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 66 of 75

AM / Fast-Tracking the Supply Chain 65 Save at the Tool, Manage the Chain Company cofounders Darrell Stafford and Rick Shibko are both veterans of Honda, where they saw firsthand the challenges in procuring parts on a large scale. During their tenure there, the automaker launched an initiative to reduce the development cycle for a new vehicle from 24 months down to just 12. 3D-printed tooling helped Honda achieve a shorter, compressed development cycle, and motivated Shibko and Stafford to launch Catalysis Additive Tooling in 2015. But Catalysis was also formed to solve another problem: disparate parties work- ing in silos to design the part, make the tooling and use the tooling to produce the product. The company's founders set about building a different system, so that when a customer comes to Catalysis to buy parts, the company can supervise everything from product design through delivery. Catalysis is the custom- er's single point of contact that also manages and informs each step of the supply chain, often enabling a better end product. 3D Printing Plus Partners The end parts the company provides are primarily plastic injection-molded or vacuum-formed parts and foam or com- posite parts made with 3D-printed tooling. Catalysis owns little equipment on its own; leveraging relationships with equipment suppliers, service bureaus, mold shops and others allows Cataly- sis to use the best technologies available for the job, not just the ones it has in house. It also permits flexibility in part quantities. "Our tag line is that we can support from one to 1 million parts," Shibko says. Catalysis can handle prototype and low- volume runs of parts in house, while high-volume production is performed by strategic partners. Chief among them is D-Terra Solutions, an engineering and supply chain firm with contract manufacturers worldwide and nearly 30 years serving OEMs of various sizes. Once part quantities surpass the level that Catalysis can make itself, jobs often pass to D-Terra for completion. Catal- ysis benefits from the networks and resources D-Terra can offer, while D-Terra can draw on Cataylsis's 3D printing knowledge. Collaborative relationships like this are not only mutually bene- ficial, but necessary. It would be impossible for Catalysis to specialize in every stage of the supply chain for any scale, or to offer every available AM technology in house. Catalysis's role instead is to be knowledgeable about the available options, with a special focus on 3D-printed tooling, and to bring in the right players for each job. Part of Catalysis's value proposition is its ability to bring disparate parties together. This DMLS mold was created with input from the 3D printing firm, Catalysis and its injection molding partner. The resulting tool features an unusual geometry to save time in printing, and strategically placed honeycomb structures for heat dissipation during injection molding. A vacuum-forming tool (left) 3D-printed from silica sand, infil- trated with resin and coated, with a part it produced. Catalysis manufactures prototypes and short runs using this vacuum- forming machine in its Advanced Manufacturing Center in Powell, Ohio. Larger volumes are manufactured by strategic partners. The injection-mold tool shown above is an example of how this philosophy works in practice. Catalysis worked closely with both its injection molding partner and a direct metal laser sinter- ing (DMLS) firm to create this unusual tool. The cutouts on the part reduced the build time and material needed to 3D print the tool. Meanwhile, the fine honeycomb structure around the cavity also saves material, but acts primarily as a heat sink; air blown through the tool during the molding process can be

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