It’s not easy being a small business in the current manufacturing environment. The face of manufacturing is changing, and businesses are eager for technological advances that could give them a competitive advantage.
Technology research firm Gartner has forecasted what it calls a tipping point in the growth of 3D printing in its first report on 3D printers priced under $US 100,000.
Stratasys has partnered with Aurora Office Automation in China to distribute the company’s Idea Series entry-level 3D printers, saying that personal 3D printers have hit the mainstream.
NASA engineers are preparing to launch a 3D printer, oven or toaster-sized depending on differing reports, able to operate in space.
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the future potential of additive manufacturing and whether it could even lead to the next industrial revolution.
3D printing has the potential to radically change businesses, starting with a big disruption to supply chains.
Castings and engineering solutions company Keech is currently shopping around for 3D printing technology, with a goal of having three units operating by year’s end.
Terry Wohlers, President of consulting firm Wohlers Associates and an influential 3D printing analyst, has lamented the hype around 3D printing and downplayed the talk of a “personal manufacturing revolution” driven by the technology.
Terry Wohlers, the President of Wohlers Associates, has commented on the global growth of 3D printing, with trends including China’s interest in the technology and the shift towards creating end-use parts.
What’s being described as a “factory in a box” is under development, with its owners planning to market a device with additive manufacturing as well as etching and milling capabilities.
Manufacturers’ Monthly is pleased to announce that we are currently featuring a half-hour webinar, hosted by Jonathan L Cobb of world leader Stratasys, titled Additive Manufacturing 101: Changing the Future of Product Development and Manufacturing.
Following its announcement that it hopes to have 3D printers operating at the International Space Station within a year, NASA has run tests of the largest 3D printed rocket engine component created so far.
Estonian start-up Fabulonia has launched a new “live cloud printing platform” called Fabsecure, which it claims will allow individuals and companies to monetise their 3D printing designs.
BPM 3D Technologies has been awarded a $141,700 Victorian government grant and will spend $500,000 of its own money with the goal of having three 3D printers up and running by Christmas.
NASA aims to have 3D printers designed by Made In Space operating on the International Space Station in June 2014.
“At the moment it’s so much of an education for local businesses where we are, the way it all operates,” explained Callum Davies from Filor, which in May added 3D printing to its range of 3D services, of attitudes towards the technology.
For all the hype surrounding 3D printing and what it could offer Australian businesses, there’s a fair bit of caution around investing in expensive, industrial-grade machines, and in finding what applications it might suit.
The age of 3D printing, when every object so created can be personalised, will increase the need for tags to keep track of everything.
Tech publication The Next Web asked nine young entrepreneurs about the direction the future could take due to the evolution of 3D printing.
In December the successful bidders for round 16 of the Cooperative Research Centre will be announced. If the Advanced Manufacturing CRC is successful in its re-bid, it aims to bring greater access to metal 3D printing machines for Australian manufacturers. By Brent Balinski.