EOS has been involved in additive manufacturing for many years. We asked Dr. Ankit Saharan and Dr. Gregory Hayes at EOS to explore the next phase of development in additive manufacturing.
We all know about how 3D printing upends the traditional manufacturing world including new designs, green technology, reduced carbon footprint, new modes of manufacturing, and so on. With all these new avenues of development we still have to understand that in principle the underlying backbone for all these innovations is a result of transformation. When considering the underrated capability of 3D printing, two topics are immediately apparent: transformation of human capital, and transformation of supply chain logistics.
Traditional engineers, manufacturing managers, and business developers need to undergo a mindset change and start “thinking additive.” The 3D printing community is still a tight knit one, where everyone knows everyone. We have exciting applications like patient specific implants, heat exchangers, lighter aircraft parts, more efficient engines. Imagine as the capability transcends to more people, especially students coming out of universities, the explosion in applications is inevitable. With AI now a topic, and how it could make certain professions irrelevant, 3D printing gives people a chance to make themselves count, attain a higher level of skill limited only by their creativity.
With respect to supply chain logistics; traditional cost models, spare part logistics, and supply change management need to undergo an additive transformation. Consider the production of a typical aerospace component. Part design and qualification, raw material supply and stock, product lifetime, spare part logistics, and product cost are all known. With the introduction of additive technology, raw material is now in universal powder form, spare parts are manufactured on demand, and part design is no longer confined to subtractive technologies. Of course, qualification of components must still be carefully considered. With further ideas of distributed manufacturing (optimizing capacity), the decreased need for physical labor jobs, and the use of data to create digital twin models of components, the cost models for specific parts need to be reconsidered. Overall, the impact of additive technology on design and engineering thinking, and reorganization of the supply chain results in beneficial cost and production models, ultimately leading to better components and a better product for end use customers.