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Stratasys Reveals Large-Part 3D Printing Demonstrator

Stratasys Reveals Large-Part 3D Printing Demonstrator

Nov 7, 2016

Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel—The 3D printing and additive manufacturing company Stratasys is working with Ford and Boeing on new technology to 3D print large aerospace and automotive parts. Demonstrations of the technology, including the Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator, were to be previewed at IMTS 2016 as part of the company’s Shaping What’s Next™ vision for manufacturing. In a company release, Stratasys said that its Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator builds on the company’s industrial FDM® 3D printing expertise to respond to the needs of customers’ most challenging applications. The 3D demonstrator is said to address manufacturers’ needs to rapidly produce strong parts ranging in size from an automobile armrest to an entire aircraft interior panel.     The Stratasys Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator is designed to address the requirements of aerospace, automotive, and other industries for large lightweight, thermoplastic parts with repeatable mechanical properties. The Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator offers what the company calls a revolutionary approach to FDM extrusion that increases throughput and repeatability. The system is said to turn the traditional 3D printer concept on its side to realize an “infinite-build” approach that prints on a vertical plane for practically unlimited part size in the build direction. Aerospace giant Boeing played an influential role in defining the requirements and specifications for the demonstrator. Boeing is currently using an Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator to explore the production of low volume, lightweight parts. Ford Motor Company is also exploring innovative automotive manufacturing applications for this demonstrator, and will evaluate this new technology. Ford and Stratasys will work together to test and develop new applications for automotive-grade 3D printed materials that were not previously possible due to limited size, enabling and accelerating innovative automotive product design, Stratasys said. “3D printing holds the promise of changing automotive design and manufacturing because it opens up new ways to innovate and create efficiencies in production,” said Mike Whitens, director of vehicle enterprise sciences at Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, in the release. “Our vision at Ford is to make high-speed, high-quality printing of automotive-grade parts a reality. We are excited about the future opportunities that the scalable and versatile Infinite-Build concept can unlock, and look forward to collaborating with...

Succeeding in the new manufacturing landscape

Succeeding in the new manufacturing landscape

Nov 4, 2016

By Diego Tamburini, The Manufacturer Amid the dawn of a new industrial revolution, the winners will be those who can adapt, embrace technologies and respond to new demands. Diego Tamburini, manufacturing industry strategist, Autodesk, explains. Manufacturers have traditionally pursued attaining a competitive advantage with a combination of three strategic priorities (which have remained essentially unchanged): increasing productivity. continually innovatingproducts, processes or business models delivering quality products and services Yet, any competitive differentiation achieved through them has a finite life; eventually your competitors will match – and sometimes surpass – any improvements in productivity, innovation or quality you’ve attained. Innovative processes and methods eventually become the norm. Your competitors copy and improve upon your inventions. And customers constantly expect better quality from your products. It’s a constantly moving target. So, if the methods that manufacturers use to remain competitive and the temporary nature of any competitive differentiation achieved have always been the same, then what’s changed? In a nutshell: speed. We see five key business forces and technical disruptions as shaping a new manufacturing landscape and the competitive environment of the industry, forming a huge opportunity for innovative, responsive manufacturers. Democratisation of manufacturing Thanks to the latest technological advances (cloud, 3D printing, Manufacturing-as-a-Service) and new practices such as crowdfunding/sourcing, the means of intellectual production, physical production, and commercialisation are becoming more accessible to individuals and smaller companies. The playing field is levelling, and startups and entrepreneurs can compete with the incumbents and bring innovation to market – in some cases even faster. A student is just as likely to change the world as a multinational. As a result, established manufacturing companies now face a new group of competitors – some of whom they haven’t even met yet. In an environment where flexibility, agility, innovation and tolerance for risk are competitive advantages, startups and smaller companies have a real edge compared to larger, traditional, more established manufacturing firms. That said, newcomers and incumbents can coexist if they play up to their unique strengths. Specifically, newcomers focusing on developing products with high innovation content, targeted to smaller markets, with very short product lifecycles; and incumbents focusing on products that require more know-how, established supply chains, brand recognition, and can survive longer product...

