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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"name": "Why is additive manufacturing critical?",
"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."
"name": "Are additive manufacturing and 3D printing the same?",
"text": "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)."
"name": "Which is the most applied sector for additive manufacturing?",
"text": "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."
Article | November 20, 2021
Additive manufacturing in America plays a significant part in reviving the manufacturing industry and establishing the country as a leader in applying additive manufacturing technology. The United States was formerly the industrial leader, but it fell out of favor between 2000 and 2010 for many reasons, including recession and structural and financial instability.
In this challenging time, technology interventions such as additive manufacturing in the manufacturing business have allowed the industry to survive. As per the recent report by A.T. Kearney, the USA, the industry leader in manufacturing, has worked hard to reclaim its top position in manufacturing and has also been named the leader in additive manufacturing.
Let's look at which fields of America are utilizing the benefits of additive manufacturing technology to reclaim its position as the industry leader.
Additive Manufacturing in America
The manufacturing industry is gravitating toward additive manufacturing, sometimes known as 3D printing. The numerous advantages of additive manufacturing, such as the reduction of material waste, the reduction of prototyping time, the reduction of prototyping costs, the creation of lightweight objects, and the ease with which it can be implemented and recreated, are making it more popular around the world, including in the United States.
In the United States, the additive manufacturing and material industry is expected to be worth $4.1 billion by 2020. China is the world's second-largest economy and is expected to reach a projected market size of US$14.5 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 27.2 percent from 2020 to 2027.
How does America Leverage the Additive Manufacturing?
US Airforce has launched research into 3D printing
The US Air Force has begun researching 3D printing replacement parts for old planes utilizing a 3D printing platform.
The project initiative credit goes to 3D Systems, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, and Northrop Grumman. America Makes will observe the project in its third stage and be led by the University of Dayton Research. The Air Force Laboratory financed the Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low-Cost Sustainment (MAMLS) program.
The US Air Force will investigate how the 3D printing technology may reproduce components for outdated aircraft. Using additive manufacturing, the replacement parts may be created faster and in smaller batches, with no minimum order quantity. In addition, applying additive manufacturing will reduce the aircraft ground time and eliminate the need for parts warehousing.
American Manufacturing Companies and Additive Manufacturing
3D Systems, Inc.
3D Systems is an additive manufacturing company. Their work goes beyond prototyping. The company's experts use their deep domain expertise in aerospace and healthcare industries to produce competitive additive manufacturing solutions. This global leader in additive manufacturing helps you define business needs, verify manufacturing flow, and scale manufacturing flow.
GE has seen the benefits of additive manufacturing and its options for product design, such as the potential to build lighter, more vital components and systems. As a result, they created goods that are better performing, more sophisticated in design, and easier to produce.
Ford's advanced manufacturing center in Michigan is all about additive manufacturing. The company employs 3D printing extensively in product development and is looking to integrate it into manufacturing lines. As a result, additive manufacturing is now a critical aspect of the Ford product development cycle, enabling prototype parts and product engineering exercises.
The American manufacturing industry has experienced a renaissance as a result of the advent of additive manufacturing. Additionally, it has built its national accelerator and leading collaborative partner in additive manufacturing, "America Makes," which is the largest manufacturing industryglobally in terms of revenue and operates in a variety of areas. However, it is mainly focused on 3D printing or additive manufacturing, which is undoubtedly reviving the country's manufacturing sector.
What are the significant challenges in additive manufacturing?
Limitations in terms of size, consistency of quality, scalability, a limited variety of materials and high material costs, and limited multi-material capabilities are only a few of the prevalent issues associated with additive manufacturing technology.
Which company is leading in additive manufacturing technology in the USA?
3D Systems Corp. is the leading company in additive manufacturing technology with a revenue of $566.6 million.
"name": "What are the significant challenges in additive manufacturing?",
"text": "Limitations in terms of size, consistency of quality, scalability, a limited variety of materials and high material costs, and limited multi-material capabilities are only a few of the prevalent issues associated with additive manufacturing technology."
"name": "Which company is leading in additive manufacturing technology in the USA?",
"text": "3D Systems Corp. is the leading company in additive manufacturing technology with a revenue of $566.6 million."
Article | December 6, 2021
Additive Manufacturing (AM) uses computer-aided design (CAD) or 3D object scanners to create accurate geometric features. In contrast to traditional manufacturing, which frequently involves milling or other processes to eliminate superfluous material, these are produced layer by layer, as with a 3D printing process.
