Topics: 3D printing on Industrial Automation
on Automation Technologies
3D printing on Industrial Automation
What is your vision on the impact of 3D printing on Industrial Automation?
09-15-2013 08:56 AM
For parts and, even assemblies, that do not require metalic or hardened wear surfaces to maintain tolerance, 3D printing can help with the quick manufacture or changes directly from drafting or design software. Where tolerances and wear are critical (holding nests, clamping, grippers, bearings, bushings, slides, gear drives, etc.) are required to maintain the precision over long and repeated usage, the materials available need considerable work. Shape is not everything, except for prototyping for fit and short term function. Durability is also mandatory for an operating machine.
09-15-2013 11:18 AM
Customers will be able to "print" industrial automation products that do not need to be assembled. As of today the impact is limited as most of the products need to be assembled (parts made of different material). That means as of now, it could only be "spare" parts needed for repair and maintenance. However, future could be very different if 3D printing evolves .. so sensors could be the one to start with. Or may be just the housing of the sensor that matches the customers need. Speed of 3D Printing / Quantity required would decide what we all we would like to print and what we buy.
09-15-2013 02:05 PM
Sandip is spot on. When I first saw a 3D printer at a trade show, my first response/instinct was that I'd buy one for my two year son for him to make toys :-) Of course, that's now...it does hold lots of potential in future applications.
09-15-2013 04:35 PM
I see it as something that will be as common as fax machines today, although obviously more expensive depending on the materials required.
They will be available in every town.
09-15-2013 07:21 PM
In another direction, I see a significant need for Industrial Automation to integrate 3D printing into the automated manufacturing we control now. New interfaces and standards will need to be developed to enable the use of additive manufacturing alongside other industrial processes. We need to look upon 3D printing not as something aside from Industrial Automation, but a new and exciting field of endeavor for automation engineers to expand into.
09-15-2013 10:13 PM
agreed John, 3D printing is going to revolutionize industry in many ways. Quite possibly much of what we are taught in Colleges and Universities regarding manufacturing will become obsolete.
I think it has the potential to do what computers have done because we are only seeing the 'baby' stages of it thus far.
This has the potential to be a new industry within itself and will require new disciplines to manage it.
09-16-2013 01:07 AM
This is a great discussion. I agree that 3-D printing will bring changes to Industrial Automation. To build upon Eric's original comment, 3-D printing can be done using metal. NASA has developed the means to use powered metals as the printing medium to develop a rocket engine injector and the University of North Carolina found a way to print using liquid metal. I wrote a blog on the topic that gives more detail and provides some links to the new 3-D printing techniques and a link to a discussion by some technical thought leaders giving their views of the impact of 3-D printing. At MIT there is a lot of work around 3-D printing covering material (beyond plastics) and scale. The ability to vary the density of a printed object has been demonstrated which will make 3-D more valuable to manufacturing. The ability to mix different printed mediums including metal will enhance the adoption of 3-D printing. I see 3-D printing as primary tool (not the only tool) in manufacturing of the future. It would probably not be appropriate to repeat the content here but we can continue the discussion. This is an important topic for Industrial Automation and manufacturing.
09-16-2013 03:40 AM
The 3D printed objects I saw at a trade show a few months ago were of plastic and consisted of interlocking and working gears and an adjustable wrench which worked fine, as well as a plastic rendition of an entire electric motor.
The rep told me they could also work with powdered steel to print metal objetcs.
I can see this also having commercial uses and eliminating some mail/courier services by being able to 3D fax certain objects as a quick delivery option.
09-16-2013 06:11 AM
It's amazing how the process of 3d modeling and printing is advancing, especially EOS laser sintering and voxeljet sand machine .it s completely fading the injection molding out. Additive manufacturing is taking the lead.
09-16-2013 08:52 AM
For 3D printing and laser sintering projects feel free to contact me, my company has such facilities .
09-16-2013 10:56 AM
It's an exciting new technology, I have seen some 3D printers and probably I'll buy one in the near future (xmas?) for personal use, to play with technology. And, yes, simply to play, too :-D
I'm surprised that no one uses a 3D printer for sand molds making, to use in foundries for metal casting. There are many complex molds, assembled from many separate parts, that could be made in one single pass with a 3D printer: no more need for wood models. It just need a laser-hardening, high-temperature resistant chemical to keep sand in place... I'm not into chemicals, but don't think it's an impossible substance to synthesize.
03-13-2014 01:28 AM
Thanks for the interesting thread.
03-14-2014 04:12 AM
3D printing could be the most useful innovation for Industrial Automation. It can be a huge help for customers in replacing parts or pieces. Customers don’t need to contact the manufacturers for spare parts replacement because they can just print at home. Now that 3D filaments are a lot easier to get from suppliers, customization of electric automation parts is now made possible and easier.