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Boeing 3D Printing

By i3d

The Use Of 3D Printing At Boeing

The Use Of 3D Printing At Boeing

The use of 3D printing at Boeing is alive and strong and here’s how they are using it. Leo Christodoulou is the Director of Structures and Materials, Enterprise Operations and Technology at Boeing  (NYSE:BA). During a presentation at the recent Additive Manufacturing for Aerospace, Defense and Space conference he gave insights into how 3D printing is increasingly used at the world’s largest aerospace company and the largest U.S. manufacturing exporter.

The Pentagon just recently awarded Boeing a $679 million deal for the Super Hornet spacecraft which features at least 150 parts made using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) metal 3D printing. To date, there are more than 50,000 additive manufacturing parts being used successfully on Boeing aircraft.

Christodoulou, explaining the advantages to additive manufacturing, said:

AM holds at least three promising advantages. First, AM enables designs with novel geometries that would be difficult or impossible to achieve using CM processes, which can improve a component’s engineering performance. Second, AM can reduce the “cradle-to-gate” environmental footprints of component manufacturing through avoidance of the tools, dies, and materials scrap associated with CM processes. Third, novel geometries enabled by AM technologies can also lead to performance and environmental benefits in a component’s product application.

The general belief from Boeing’s perspective is that 3D printing will dominate tooling and it can cut costs by up to 70% which is extremely significant.  Additionally, Boeing sees ways that additive manufacturing can actually begin to create new design innovations and architectures.

future of additive manufacturing

By i3d

The Future Of Additive Manufacturing

The Future Of Additive Manufacturing

Last year, GE made headlines in the Additive Manufacturing world when they announced the purchase of Arcam AB and Concept Laser. This was the largest deal to date in the 3D printing industry. GE, somewhat of a newcomer to 3D metal printing, is now helping to push and define the future of additive manufacturing.

GE’s current Chief Productivity Officer and Senior Vice President, Philippe Cochet spoke many years ago about how, “the application of insights from digital connectivity with intelligent devices will elevate the skills of our workforce.”

As GE has ventured into the industry, they have defined three levels of thinking about additive manufacturing at an industrial level:

  • Component thinking
  • Systems thinking
  • DfAM (tearing down the product and designing for additive manufacturing)

The well known CFM LEAP-1A Fuel Nozzle is classed as level 1 additive thinking. In this case additive manufacturing was applied to an existing multi piece part, reducing the number of components from 20 to a single piece. One particularly costly process that was eliminated by the move to 3D printing was that a nickel alloy brazed together with  foils using gold, in traditional nozzle method is no longer required.

An example of level 2 thinking is the CT7 Combustor. This was an 18 month project on an engine that powers fixed wing craft. By using 3D printing, over 100 pieces were consolidated into one. (systems thinking)

Level 3, however, is where GE is today. An example is the Advanced Turboprop engine (ATP). 855 parts were reduced to 12 and the new process eliminated structural castings (though some casting is still required). The ATP has 20% lowered mission fuel burn, 5% weight reduction and the test schedule was reduced from 12 to 6 months.

Achieving these types of results is what will be driving additive manufacturing and the future of the industry. This gives freedom to enterprises seeking to push the boundaries of what is possible.

By i3d

I3DMFG Featured On A2Z Manufacturing Magazine Cover

I3DMFG Featured On A2Z Manufacturing Magazine Cover

I3D Manufacturing is the feature story and on the cover of the latest issues of A2Z Manufacturing Magazine. The story begins on page 26 and can be read right here.

A2Z did an incredible 3-page story highlighting how I3D is leading the way for additive manufacturing as an ITAR registered company and supporting some of the largest aerospace customers with cost-effective, small batch complex and high-value metal parts.

I3D is currently in the process of certifying to AS9100 Rev. D, by Q3 of 2017.

You can find a copy of this entire article here in our DMLS library as well.

3D Printing Aerospace

By i3d

3D Printing Aerospace With Donald Godfrey

3D Printing Aerospace With Donald Godfrey

Donald Godfrey of Honeywell is a pioneer is the additive manufacturing segment, and more specifically the use of 3D metal printing (DMLS) for Aerospace parts at Honeywell. He recently sat down for an interview (podcast) and discussed 3D printing Aerospace in regards to how rapid prototyping is providing incredible time and cost savings as well as detailing what engineering students need to know and be doing in school right now if they want to pursue this field.

Don is the chair to the Honeywell Aerospace Intellectual Property Steering Committee for Additive Manufacturing Technology. He’s responsible for the integration of 3D printing into the business cultures, really trying to find ways to put that into different areas within the company.

