Renaud Vasseur By Renaud Vasseur • April 26, 2018

Rapid + TCT Additive Manufacturing Highlights

As the Rapid+TCT additive manufacturing conference winds to a close, the industry enjoys unprecedented product and service innovation.

Opening Keynote

The 3D printing conference kicked-off with Todd Grimm's keynote speech, T. A. Grimm & Associates President and among the TCT Magazine 20 most influential AM professionals. 

Grimm focused on new 3D printing and 3D scanning product roundup. Among the opening night product highlights was the LINK3D Digital Factory 3D printer  workflow software, secured with blockchain technology.

The Future of Additive Manufacturing

A panel discussion with young engineers provided insight into the future of additive manufacturing. Mike Kline, an applications engineer with Lockheed Martin, wants to see more adoption with mass customization. Alex Platowski, a staff scientist with with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, wants to see AM as a vehicle for science and fundamentally understanding materials.

Challenges in the 3D Printing space

Painting a thorough picture of what to expect in the 3D printing space, the young professionals called for
standardized processes, materials and machine predictability. And to fill the skills gap, there was also an expressed need for more training programs and training weaved into high school and college curriculum for industry growth.

Aside from the lack of basic education in the field, the biggest barriers and challenges facing the AM field include end user’s own safety, according to the panel. A big hurdle facing material suppliers is setting a certification standards for safe equipment, especially against thermal cycling. This is in addition to overcoming the cultural mindset to resist change, convincing C-level execs AM efficiently produces better products and the trial and error involved with finding the right alloys for AM production.

Additive Manufacturing  Future Opportunities

Additive Manufacturing Challenges & Future Opportunities

On day 3 of the conference, prof. Milan Brandt, Director of RMIT Centre for Additive Manufacturing, chaired a panel weighing current challenges in additive manufacturing. With AM applications for not only plastics and metal, but ceramic powders, biological and organic feedstock is increasing exponentially on an annual basis.

Opening the door for new concepts, this growth also opens the door to new technology, materials, certification and training challenges. These challenges, including the growth rate and technology adoption, are encouraging innovation and, ultimately, global AM growth.

Thoughts From the Next Generation of Additive Manufacturing Experts

Young experts discuss what to expect in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) space in the coming years at the Rapid+TCT Conference. Alex Platowski, a staff scientist with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, wants to see AM determine material usability across all industries.  Michael A. Kline, a senior manufacturing application engineer with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, wants to see more adoption with mass customization. The main conclusions of the panel include three main points to the barriers of AM progress, specifically: 1) resistance to change, 2) safety standards and 3) standardization of processes.  

LINK3D AM Analytics

In addition to LINK3D blockchain technology, the company also announced its Analytics software module. Promising accurate insight and mining for accurate forecasting, LINK3D Analytics will be integrated into its Digital Factory proprietary software. Further enhancing the additive manufacturing workflow processes, it ensures optimized machine utilization and efficiency.

LINK3D Analytics automatically reviews and enhances operations insights. Mining imperative data to ensure accurate forecasting, Analytics is based on several individual criteria that includes order requests, materials used, build-failure percentage and production volume. LINK3D Analytics promises AM facility managers accurate and predictive project completion that result in maximum ROI.

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