The global additive manufacturing market is expected to grow at a 14.42 percent annual rate from USD 9.52 billion in 2020 to USD 27.91 billion in 2028, according to reports and data. Overall, the worldwide 3D printing industry is gaining traction due to various reasons, some of which are listed below.
Significantly, greater resolution
Reduced manufacturing costs as a result of recent technology breakthroughs
Ease of creating customised goods
Increasing possibilities for printing with diverse materials
Funding by the government for 3D printing ventures
Additive manufacturing is available or may be implemented in various procedures, which is the primary objective of this article. First, we'll look at the seven additive manufacturing processes and which one is the best to use. So let us begin.
“Don’t be afraid to go outside of your industry to learn best practices. There might be something that surprises you or inspires you to try in your line of work.”
– Emily Desimone, Director of Global Marketing at SLM Solutions
Additive Manufacturing Processes
There are numerous diverse additive manufacturing processes, each with its own set of standards. Here are the seven additive manufacturing procedures that many manufacturers consider based on their benefits from each process, or whichever approach best suits their product requirements.
This additive manufacturing process is quite similar to that of conventional inkjet printers, in which material droplets are selectively placed layer by layer to build a three-dimensional object. After completing a layer, it is cured with UV radiation.
VAT Photo Polymerization
This procedure employs a technology called photo polymerization, in which radiation-curable resins or photopolymers are utilized to ultraviolet light to generate three-dimensional objects selectively. When these materials are exposed to air, they undergo a chemical reaction and solidify. Stereo lithography, Digital Light Processing, and Continuous Digital Light Processing are the three primary subcategories.
Binder jetting is a process that deposits a binding agent, typically in liquid form, selectively onto powdered material. The print head deposits alternating layers of bonding agent and construction material and a powder spreader to create a three-dimensional object.
S. Scott Crump invented and patented material extrusion in the 1980s using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The continuous thermoplastic filament is fed through a heated nozzle and then deposited layer by layer onto the build platform to produce the object.
Powder Bed Fusion
Powder bed fusion procedures, particularly selective laser sintering, were the pioneers of industrial additive manufacturing. This approach melts the powdered material and fuses it using a laser or electron beam to form a tangible item. The primary kinds of powder bed fusion are direct metal laser sintering, selective laser sintering, multi-jet fusion, electron beam melting, selective laser melting, and selective heat sintering.
Sheet lamination is a catch-all term encompassing ultrasonic additive manufacturing, selective deposition lamination, and laminated object manufacturing. All of these technologies stack and laminate sheets of material to form three-dimensional objects. After the object is constructed, the parts' undesirable areas are gradually removed layer by layer.
Directed Energy Deposition
Directed energy deposition technology employs thermal energy to melt and fuse the materials to form a three-dimensional object. These are pretty similar to welding processes, but are much more intricate.
Which Additive Manufacturing Process is best? Why?
Based on three fundamental factors, additive manufacturing techniques are categorized into seven types. First, the way material is solidified is determined first by the type of material employed, then by the deposition technique, and finally by how the material is solidified.
The end-user often chooses an additive manufacturing technique that best suits his requirements, followed by the explicit material for the process and application, out of the seven basic additive manufacturing processes.
Polymer materials are commonly used in AM techniques because they are adaptable to various procedures and can be modified to complicated geometries with high precision. Carbon-based compounds are used to strengthen polymers. Polymers, both solid and liquid, have been widely used due to the variety of shapes, formability, and end-use qualities available. Wherever the light-activated polymer contacts the liquid's surface, it instantly solidifies.
Photo polymerization, powder bed fusion, material jetting, and material extrusion are the most common additive manufacturing procedures for polymers. The materials employed in these processes can be liquid, powder, or solid (formed materials such as polymer film or filament).
How BASF is Using Additive Manufacturing
BASF is a chemical company. BASF, one of the world's major chemical companies, manufactures and provides a range of 3D printing filaments, resins, and powders within its extensive material portfolio.
The company, well-known in the 3D printing sector, has formed major material agreements with several 3D printer manufacturers, including HP, BigRep, Essentium, BCN3D, and others.
BASF went even further in 2017 by establishing BASF 3D printing Solutions GmbH (B3DPS) as a wholly-owned subsidiary to expand the company's 3D printing business. In addition, BASF stated last year that B3DPS would change its name to Forward AM.
