Director of Business Development, Arevo
3D printing has been widely used for over three decades, primarily for prototyping, low
volume, or specialized production. However,
novel technologies have recently been developed by start-
up companies that will enable the transition of 3D printing
from a niche process technology to cost-effective additive
manufacturing for large parts produced in high volume.
Examples include bike frames, baby strollers, outdoor gear,
sporting goods, mobility devices, and furniture.
The value of such advanced technologies for OEMs is
immense based on a variety of factors. First, high volume parts
will soon be mass customized; meaning parts can be uniquely
built on a large scale using software driven algorithms in a toolless manufacturing process. Imagine producing several thousand
bike frames on a single manufacturing cell, each one tailored
and fabricated to a specific design or size as defined by the user
and software; analogous to printing the different pages of a book
off a single printer.
Second, the capability to build parts immediately
that meet end-use performance criteria allows for faster
commercialization of new products. The elimination of tools,
which can take several weeks or months to build before a single
part is produced, can cut product development cycles by 50
percent or more.
Third, additive manufacturing will optimize supply chain
efficiencies between the consumer and
manufacturer anywhere in the world.
Imagine a user designing and submitting
an order for a bike frame on an OEM’s
webpage. The manufacturer will have
this bike frame “printed,” assembled,
and delivered within in a few days
while minimizing inventory and delivery
distance/time. Additionally, beginning-of-life (BOL) and end-of-life (EOL)
product management will become a
thing of the past.
Most importantly, the quality and
performance of the parts will be
exceptional—stronger than metals at
one-third the weight, based on carbon
fiber composite materials.
AM technologies that enable such
disruptions will lead the way for the next
wave of the industrial revolution.
Business Development Manager,
Texas Instruments DLP® Products
In the short-term, I see the use of 3D printing for finished goods continuing to print piece parts going
into assembled products—pieces like product cases,
fittings, and accessories, basically any part that might be otherwise
injection molded is a candidate. The hardware speeds, printed
feature sizes, and data connectivity options of 3D printers today
can handle the throughput demands for many of these use cases.
Material scientists have been introducing new resins that can be
cured more quickly with more readily available light sources. These
advancements are being achieved while also delivering compelling
characteristics such as printed objects that are isotropic, tolerant
to heat, or have very high tensile strength that can make the final
print robust enough to meet the demands of a consumer product.
Materials beyond plastics are up for consideration. There have
been some wonderful innovations in the past couple of years that
are constantly expanding applications for 3D printing in sometimes
unexpected ways. I expect we will see more innovations in hybrid
printing techniques and composite materials. Industrial 3D printer
companies are already combining UV stereolithography techniques
with sintering ovens to print with ceramic and metal powders
suspended in polymer resins, for example. It also opens up the
possibilities of more product options for the end-user—whether it
is for customized shoes, watches, jewelry, smartphone accessories,
headsets, or some newly created product category. ECN
Central Semiconductor Corp . . . . . . . . 5
Components Corporation . . . . . . . . . . 23
Digi-Key Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1, 2
EPCOSAG .................... 11
Hammond Manufacturing Co, Inc . . . 19
Harwin Plc UK.................. 21
Memory Protection Devices, Inc . . . . 28
OKW Enclosures................. 17
Precision Paper Tube Co . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Rogers Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Rutronik Electronics Worldwide . . . . . 13
State Of The Art, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Universe Kogaku................. 24
ECN® (ISSN [1523-3081], USPS [172-060]), is published monthly, except bi-monthly in July/Aug & Nov/Dec ( 10 times
per year) by Advantage Business Media, 100 Enterprise Drive, Suite 600, Rockaway, NJ 07866. No part of this publication
may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed in articles are those of
the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Advantage Business Media.
Periodicals Mail postage paid at Rockaway, NJ 07866 and at additional mailing offices.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes/cancellations to ECN, 100 Enterprise Drive, Suite 600, Rockaway, NJ 07866,
email: ABM_return@advantagemedia.com. Publications Mail Agreement No. 41336030. Return undeliverable Canadian
addresses to: Imex/Pitney Bowes, P.O. Box 1632, Windsor Ontario N9A 7C9.
Subscriptions are free to qualified individuals.
Printed in USA: Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, however Advantage
Business Media and its employees cannot accept responsibility for the correctness of information supplied, advertisements,
or opinions expressed. Copyright ©2017 Advantage Business Media. All rights reserved. www.ECNmag.com • 10/2017