Many of the members of the Additive Manufacturing Users Group have been involved with this technology for more than 20 years. The attention this 25+ year-old technology is getting now was a much-discussed subject at the conference. Look for this group to offer more educational opportunities to address questions from novice users this media hype is bringing.
Ed Morris from NAMII gave a presentation on this initiative. This public-private partnership will focus on innovation in every aspect involving additive manufacturing (AM). Noted Morris, NAMII exists because the U.S. is in an economic war. The U.S. needs manufacturing to be re-energized to create more economic value, and 3D printing is a key technology in this effort. NAMII efforts will be directed at accelerating the use of this technology. There are many barriers to knock down, but AM changes the rules. The idea of a factory is changing.
Soon you will be able to access your knowledge of this industry and receive certification for what you know. Efforts are underway to design tests for certification. Eight areas of knowledge have been identified so far: the basics of AM, called AM overview; AM Technology which will cover knowledge about processes and materials; AM secondary processes; AM inputs; Designing for AM, which will cover information engineers need to know to take the best advantage of what it can offer; Quality assurance in AM; Business and economics of AM; and emerging issues.
Industry Consultant Graham Tromans gave an overview of what is going on in Europe. One key development is how much China is taking to and investing in 3D printing. China is investing nearly 3 times the amount the U.S. is in the NAMII initiative. This country will have it’s first world conference on 3D printing later this year.