BASF's role in the 3D printing business, however, is not limited to material development. BASF has made several investments in 3D printing companies over the years, including the acquisition of Sculpteo, one of the significant French 3D printing service bureaus, last year.
BASF sees 3D printing as having a bright future. With the growing popularity of professional 3D printers, all of these systems will eventually require robust, high-quality polymer materials to perform at their best – and BASF has been paving the way to becoming one of the leading solution providers.
All additive manufacturing procedures are unique and helpful in their way. Still, some have additional advantages over others, such as the material used, highresolution, precision, and the ability to build complicated parts. Because of these added benefits, photopolymerization, material jetting, powder bed fusion, and material extrusion are preferred over others. Therefore, choose the AM process that is best suited to your manufacturing business and will assist you in achieving the desired final product output.
What are the benefits of additive manufacturing?
AM enables manufacturers to reduce waste, prototyping costs, and customization while conserving energy and increasing production flexibility. Additionally, it benefits the supply chain and the environment, encouraging businesses to increase their manufacturing sustainability.
What is the major challenge in additive manufacturing?
Many businesses are struggling with the current difficulty of producing large and odd-sized parts using additive manufacturing. So, this can be considered a significant challenge in additive manufacturing.
What are the steps of additive manufacturing?
The additive manufacturing steps are divided into four steps as below,
Step1 - Design a model with CAD software
Step4 - Post-processing
"name": "What are the benefits of additive manufacturing?",
"text": "AM enables manufacturers to reduce waste, prototyping costs, and customization while conserving energy and increasing production flexibility. Additionally, it benefits the supply chain and the environment, encouraging businesses to increase their manufacturing sustainability."
"name": "What is the major challenge in additive manufacturing?",
"text": "Many businesses are struggling with the current difficulty of producing large and odd-sized parts using additive manufacturing. So, this can be considered a significant challenge in additive manufacturing."
"name": "What are the steps of additive manufacturing?",
"text": "The additive manufacturing steps are divided into four steps as below,
Step1 - Design a model with CAD software
Step2 - Pre-processing
Step3 - Printing
Step4 - Post-processing"
Article | December 10, 2021
The benefits of contract manufacturing are triggering manufacturers to utilize it as a strategy to speed up production and increase revenue. According to BCC Research, the worldwide contract manufacturing industry should increase from $2.0 trillion in 2018 to $2.7 trillion in 2023, a 6.7% CAGR.
Given the growing demand, contract manufacturing has a long way to go in innovating new solutions for manufacturers.
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
Let us look at the benefits and concept of contract manufacturing, often known as manufacturing partners in some circles.
Contract Manufacturing: Concept and Benefits
Contract manufacturing is a business model in which a company agreeswith a contract manufacturer to make components or finished goods based on the hiring company's design. In short, it is a business model in which one company hires another company to manufacture components or goods for them or their products.
The following are some of the primary advantages of contract manufacturing that attract manufacturers to adopt this concept and find a trusted supplier to manufacture any product or part of their product without much difficulty.
Cost Efficiency: In contract manufacturing, companies do not have to pay for the facility, equipment, or labor needed.
Resource Allocations: The money and resources saved through contract manufacturing can be redirected towards other company operations.
Faster Lead Times: Hiring a contract manufacturer reduces manufacturing time. This improves market speed, delivery time, and customer service.
Quality Control: Contract manufacturers are likely to have their own quality control processes in place, which allow them to spot counterfeit or damaged products early on.
Advanced Skill Sets: Companies can benefit from the skills they may not possess, but the contract manufacturer does.
Contract Manufacturing Examples
Here are some examples of contract manufacturing companies that offer manufacturing services to other businesses and work on full-service outside manufacturing projects.
Example 1: Kimball Electronics Group
Kimball Electronics Group provides a comprehensive range of electronics manufacturing services, including engineering, prototyping, testing, electronic data interchange (EDI), new product introduction, and repair depot services. Soldering, assembly, reflow, de-paneling, flux application, inspection, screen printing, testing, and rework are all processes used in their manufacturing.
Example 2: Scapa Healthcare
Scapa Healthcare, headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, provides contract manufacturing services for medical and cosmetic products. Their portfolio of products includes sunscreen, silicone medical adhesives, and innovative materials. Additionally, the organization provides development, packaging, and logistics services.
