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Archive for June, 2017

Xometry Growth Continues With New Customers, Funding, And Optimism

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

At SOLIDWORKS World 2017 we got introduced to Xometry, a company committed to bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. with its software platform for building a reliable and scalable manufacturing source program. It employs a unique machine-learning approach that provides customers with optimized manufacturing capabilities at the best price based on parameters input by customers.

Founded in 2014, Xometry is hoping to transform American manufacturing through its proprietary software platform that provides on-demand manufacturing to a diverse customer base that ranges from startups to Fortune 100 companies. The platform provides an efficient way to source high-quality custom parts, with 24/7 access to instant quote pricing, expected lead time, and manufacturability feedback that recommends best processes and practices. With more than 100 manufacturing partners, the manufacturing capabilities include CNC machining, 3D printing, sheet metal forming and fabrication, and urethane casting with over 200 materials. Xometry’s 5,000+ customers include General Electric, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NASA, and the United States Army.

Below is a video interview we conducted at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 with Randy Altschuler, CEO and co-founder of Xometry.

Randy Altschuler, CEO, Xometry at SOLIDWORKS World 2017
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GE Additive’s Big Plans For Metal AM

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Last month at the RAPID + TCT event, many new things were presented and among those was GE Additive’s setting a target of growing its new additive manufacturing business to $1 billion by 2020, and selling 10,000 metal 3D printing machines in 10 years, building upon acquisitions it announced last year.

“It’s a big number,” said Tim Warden, senior sales director of GE Additive. “That’s why they’re investing heavily,” he said, referring to GE.

GE last year announced the acquisitions of Concept Laser (Germany) and Arcam AB (Sweden).

GE controls Concept after agreeing last October to buy an initial 75% stake in the German company, with plans to acquire the rest over an undisclosed number of years. The GE Additive turned to Concept Laser after a previously announced deal with SLM Solutions fell through.

The company estimates that it ultimately can expand additive manufacturing into a $10 billion business. GE owns more than 70% of Arcam but doesn’t have full control of the Swedish company.

The following video shows GE Power’s advanced manufacturing facility in Greenville, SC to learn about GE Additive’s metal 3D printing process for creating a gas turbine component that is used to power homes.

GE Additive and the Power of Additive Manufacturing

For now, “We’re concentrating on Concept where we can do what we want to do,” Warden said. “We’re going to support Concept in every way possible.”

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Hexagon’s Smart Decisions Culminate In Building Smart Factory

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Las Vegas in June . . . Good idea or bad idea? I’ll try and stay neutral on this one, but this town is not exactly my favorite, regardless of time of year. However, it’s always worth the trip when a company like Hexagon invites me for its annual international conference, HxGN LIVE 2017.


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That’s A Wrap: Divergence and Convergence

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

The spring season seems to be the time of year when many companies and professional organizations hold their annual conferences, and this spring was no exception. I’ve attended several events in the past few weeks and noted striking differences of two of them — divergence at RAPID + TCT 2017 and convergence at LiveWorx 17 — and that’s how I want to wrap up our spring 2017 trade event tour (although I have one more next week).

Divergence at RAPID + TCT 2017

Diverge (dih-vurj, dahy-): To move, lie, or extend in different directions from a common point; branch off. To turn aside or deviate, as from a path, practice,or plan.

3D printing/additive manufacturing (AM) are about making something digital into something analog. Although the technologies are 30+ years old, many things are still being done as they were in the beginning, such as building 3D models, exporting STL data, etc. However, several aspects of AM are diverging from its historical roots.

For example, the first AM materials were polymers, and they still account for ~85% of all materials used, but metals are coming on strong and now account for about 14% of the materials used. The range of materials being used, though, is constantly increasing — everything from ceramics to composites to food to living tissue.

Panel Discussion at RAPID + TCT 2017

Volume quantities are also diverging from one-offs or small quantities for rapid prototyping to real production quantities where the costs can be justified when costs go down and production speed goes up.

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Thingworx 8 Takes Center Stage At LiveWorx17

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

PTC’s user conference in Boston last week (LiveWorx17 ) covered a lot of ground — everything from Creo to Windchill to augmented reality (AR), but the focus of the event was PTC announcing the launch of its newest version of  ThingWorx Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform – ThingWorx 8. According to the company, with this update, ThingWorx evolves into a more robust, comprehensive industrial IoT (IIoT) technology offering. PTC also announced a new lineup of ThingWorx-powered apps for the manufacturing environment, as well as ThingWorx Studio support for native authoring and publishing of AR experiences for Microsoft HoloLens.

Interestingly, PTC’s VP of Corporate Communications, Jack McAvoy said that two of this year’s three main messages for LiveWorx17 revolved around ThingWorx as more than a platform and the evolving ThingWorx ecosystem through physical/digital convergence.

PTC’s foray into IoT got a big boost about four years ago when it  acquired ThingWorx, creators of a platform for building and running applications for the Internet of Things (IoT), for about $112 million. The acquisition of ThingWorx immediately positioned PTC as a major player in the emerging Internet of Things era.

According to a research report, Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy  from the McKinsey Global Institute, the Internet of Things has the potential to create economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025. The firm believes perhaps 80 to 100 percent of all manufacturing could be using Internet of Things applications by then, leading to potential economic impact of $900 billion to $2.3 trillion, largely from productivity gains. For example, with increasingly sophisticated Internet of Things technologies becoming available, companies can not only track the flow of products or keep track of physical assets, but they can also manage the performance of individual machines and systems.

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