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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

Study Reveals Top Trends In Digital Manufacturing – Part 1

 
July 5th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

A recent ‘‘Trends in Digital Manufacturing” survey, jointly conducted by SME, promoting advanced manufacturing technologies, and Plataine, a provider of Industrial IoT (IIOT) and AI-based manufacturing optimization solutions, shows key insights on plans for factory digitization.

This IIoT survey, completed by nearly 400 C-level manufacturing staffers from multiple industries including aerospace, automotive, furniture and chemicals, was designed to help advanced manufacturing managers prepare for the rapid advances in digital technology that are transforming factories. The survey reveals how factories intend to implement new digital technologies, which challenges are faced, and what benefits they envision.

Growth expectations were strikingly optimistic: the majority – 93 percent – of all respondents expect double or single-digit growth in the next year. Meanwhile, 84 percent of respondents reported they are already engaging in digital factory initiatives. These initiatives focused on four areas:
1. Digitization of manual and paper-based processes;
2. Supply chain collaboration;
3. Smart shop-floor sensors; and
4. Automation and robotics.

Top Digital Transformation Trends In Manufacturing (Source: Futurum Research)

Additionally, the survey defined a group of industry leaders: companies that expect double digit growth while also reporting exceptional quality standards. Industry leaders, who made up 24 percent of respondents, showed clear trends that set them apart. For example, 37 percent described their organization’s digitization level as “mostly digital” compared to 25 percent of the rest of the market.

Read the rest of Study Reveals Top Trends In Digital Manufacturing – Part 1

Sciaky Partners With Concurrent Technologies To Produce BIG AM Parts

 
June 28th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

This week, Sciaky, Inc., a leading provider of metal additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, announced that they have entered a strategic partnership with Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) to support growing demand for high quality, large-scale additively manufactured metal parts. CTC will offer Sciaky’s Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) metal 3D printing technology to its manufacturing customers for producing large metal parts.

CTC is an independent, nonprofit, applied scientific research and development professional services organization.

“Sciaky is excited to work with CTC and help educate its clients about the real-world benefits of EBAM technology,” said Scott Phillips, President and CEO of Sciaky, Inc. “When compared to traditional forging methods, EBAM offers significant competitive advantages for customers all over the world by drastically reducing production time, waste, and costs associated with manufacturing large, high-value metal parts.”

“We are extremely pleased to announce this newly formed strategic partnership with Sciaky,” said Edward J. Sheehan, Jr., President and CEO of CTC. “We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with the talented team at Sciaky. Our clients will realize numerous benefits thanks to this arrangement.”

Sciaky’s Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) Process

Widely regarded as the most scalable metal additive manufacturing solution in the industry (in terms of work envelope), Sciaky’s EBAM systems can produce parts ranging from 8 inches (203 mm) to 19 feet (5.79 meters) in length. EBAM is also the fastest deposition process in the metal additive manufacturing market, with gross deposition rates ranging from seven to 25 lbs. (3.18 to 11.34 kg) of metal per hour. EBAM brings quality and control together with the Interlayer Real-time Imaging and Sensing System (IRISS), a real-time adaptive control system for the metal 3D printing market that can sense and digitally self-adjust metal deposition with precision and repeatability. This closed-loop control is the primary reason that Sciaky’s EBAM 3D printing process delivers consistent part geometry, mechanical properties, microstructure, and metal chemistry.

Read the rest of Sciaky Partners With Concurrent Technologies To Produce BIG AM Parts

VW Unveils First All-Electric Hill-Climbing Race Car

 
June 21st, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Volkswagen Motorsport is charging to the start line of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, thanks in part to a new collaboration with ANSYS to develop its first-ever, fully-electric race car — the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak. With a goal of setting a new time record for electric cars at the race, Volkswagen Motorsport tapped into ANSYS’ Pervasive Engineering Simulation solutions to create a digital prototype of the battery system and optimize the electric propulsion system of the I.D. R Pikes Peak race car.

Behind the wheel of the 680-horsepower sports car prototype, Volkswagen Driver Romain Dumas will attempt a new time record for electric cars at the 96th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Race.

The aerodynamic design of the I.D. R Pikes Peak car was developed for extreme conditions and to meet the specific challenges of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

High altitude results in about 35 percent lower air density, which creates different aerodynamic conditions than a racetrack on flat land. In addition to real-time data and results, ANSYS solutions were used to simulate driving conditions that cannot be recreated in a traditional wind tunnel. With ANSYS solutions, Volkswagen engineers calculated the ideal balance of cooling airflow and aerodynamic loss and determined the best battery cooling strategy for optimal performance of the vehicle.

Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak Test Drive

“Perfect energy management is a critical factor for beating the record in the electric car category at Pikes Peak,” said François-Xavier Demaison, technical director at Volkswagen Motorsport and I.D. R Pikes Peak project manager. “The first test drive at Pikes Peak was successful and demonstrated the accuracy of our simulations. Our team is confident in the vehicle’s performance and eager to set a new record in the category.”

Read the rest of VW Unveils First All-Electric Hill-Climbing Race Car

Hexagon Announces “The Platform Of Platforms” At HxGN Live: Xalt

 
June 14th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Las Vegas is not one of my favorite places, especially in June, but I’m really glad I was there this week to attend HxGN Live 2018 to learn the latest and greatest from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) grew out of what used to be known as Hexagon Metrology. Metrology (the science of measurement) is still a big part of Hexagon with its hardware and software offerings, but has grown far beyond that with acquisitions that include Vero Software (CAD/CAM) and MSC Software (simulation/analysis). Hexagon now covers the entire product development process from design to production to inspection.

During the course of HxGN Live, updates were provided on many of HMI’s products, but the most significant announcement was about an initiative for interconnecting Hexagon’s and other products – Xalt – a new framework for accelerating digital transformation by better leveraging and exploiting IoT data.

The goal of Xalt (pronounced “ex-alt”) is to create Autonomous Connected Ecosystems (ACE), a state or condition where data is connected seamlessly through the convergence of the physical world with the digital, and intelligence is built-in to all processes – literally from the core to the edge of a customer’s network.

The Big Leap: Ola Rollen Keynote Presentation at HxGN Live 2018

Xalt’s framework leverages disruptive technologies that address the critical IoT points of leverage: ubiquitous enterprise integration; cloud orchestration; data visualization; built-in mobility; intelligent edge connectivity; and artificial intelligence (AI). As the cornerstone of Hexagon’s ACE strategy, it delivers industry-specific solutions that integrate sensors, data, and software to create “smart” digital realities.

“Perhaps the single greatest need in business today is autonomous insight. This means much more than operational line of sight – it means being able to leverage vast amounts of data behind the scenes, where connected devices and machines interpret what’s happening and why, and then act accordingly autonomously,” said Ola Rollén, Hexagon President and CEO. “Customers need to operate based on the whole picture, not just the big picture – something not humanly possible without the aid of AI and visualization technologies.”

Read the rest of Hexagon Announces “The Platform Of Platforms” At HxGN Live: Xalt

Materials Matter With Dassault Systèmes and Granta Design Partnership

 
June 7th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Design and manufacturing seem to get most of the attention where many product development processes are concerned, and for the most part, relatively little attention seems to be paid to the materials that will comprise these great new products. That’s about to change a little bit, though, with Dassault Systèmes collaborating with Granta Design to help product development teams make better decisions about the materials they use for the products they are developing.

Through this new partnership, Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform will integrate with Granta Design’s GRANTA MI system for materials information management, improving productivity, collaboration, and product quality.

The integration of GRANTA MI technology will provide approved information from a company’s materials database that will be directly available to its product innovation teams using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Designers, engineers, simulation analysts and other stakeholders will be able to quickly access accurate and consistent information on materials and their properties, and check that requirements on their structural behavior, cost, application, compliance or sustainability are fulfilled. This partnership also dovetails nicely into Dassault’s sustainability products, services, and initiatives

Materials Gateway For Abaqus/CAE With Granta Design – Dassault Systèmes

“Science-driven companies using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to explore materials now gain higher levels of confidence and flexibility in their innovation process,” said Leif Pedersen, CEO, BIOVIA, Dassault Systèmes. “The ability to search and assign the right material directly impacts the user experience, from the stiffness of a tennis racket or the cushioning of a car seat, to the right material for additive manufacturing, all while addressing increasing consumer awareness of the environmental impact of their product investment. Our customers need to understand the materials they are using, throughout the product innovation process.”

Read the rest of Materials Matter With Dassault Systèmes and Granta Design Partnership

Stratasys Has Tough First Half, Looks Ahead To Future

 
May 31st, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Given enough time, virtually all companies experience ups and downs, highs and lows, and peaks and valleys. It goes without saying that these cycles are inevitable in the course of any business, and an industry that seems to have more than its share of major swings is additive manufacturing/3D printing, and a company that has had its share of these cycles of late is Stratasys.