Things to Consider While Selecting a Contract Manufacturing (CM) Partner
You need to know how to identify the ideal contract manufacturer for your business to accelerate production and produce high-quality items. Below, we've listed some of the most important things to keep in mind while looking for an outsourced manufacturing partner for your company.
Understanding a contract manufacturer's (CM) capabilities in terms of logistics and fulfillment is critical. Is your potential CM able to meet shifting product demands? How to use the CM's services? You may need one or more services from CM for your product, so always examine their capabilities or develop a list of their services and see which ones are valuable for you.
Knowledge or Prerequisite
A qualified, experienced, subject matter expert CM always correctly understands the requirements and delivers the services as per expectations and within the time frame specified in your production schedule. Always inquire about their qualifications or certificates in the places where your product will be manufactured.
Any contract manufacturing plan must have an agreement or compliance clause. Always inquire about the compliance procedure and thoroughly understand the terms and claws to avoid future issues.
Verify your possible contract manufacturer's personnel count. Is it easy to talk to them? Is labor skilled enough to meet the product's goals? It is critical for large-scale production and production, requiring swift responses. Any work force shortage might cause production delays.
Gear & Expertise
Check for machines and equipment as well as human labor in your possible CM. Many CM lease equipment to complete a project. So always check how the CM will organize the essential equipment for your project. Expertise in using the equipment is also necessary. Verify which machines were used and whether or not professionals were involved.
The CM's location is the main factor to check. Because the CM may have numerous plants, knowing which plant is assigned to your product is essential to knowing every aspect of its production. Also, the assembly location must allow you to visit and inspect the manufacturing between cycles.
Finding a reliable contract manufacturer with solid financial backing and market roots is essential to avoid market scams. However, you must also analyze and solve risk factors like equipment failure, supplier capacity, and unreasonable expectations.
Selection Myths of Contract Manufacturing Partner
Once you've produced a list of shortlisted contract manufacturing partners who meet all of the criteria described in the preceding heading, you can proceed by following the steps below to select the best contract manufacturing partner.
Look for Who is Willing to Invest in Your Business
Incorrect. The objective is to find a vendor prepared to manufacture at a loss. A contract manufacturer's strength is that they can stay competitive and make a profit for both parties.
Focus on Tier 1 CM Partners from the Market
This one is indeed not acceptable. Tier 1 is a financial phrase used to separate large corporations from smaller ones. You want a contract manufacturer who understands your business and your needs. Don't worry about the manufacturing partner's size.
Go Ahead with the One Who Offers the Best Services at the Lowest Price
Trying to get the cheapest quote isn't always the best idea. You should get a quote from your contract manufacturing partner, but the quote may not always reveal the complete story. Cost per unit frequently captures approximately 75% of total supply chain cost. Some contract manufacturers charge the OEM the remaining 25%. Consider the complete picture while selecting a CM partner.
Manufacturers use contract manufacturing to meet their commercial goals. Therefore, contract manufacturing is a win-win situation for both industrialists and contract manufacturers. Finding the proper contract manufacturing partner for your company is not straightforward, but our brief guide can help you identify the right manufacturing partner.
What makes a good contract manufacturer?
The most significant contract manufacturing firms are more than just supply chain partners. They recognize and treat your items as if they were their own, are meticulous in their operations, and are concerned with quality and capital.
What differentiates contract manufacturing from outsourcing?
A contract is a legally binding arrangement. It involves two or more parties. For example, outsourcing is outsourcing some tasks to an outside organization under a contract agreed upon by both parties.
What's the difference between contract manufacturing and licensing?
Contract manufacturing only outsources production phases, while licensing is far more complex. In return for fees, a corporation sells the right to utilize its intellectual property to another company. Licenses are like franchises.
"name": "What makes a good contract manufacturer?",
"text": "The most significant contract manufacturing firms are more than just supply chain partners. They recognize and treat your items as if they were their own, are meticulous in their operations, and are concerned with quality and capital."
"name": "What differentiates contract manufacturing from outsourcing?",
"text": "A contract is a legally binding arrangement. It involves two or more parties. For example, outsourcing is outsourcing some tasks to an outside organization under a contract agreed upon by both parties."
"name": "What's the difference between contract manufacturing and licensing?",
"text": "Contract manufacturing only outsources production phases, while licensing is far more complex. In return for fees, a corporation sells the right to utilize its intellectual property to another company. Licenses are like franchises."