scheduling production. It enables you to evaluate all of your anticipated manufacturing orders (MO). The bill of materials (BOM), purchasing, and stocking are all maintained in one location, allowing you to quickly book inventory and increase purchase orders (PO) for acquired parts. MRPeasy enables you to: Obtain all of the detailed information on all of your MOs Consider MOs as a single block or as distinct operations. Drag-and-drop operations and operations to reschedule Calendar or Gantt chart views are available for monitoring scheduled orders. Additionally, you can manage MOs smoothly. With the production planning component, you may create, amend, and update MOs. This app compiles an exhaustive list of all your MOs. You can track their progress based on the status of an order or a part's availability. Additionally, you can search for, filter, and export your MOs. Final Words How to schedule production for your organization requires extensive research, planning, and analysis of overall product demand as well as a grasp of the time required to meet the demand. Production scheduling techniques such as job-based planning, batch method, flow method, and others help develop a productive manufacturing production schedule. Include the elements mentioned above in your manufacturing scheduling to get the best possible benefits, such as better production efficiency, lower production costs, and on-time product delivery for your manufacturing in 2022. FAQ How production planning differ from production scheduler? Production planning and scheduling are often mixed. But there is a difference. Planning decides what and how much work must be done, whereas scheduling specifies who and when the work will be done. What is real-time manufacturing scheduling? Real-Time Scheduling is a production planning, scheduling, and tracking tool that enables manufacturing organizations to improve customer satisfaction and achieve optimal operational performance cost-effectively. How can scheduling be improved? Communication with staff is a great way to improve scheduling. This is true for all businesses, software or otherwise. However, management should not burden employees with ambiguous or unclear communication, and vice versa. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How production planning differ from production scheduler?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Production planning and scheduling are often mixed. But there is a difference. Planning decides what and how much work must be done, whereas scheduling specifies who and when the work will be done." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is real-time manufacturing scheduling?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Real-Time Scheduling is a production planning, scheduling, and tracking tool that enables manufacturing organizations to improve customer satisfaction and achieve optimal operational performance cost-effectively." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can scheduling be improved?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Communication with staff is a great way to improve scheduling. This is true for all businesses, software or otherwise. However, management should not burden employees with ambiguous or unclear communication, and vice versa." } }] }

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