As an example, this week, Stratasys Ltd. announced that Ilan Levin  decided to resign from his positions as CEO and Director, effective June 1, 2018.

Elchanan (Elan) Jaglom, the Company’s current Chairman of the Board, will serve as CEO until a successor is appointed. Mr. Jaglom’s service in the position of Chairman and CEO simultaneously requires shareholder approval in accordance with Israeli law. Stratasys plans to call a shareholder meeting to seek that approval. Mr. Levin will provide ongoing consultancy services to the Company following his resignation, as needed.

The Company’s Board of Directors has appointed an Oversight Committee to help support the management of the Company during the interim period, until a successor is appointed. The committee is comprised of the Company’s Vice Chairman of the Board, Executive Director and former CEO, David Reis, along with additional Directors Scott Crump, previous Chairman and Founder, and Dov Ofer.

Interview With Eldad Itzhak, Director of Product Management, Stratasys At RAPID + TCT 2018

Read the rest of Stratasys Has Tough First Half, Looks Ahead To Future

Carbon 3D: Taking AM From Prototyping To Production

 
May 24th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

Carbon is an additive manufacturing system company that bridges hardware, software, and molecular science to further digital 3D manufacturing that goes far beyond prototyping. With Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology and its SpeedCell system, manufacturers can explore new business opportunities such as mass customization, on-demand inventory, and differentiated products made with unique functional materials.

Carbon’s vision is a future fabricated with light, where traceable, final-quality parts are produced at scale with Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology. CLIP is a fast photochemical process that eliminates the shortcomings of conventional 3D printing by using light and oxygen to rapidly produce objects from a pool of resin.

Carbon entered the market just over three years ago with its innovative resin-based 3D printing technology, bringing to market its first 3D printer, the M1, a year later. The SpeedCell system with the M2 3D printer and Smart Part Washer was introduced in 2017.

Carbon M1 3D Printer Demonstration

The Process

Despite industry advances, traditional approaches to additive manufacturing force trade-offs between surface finish and mechanical properties. In contrast, DLS (Digital Light Synthesis) technology, enabled by Carbon’s proprietary CLIP process, is a unique technology that uses digital light projection, oxygen permeable optics, and programmable liquid resins to produce parts with excellent mechanical properties, resolution, and surface finish.

Traditionally 3D printed parts have been notoriously inconsistent. Conventional 3D printed materials often exhibit variable strength and mechanical properties depending on the direction in which they were printed. DLS parts behave consistently in all directions. The resolution and gentleness of the process — where parts aren’t harshly repositioned with every slice — make it possible to exploit a range of materials that have surface finish and detail needed for end–use parts.

CLIP is a photochemical process that carefully balances light and oxygen to rapidly produce parts. It works by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable window into a reservoir of UV-curable resin. As a sequence of UV images are projected, the part solidifies and the build platform rises.

The heart of the CLIP process is the “dead zone” – a thin, liquid interface of uncured resin between the window and the printing part. Light passes through the dead zone, curing the resin above it to form a solid part. Resin flows beneath the curing part as the print progresses, maintaining the “continuous liquid interface” that powers CLIP.

Once a part is printed with CLIP, it’s baked in a forced-circulation oven. Heat sets off a secondary chemical reaction that causes the materials to adapt and strengthen.

Read the rest of Carbon 3D: Taking AM From Prototyping To Production

ESPRIT CAM Software: Smart Machining From The Cloud To The Manufacturing Floor

 
May 9th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

DP Technology and its ESPRIT CAM System deliver a wide range of machining solutions for Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing.

DP Technology Corp is a privately held company co-founded in 1982 by Daniel Frayssinet and Paul Ricard. The company gets its name from the first names of the co-founders – (D)an and (P)aul. The company’s corporate headquarters is in Camarillo, California. The rest of the company is structured by function with offices in France, Germany, India, Italy, China, and Japan.

DP Technology is the developer of the diverse ESPRIT CAM System sold and supported via the company’s regional offices and its network of resellers around the world. ESPRIT has also developed close partnerships with several leading milling, turning, and wire-EDM machine tool manufacturers, including Okuma, Mazak, DMG Mori, Citizen, STAR, Mitsubishi, GF AgiCharmilles, Doosan, and Tsugami, just to name a few.

ESPRIT literally gets its name from the French noun, esprit de corps, that translates to spirit of a body of persons or group spirit; sense of pride, honor, etc. shared by those in the same group or undertaking.