During the interview, we learn that Honeywell has really been a huge champion for 3D printing and specifically in the aerospace segment.  Don gave a great example,

Let me give you an example. When we do turbine blades, we don’t do turbine blades and it’s not our intention to do turbine blades in production. But for prototype, we do. It may take three years to get your hands on a production blade. Typically, what happens is that after you get that cast blade and it’s machined perfectly to print, you’ll flow air through it or you’ll put it in an engine test. Some engineer will want to go and change it.

That is a real problem because the tooling, to get to that point, you’ve already spent $600,000, $700,000, you’ve waited three years and now somebody wants to go change it. That means that tool that you just spent three quarters of a million dollars on, somebody’s out there machining on it. With this technology, what I can do is print those blades in about two weeks.

I can print what we call a rainbow of blades. Meaning, I can make some just a little bit different than others. Maybe the openings are a couple of thousandths larger or maybe the shapes just a slight differentiation from the baseline. I can do all of that in less than a month. Then, I can, say, if I made five different shapes of blades, I can take the best blade and then take that CAD file, go back to the casting house and say, “Make this.”

That’s some really good insight into what the future of this industry is. Don had a lot more to say and some incredible examples of how DMLS is shaping an entirely new generation of engineers and manufacturing industries.  You can listen to the podcast here.

 

By i3d

3D Printing Will Change Design and Manufacturing In 2017

3D Printing Will Change Design and Manufacturing In 2017

While much of the focus lately has been on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality as well as machine learning and big data, 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing) is developing into something just as significant.

In 2017, experts believe that Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, will have a huge impact on how we design and make things; even more so than it already has. Additive Manufacturing works by depositing layers of material (generally metal or plastic), to a template, and then lasering that material into place and repeating the process to build the required product.

Using Additive Manufacturing you can make anything from jet engine parts to replacement body parts to bikes and firearms.

3D Printing has had a lot of attention on the consumer side, however, it is rapidly growing as a major player and potential replacement to manufacturing in industry.

Two recent examples reported in Forbes,

Computerworld reported that researchers at MIT have created 3D-printed graphene, the one-molecule-thick wonder material, to make a material that they say is “lighter than air” but 10 times as strong as steel. If it can be scaled up, it could help to lightweight products such as aircraft, cars and filtration devices, saving huge amounts of fuel, costs and carbon emissions.

At the other end of the scale, CNN reports on a Dubai-based start-up called Cazza that says it can 3D print 200m2 of concrete a day, using a 3D-printing crane it calls the “Minitank.” By automating the process, the company says it can build structures more than 50% faster than conventional methods allow.
Siemens is major player and has been leading the industry making 3D printed burners for its turbines which creates one component that originally took 13 different parts with traditional subtractive manufacturing.
3D printing is also set to revolutionize maintenance and repair operations as well.
It’s good to note that Additive Manufacturing is not the answer for every situation. It currently remains feasible for high-value, complex, limited edition products and components.
Experts generally agree that over the next five years, Additive manufacturing will allow industry to cut costs by 50% and dramatically increase innovation.

By i3d

Historic 3D Printed Rocket Engine Flight by Bagaveev Corporation

Historic 3D Printed Rocket Engine Flight by Bagaveev Corporation

I3D MFG 3D prints rocket thrusters in metal for Bagaveev Corporation. Bagaveev wanted to show how far the technology has moved and relevant Powder Laser Forging is by publishing a video on YouTube that shows their historic test of its 3D printed rocked engine flight.

  Read more

additive printing

By i3d

News: GE Opens $40 million Center For Additive Technology Advancement

GE Opens $40 million Center For Additive Technology Advancement

With all of the big names getting the attention in 3D printing, many are surprised to learn that GE (General Electric) is also a big player.  GE is pretty cautious when it comes to large investments in technology as they have seen trends come and go, however, their $40 million investment this past week in a facility for Additive Technology (3D printing) confirms that they see the writing on the wall: Additive Manufacturing is not a fad or trend, it’s here to stay.

One really exciting thing that will come to fruition is the fact that GE never opens a facility just for the sake of using a technology; they will advance it further and that’s really why this announcement is such a big deal.  GE opened the new center in Pittsburgh which was exciting to the city because it puts them on the map as a leader in 3D printing and the advancements that come from it.

“We’ve tapped into America’s best-kept secret,” says Jennifer Cipolla, who runs CATA, in regards to Pittsburgh, where Tesla and Google have also opened offices.

“We think Pittsburgh has the chance to be one of the four or five destinations for advanced manufacturing,” adds GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt.

The new facility is funded by each of the GE businesses, with the goal of integrating 3D printing for all. GE has historically been very involved with 3D printing to create fuel nozzles for jet engines.

