If you've been following my blog posts lately, you may recall that the 3D Printing Sales and Applications team attended AMUG this year in Chicago. I asked everyone what they learned. I thought it would be beneficial to give their own points of view.
This first "learnings" will be from Nate Harris, our Director of all things additive.
- Stratasys has over 1,200 granted and pending patents on their technology… Over 27 alone on the new F123! Over 150,000 commercial installed units. No question in my mind… a leader in technologies that dominate the majority of applications our customers need to solve problems.
- Traditional Jigs-Figures workflow vs 3D Printing Jigs-Figures workflow:
- Traditional: Design à Drawing à Approval Loop à Procurement à Fabrication (CNC or Machining) à Manual Assembly à Validation (Approx 7 steps over 3-7days)
- 3D Printing: Design à Fabrication (“lights out printing overnight”) à Manual Assembly (maybe) à Validation (Approx 3-4 steps over 1-2 days)
- At Naval Surface Warfare Center, their favorite printer is Connex 350. Currently 3D scanning barnacle growth on ship hull, then 3D printing the image, then doing hydrodynamic testing on printed surface to measure “drag” on ships due to different ocean growth on ship hulls (called Biofouling). This helps them to develop alternative coatings for ships to encourage or discourage different types of organic growth on the ship’s hull.
- One of biggest benefits to 3D printing at GE was consolidation of parts. Before 3D printing, the Combustor Case of an engine comprised of over 300 parts. Now printed in 1 part that is lighter, more aerodynamic, with less failure points and no joints that leak.
- There’s a VERY viable business between 3D printing in plastics/resins and metals. A sweet-spot where we can print in plastic/resin and coat them in metals… basically, become a composite print of plastic & metal without the expense of buying a metal printer (refer to Jeremy’s talks on the very same topic). We have vendors today that can metal plate printed parts from our FDM and Polyjet printers.