U.S. manufacturing sector expanding, but risks remain

U.S. manufacturing sector expanding, but risks remain

Nov 2, 2016

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters U.S. factory activity increased for a second straight month in October amid a pickup in production and hiring, supporting views that the embattled manufacturing sector would regain some momentum in the fourth quarter. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Tuesday said its index of national factory activity rose 0.4 percentage point to a reading of 51.9 percent last month. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy. Manufacturing has suffered a prolonged slump in the aftermath of the dollar’s surge between June 2014 and December 2015, which has constrained exports. Activity has also been hurt by the collapse in oil drilling after oil prices plunged. “The latest data suggest that the manufacturing sector is starting to pick up some momentum following a weak run through most of the year so far,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York. “The sector is due for some improvement as some of the earlier drags that impacted the sector fade.” The ISM production sub-index gained 1.8 percentage points to 54.6. But a gauge of new orders slipped to a reading of 52.1 from 55.1 in September, suggesting any future gains in manufacturing activity would be modest. A measure of factory employment jumped 3.2 percentage points to a reading of 52.9. The data came as Federal Reserve officials gathered for a two-day meeting to deliberate on monetary policy. The U.S. central bank is not expected to raise rates at the end of the meeting on Wednesday, which comes less than a week before the Nov. 8 presidential election, but is expected to do so in December. Another report from data firm Markit also suggested an improvement in factory conditions in October. U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data amid jitters over the outcome of the acrimonious election. The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies. U.S. stocks and Treasuries were also lower. MILD GAINS Weak manufacturing has contributed to business spending on equipment declining for four straight quarters. While there are signs that a turnaround may be imminent, any improvement in the factory sector will likely...

Manufacturing in the USA: The same story told from…

Manufacturing in the USA: The same story told from…

Nov 1, 2016

“Manufacturing in the USA: The same story told from many angles” By David Edwards, Robotics & Automation News Most stories have at least two sides, usually one negative and one positive, depending on your point of view or what aspect of the story you choose to highlight.  So, for example, if you read CNN you will see mentions of “record” levels of business, such as in the sectors of automaking and aerospace. “US aircraft production is at a record high and well ahead of the rest of the world,” says CNN, adding that the auto industry is “within 7 per cent of record levels, making 12 million cars and trucks a year”.  But if you click over to Bloomberg, it’s the opposite view. Under the headline, “No, US manufacturing isn’t really booming”, the article displays a graph of long-term decline in employment in the manufacturing industry. However, Bloomberg does go on to show in other graphs that total manufacturing output has been increasing significantly, with computer and electronics sectors performing particularly well. But even on the subject of productivity, there can be other interpretations, such as the one to be found on Trading Economics, which says US manufacturing growth has slowed to a three-month low. Phew we’re humans  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people employed in the manufacturing sector has indeed fallen slightly in the past month, after increasing steadily over the past few months. Compared to September 2015, approximately 40,000 fewer people were employed in manufacturing in September 2016. These could be argued to be relatively small fluctuations but as mentioned, US manufacturing has seen monthly increases in employment for the past few years, so it would be interesting to see if this slight drop becomes a trend over the next few months. The Bureau of Labor figures don’t provide any direct correlations relating to why jobs increase or decrease, but  does separately produce statistics on workers in the industrial machinery sector. The Bureau of Labor says 464,400 people were employed in the industrial machinery sector in 2014, and forecasts that number to increase by 73,400 in the subsequent decade. This may be an underestimate if the onshoring trend continues to grow. The machines are back  Founded in 2010, the Reshoring Initiative aims to bring back...