 “Our mission is to ensure additive technology becomes a standard part of the tool kit for each business,” Cipolla says. “By having a shared facility, they can share the cost burden and we can advance the technology across the entire company much more rapidly than if they were to invest individually.”

The goal is to push the limits of additive manufacturing and stay at the forefront of innovation within the industry. The CATA industrialization lab is meant to promote this mission, allowing GE businesses to bring in their 3D printing concepts and optimize them, as well as working to bring them to fruition.

If there was any doubt about the future of additive manufacturing and DMLS, then this move by GE should cement the fact that it’s not only here to stay but it’s going to become the standard in metal printing.

By i3d

FDA Releases New Guidance For 3D Printed Medical Devices

FDA Releases New Guidance For 3D Printed Medical Devices

Due to concerns over the various qualifications processes and impact of different materials, the FDA has been slow to approve the use of 3D printing when it comes to medical devices and drugs.  In order for the process to move quicker and more smoothly, the FDA has [finally] released a draft guidance for 3D printed medical devices.

Since technology typically moves a lot faster than most agencies can keep up with, this guidance comes at a time when then FDA has been been confronted with both the 3D printing of drugs and medical devices.

To date, there have only been 85 3D printed medical devices that have been approved by the FDA.   Back in March, a 3D printed tritanium PL posterior lumbar cage was approved. But so far few of them include high-risk devices that require premarket approval. The FDA feels that this group is more likely to benefit patients in the short term, so their new draft guidance is fully focused on these medical devices. Its goal? To provide developers with more insights into FDA thinking about the technical considerations and validation processes that 3D printed devices require.

The new FDA guidance is focused on two of the most important areas of development: design and manufacturing, and device testing.  The benefit here is that this new draft guidance provides insights into the most complicated parts of the approval process.

For 3D printers, this means they will need to “clearly identify each step in the printing process… from the initial device design to the post-processing of the final device.”  The developers and clients who might hire outsourced 3D printers also need to understand all upstream effects of the different manufacturing steps.

“For example, the ratio of recycled to virgin powder can affect melting properties, which affects the energy needed to create consistent bonding between layers, which in turn affects [a device’s] final mechanical properties,” they write in the draft.

This new FDA draft reiterates the fact that 3D metal printing holds numerous advantages for the development of medical devices.  The FDA writes this in their draft,

“[3D printing] has the advantage of facilitating the creation of anatomically-matched devices and surgical instrumentation by using a patient’s own medical imaging. Another advantage is the ease in fabricating complex geometric structures, allowing the creation of engineered porous structures, tortuous internal channels, and internal support structures that would not be easily possible using traditional (non-additive) manufacturing approaches…”

The full draft can be found here in our library.

By i3d

3 Big Reasons Why Metal 3D Printing Is Growing

3D Metal Printing (DMLS) is getting bigger.  In a recent article published by 3D Printing Industry, author Davide Sher highlights some of the reasons why the 3D Metal Printing industry isn’t shrinking or declining, it’s getting much bigger.

One of the reasons the 3D metal printing industry is getting bigger is competition. When you see tough competition, this indicates the need for the services and equipment or there wouldn’t be anyone in the market. There are currently about eight players in the space and more are coming onboard.  EOS is one of the market leaders along with Concept Laser.

Second, there are increasingly more technologies being used for 3D Metal printing. There are other technological approaches, for example, like the binder jetting technology proposed by ExOne and Digital Metals. Although binder jetting needs post processing, the technology can do things that powder bed fusion (currently the most widely used method) cannot.  These newer technologies will open yet unseen possibilities for thin walls, high detail, smooth finish, and fully dense parts that may even be made up of multiple materials in the future.

Third, there is actual demand for production parts coming out of 3D metal printing.  Both the automotive industry and the aerospace industry have began making parts not just for prototyping but actual production.

In the aerospace industry, the use of topological optimization and generative design is soon going to be a must in order to meet the environmental requirements of tomorrow.

Another indication for growth was highlighted in this Forbes article,

When GE, for example, chooses to invest $3.5 billionto purchase the 3D-printing machines that can produce metal parts and train the staff needed to run them, it’s not doing so because the technology is cool—it’s doing so because that’s where the additive manufacturing industry is headed.

 

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Boeing 3D Printing
The Use Of 3D Printing At Boeing
future of additive manufacturing
The Future Of Additive Manufacturing
I3DMFG Featured On A2Z Manufacturing Magazine Cover
3D Printing Aerospace
3D Printing Aerospace With Donald Godfrey
3D Printing Will Change Design and Manufacturing In 2017
Hot-Fire Tests Show 3D Printed Rocket Parts Rival Traditionally Manufactured Parts
additive printing
News: GE Opens $40 million Center For Additive Technology Advancement
3 Big Reasons Why Metal 3D Printing Is Growing