DP Technology develops CAM software for a full range of machine tool applications. ESPRIT CAM, DP Technology’s flagship product line, is a full-spectrum programming system for milling, turning, wire EDM, and multitasking machine tools. ESPRIT’s data exchange functionality reads data from most native formats, including Autodesk Inventor, CATIA, SOLIDWORKS, Solid Edge, NX, ACIS, and Pro/ENGINEER (Creo). DP Technology also provides complementary add-ins for several CAD programs.

DP Technology continually reinforces its commitment to its technology and customers by dedicating approximately 25% of its annual revenues to ongoing product research and development. According to Don Davies, VP of Americas, DP Technology Corp., the company also has what he called “shadow R&D,” who are application engineers in the field developing post processors and simulation solutions with machine tool OEMs and dealers.

Don Davies, VP of Americas, DP Technology Corp. at SOLIDWORKS World 2018

When asked about the state of the CAM market, Davies said that it is largely fragmented into distinct segments – integrated CAD/CAM vendors, such as Dassault Systemes, PTC, and Siemens PLM Software; and independent CAM vendors, such as DP Technology, Mastercam, and other VAR-based dealers. He said each has its own advantages but thought that the dedicated efforts that independent companies specializing in CAM bring the most to the table, and obviously, he felt that DP Technology had the ability to serve up the most comprehensive product/technology lineup in the competitive CAM market.

DP Technology is helping manufacturers prepare for the digital transformation that’s taking place in manufacturing, with solutions including digital twinning, digital threads, machine-aware manufacturing, knowledge-based machining, and cloud-enabled databases.

To prepare manufacturers for an increasingly digital future, and to better support Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing initiatives, DP Technology is focusing on a range of solutions to drive automation in manufacturing. The ESPRIT CAM System enables manufacturers to streamline workflows, prevent silos from forming during the manufacturing process, increase tool life and machine utilization, and create greater access to practical knowledge for process improvement.
Read the rest of ESPRIT CAM Software: Smart Machining From The Cloud To The Manufacturing Floor

Wohlers Report 2018: AM Grows Overall With Metal Rising

 
May 3rd, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

An independent consulting firm and industry source that we know quite well, Wohlers Associates, Inc., recently released the Wohlers Report 2018, the company’s annual detailed analysis of additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing worldwide.

Wohlers Associates is widely recognized as the leading consulting firm and foremost authority on additive manufacturing and 3D printing. This annual publication has served as the undisputed industry-leading report on the subject for two decades. Over the 23 years of its publication, many (including me) have referred to the report as the “bible” of additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing—terms that are used interchangeably by the company (and industry).

Wohlers Report 2018 is filled with insightful data and perspective to inform readers of the most critical developments in the industry. According to the new report, an estimated 1,768 metal AM systems were sold in 2017, compared to 983 systems in 2016, an increase of nearly 80%. This dramatic rise in metal AM system installations accompanies improved process monitoring and quality assurance measures in metal AM, although more work is ahead. Increasingly, global manufacturers are becoming aware of the benefits of producing metal parts by additive manufacturing.

The Dramatic Rise In Metal AM System Sales (Source: Wohlers Report 2018)

Read the rest of Wohlers Report 2018: AM Grows Overall With Metal Rising

RAPID + TCT 2018: Metal and Post-Processing

 
April 26th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

This past week I had the pleasure of attending RAPID + TCT 2018, a conference and exhibition that showcases 3D printing/additive manufacturing with a myriad new technologies, materials, and processes. The event, put on by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is a highlight of the year for us, and again, we came away overwhelmed (in a very good way) by all that we witnessed.

Much like last year, if there were three words to describe the SME’s RAPID + TCT 3D Printing & Manufacturing Event they would be metal, metal, and metal — machines producing metal parts were everywhere. This year marked the 28th event and seemed more like a mini IMTS than an additive manufacturing show with exhibitors ranging from material suppliers to post processors to traditional machining companies. There were, of course, the industry heavy hitters, but there were also a lot of startup companies exhibiting for the first time that made things really interesting.

Post-processing also got a lot of exposure as companies providing these technologies had more of a presence and recognizing that this important aspect of AM needs to be an integral part of the production process, and not relegated to being an afterthought.

This year’s theme was “3D In 360°,” meaning the industry is starting to come full circle in terms of capabilities and potential, and this theme was clearly evident in the technical sessions and on the exhibit show floor. This year continued a distinct change of industry direction from one-off rapid prototyping of parts to production quantities in the hundreds and even thousands.

Read the rest of RAPID + TCT 2018: Metal and Post-Processing

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