Additive Manufacturing

NOV 2018

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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Page 21 of 75

NOVEMBER 2018 Additive Manufacturing FEATURE / AM as a Service 20 By Peter Zelinski them," he says. "Right now, someone comes to one of our cribs wanting something, and we have to begin the ordering process." 3D printing can in many cases offer a better way. It provides not only the potential to deliver the item more quickly, but also the chance to work with the customer on-site to optimize the design of what might be a specialty or custom component. The manufacturer's entire sense of the role of a supply crib and what kind of service the crib can provide might change. Ultimately, every PSMI crib could have access to 3D print- ing, says Burk, but only some cribs are large enough that they will justify having a 3D printer operating on site. Today, Azoth is testing the new model with a small number of customers doing business with PSMI at a scale large enough to justify one or two on-site machines. The 3D printer Azoth has chosen comes from Rize. Burk says safety and simplicity are two of the factors that drove this choice. Several points make Rize's 3D printers distinctive, including the following: • Tandem process. Rize's process for building polymer parts uses extrusion and material jetting in tandem. The result is a part with isotropic strength, meaning there is no change in strength along the direction of 3D-printed layer lines, so part performance is not affected by orientation during printing. We have covered the potential for additive manufacturing (AM) to change production processes and part designs. What about the business model? This possibility—a different model for delivering parts, based on AM—is one that Production Services Management Inc. (PSMI) has seen and is now pursuing. Adding 3D printing capability to existing customer sites by means of its newly created "Azoth" business unit will allow PSMI to give these customers access to 3D printing essentially for free. The idea shines a new light on the question of whether additive manufacturing is most effectively performed by current conventional manufacturers or by separate suppliers. Azoth is pointing the way toward a third option: a separate supplier resident within a conventional manufacturer. Founded in 2005, PSMI is a company that operates and manages tool cribs and MRO supply cribs for manufacturing customers. Depending on the customer's size, from one to 50 PSMI employees might work inside of a customer's plant to provide manufacturing hardware such as tooling, spare parts and other supplies. PSMI optimizes this part of the manufactur- er's operations by monitoring usage to both control inventory and seek the most cost-effective sources for needed compo- nents. Adding 3D printing elevates this model into something altogether different, by providing PSMI with the option to not just order a hardware component for a customer, but instead generate that part on-site right before the customer's eyes. Scott Burk is co-president of both PSMI and the new sister company Azoth. "Using 3D printing this way is going to let us add more value for our customers and become more valuable to Embedded Service as a Model for Delivering AM PSMI manages ordering and inventory of tooling and MRO supplies for major manufacturers. Installing 3D printers within those customer sites offers an entirely different way to service this demand. Here is an example of the kind of customer component the supply crib can now provide. These tools are two compo- nents of a custom fixture for a machining operation.

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