RESHORING: THE TREND FROM GLOBALIZATION TO…

RESHORING: THE TREND FROM GLOBALIZATION TO…

Oct 28, 2016

“RESHORING: THE TREND FROM GLOBALIZATION TO LOCALIZATION” By Harry Moser, president at Reshoring Initiative, Industry Today One of the hottest topics in the election campaign has been the offshoring of jobs and whether to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. The Reshoring Initiative’s 2015 Reshoring Data Report shows that rapid job loss has been stemmed, indicating that globalization has peaked. The emergence of localization and regionalization as a preferred business model is good news for the reshoring trend. Challenges still remain for the U.S. to bring back the three to four million manufacturing jobs still lost to offshore, but considering the progress already achieved, plus the more level playing field that will develop with Industry 4.0 and, hopefully, the new president, we predict that there is much more reshoring to come. Overview From the manufacturing employment low of February 2010 through the second quarter of 2016 more than 265,000 manufacturing jobs have been brought from offshore, about 30 percent of the growth in manufacturing jobs in that period. The annual count was off 6 percent from 2014 due to recently stronger headwinds such as: a very strong dollar ; low oil prices and shipping rates; and most competitor countries having weaker economies than the U.S. Recently, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) has been stronger than reshoring. Both trends are based on the logic of producing in the local market, generally known as localization. One reason FDI has a higher number of jobs is definitional. If a U.S. company, e.g. GM, expands production in the U.S., we consider it expansion due to market growth, and we do not count it as reshoring unless the jobs were specifically brought from offshore. However, we count all job increases by foreign companies (Toyota, for example). Also, foreign companies, especially the Japanese, appear to have a better understanding of the lean benefits of local sourcing. For the second year in a row the number of jobs returning to the U.S. equaled or slightly exceeded the number of jobs leaving. See Figure 1. By comparison, in 2000-2007 the United States lost, net, about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring. The steady decrease in the net number of jobs lost per year, from 220,000 to zero, is consistent with the Labor Department’s job statistics. Manufacturing employment as of December 31, 2015 is about 2.3 million higher than a regression curve from 1997, the beginning of the greatest offshoring surge, to 2009, the beginning of the reshoring surge, would...

Solar Panels’ Brightest Year

Solar Panels’ Brightest Year

Oct 27, 2016

By Mark Langlois, Design-2-Part Magazine Electricity from the sun—installed photovoltaics—is growing at a pace that may double its size in the U.S. in 2016 alone. The Solar Energy Industries Association said U.S. firms and homeowners installed 1,665 megawatts of solar photovoltaic power in the first quarter of 2016, generating enough power for 5.7 homes. Manufacturers, who frequently have a lot of unused, sunny real estate above their heads, have noticed this trend, and are taking advantage of systems that are more efficient and cost 33 percent less than they did in 2011. “When you know 70 percent of your energy costs are covered by the sun, that’s a feel-good thing,” said Ron Delfini, president of Engineering Specialties Inc., in North Branford, Connecticut. Engineering Specialties installed 494 solar panels in 2014 on the 30,500-square-foot metal stamping and machining facility, enough to generate 123 kilowatts of power. “Manufacturers are looking for as many ways as possible to cut costs. This helps,” Delfini said. Delfini said he expects to recover his investment of $300,000 within five years. He said that ESI used utility incentives, and the solar company he hired, Independence Solar, helped ESI through the funding process. Engineering Specialties owns the $300,000 worth of solar panels on the company roof, and he expects the investment to pay off as promised. “If the payback is five or six years, it makes you think about it,” Delfini said. The panels are warranted to last 25 years. “What happens is the meter starts to run backward.” Companies and most people want to be environmentally sound, said Jerry Leshem, president of Lesro Industries, a Connecticut furniture manufacturer that covered its roof with 3,200 solar panels in 2016. Being environmentally friendly was a costly decision in the old days, Leshem said. “It used to be, ‘I want to go green but I have to sacrifice.’” Times have changed. The Connecticut Green Bank, which helped fund Lesro’s panels, estimates the panels will save Lesro $700,000 over 20 years, or more than $30,000 a year. Lesro said it looks like the $30,000 figure is accurate, but he was interested in something else about the project. “I fixed my electrical costs for the duration...