Additive Manufacturing

AUG 2017

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING is the magazine devoted to industrial applications of 3D printing and digital layering technology. We cover the promise and the challenges of this technology for making functional tooling and end-use production parts.

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TECH TRENDS CATEGORY: T Trends in Additive mtadditive.com 21 By David J. Burns Principal and Founder Global Business Advisory Services If you want to take a temperature check on an industry, one of the best places to find it is at a live event. In the case of additive manufacturing and its increasing use for indus- trial applications, the technology's latest and most anticipated developments were on display at Rapid + TCT 2017. Rapid + TCT is a 3D printing and additive manufactur- ing event, which this year took place in Pittsburgh. (This is fitting, as some are calling Pittsburgh the "Silicon Valley of 3D printing" because of the technology's growing presence in the region.) To give you an idea of the show's growth, this was the second time Rapid took place at the Pittsburgh Convention Center. In 2013, its first time there, about half of the conven- tion center was utilized for exhibits. In 2017, the exhibition floor space was doubled, fully filling the 70,000-square-foot convention center floor. As Technology Advances, AM Matures Continued on page 26 I was there with about 6,000 of my best friends, checking out 329 exhibitors and a number of educational and tech- nical presentations. Unlike some 3D printing shows, Rapid has transitioned to a predominately industrial focus. It has also become the venue of choice for additive manufacturing announcements and product introductions. Here were a few of the highlights. Coming Out Party for Desktop Metal Desktop Metal has developed two different systems for metal 3D printing: the Studio System, for rapid prototyping, and the Production System, for mass production. The Burlington, Massachusetts-based company set out to solve a primary complaint that many have about metal 3D printing: It's too expensive for rapid prototyping, and too slow and costly for mass production. The Studio System is for engineering teams, billed as a lower-cost, easier to use solution for rapid prototyping. The Pro- duction System uses a single-pass jetting process to print metal parts more quickly than laser-based systems, with cost per part that is competitive with traditional manufacturing processes. Desktop Metal had previously made headlines by raising nearly $100 million in investment funds, including from Google and GE. The Studio System is due to begin shipping in September, with the Produc- tion System coming to market in 2018. Interestingly (and simultaneously), Stratasys and Desktop announced an extension of their strategic partnership. Stratasys, a world leader in polymer print- ing, and Desktop will be working together in distribution, with Stratasys resellers also representing Desktop Metal. Stratasys CEO Ilan Levin said in a press release that their customers are "seeking additional ways to incorporate metal into their essential design and manufacturing processes." Tradition Meets New Technology One traditional machine tool compa- ny had a stand-alone booth at Rapid, RAPID + TCT 2017 took place at the Pittsburgh Convention Center. This year's event highlighted the increasing use of additive manufacturing for industrial applications, with 329 exhibitors spread across the center's 700,000-square-foot exhibition space.

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