Sep 11, 2018

Roundup: Symposium of Additive Manufacturing Taiwan 2018

At the International Symposium of Additive Manufacturing Association of Taiwan (AMAT) you could clearly see new trends in Additive Manufacturing. Here‘s our roundup from AM industry expert Sarah Goehrke.

Last week in Taipei, the Additive Manufacturing Association of Taiwan (AMAT) hosted the Taiwan International 3D Printing Show. As part of the event, a one-day dedicated International Symposium of Additive Manufacturing drew together an agenda designed to present a global perspective on research into and current realities of 3D printing.

A few floors above the hubbub of busy exhibit halls of the 3D Printing Show as well as co-located events in technology, the symposium offered a quieter room in which to hear directly from industry participants. The discussion ranged from insights and advances in research labs to engineering partnerships and broader industry trends.

I had the honor of speaking as one of the symposium’s keynotes, discussing trends in 3D Printing for Production as the industry continues to move toward manufacturing scale and quality.

Other speakers hailed from Taiwan, the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, offering views from both East and West on advances in additive manufacturing. The symposium, in its fifth iteration, presented a varied spectrum of possibility and capability.

Multiple Material 3D Printing by Selective Laser Melting

“We are moving into a new age: personalized mass production,” Professor Lin Li, Associate Dean (Business Engagement and Development) for the Faculty of Science and Engineering at The University of Manchester (image above), said in opening the morning’s first keynote. “Additive manufacturing is not new; even thousands of years ago, our ancestors were building our houses brick by brick.”

Professor Li’s session, “Multiple Material 3D Printing by Selective Laser Melting,” examined the implications of multi-material SLM technology. The University of Manchester has seen significant progress in research, working to remove limitations of incorporating different materials within the same layer of a given build. While multi-material metal 3D printing is possible today with several approaches, having multiple metals within a given layer remains beyond the reach of current capabilities. Professor Li’s team has filed four patents in their work in this area, as success allows for localized property optimization with potential applications in jewelry, motors, batteries, and many other areas of interest.

Looking ahead in functional 3D printing, Dr. Ben Wang, Executive Director, Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, noted that there is still significant progress to come in many areas of additive manufacturing.

“What we can do now is primitive compared to what it can be and what it should be,” he said. “We require two major approaches to advance: advanced design, and innovative materials.”

With these two areas as targets in mind, Dr. Wang examined the “three Fs”: form, fit, and function. Through exploration of several case studies, he painted a picture of 3D printing as having addressed form and fit, and now advancing to function. In his perspective, the future of technology lies in bio-inspiration, an area where the unique geometries and capabilities of additive manufacturing are a strong fit.

There’s Expanding Potential in Aerospace Industry

Aerospace, a high-profile adoption case for 3D printing, is offering significant opportunity for development. Dr. Kaj Führer, VP Engineering & Production, German Aerospace Center (image above); and Dr. Matthew Thompson, Senior Engineer, Toray Composite Materials America, both spoke to expanding potential and work in the aerospace industry. “Material matters,” Dr. Führer noted, a sentiment amplified in Dr. Thompson’s materials-driven discussion of continued fiber-reinforced additive manufacturing.

Focusing on the medical arena, Dr. Boonrat Lohwongwatana of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University and Co-Founder of Meticuly, explored 3D printing in biomedical applications. Meticuly, a young company, already has 51 clinical cases proving the viability of 3D printing for helping medical teams in “getting away from S-M-L sizing” and into patient-specific offerings.

Also application-specific, made-to-order replacement parts are also in focus, as highlighted by SpareParts3D CEO Paul Guillaumot. Emphasizing the value of low-volume production for a wide variety of parts, Guillaumot noted that pain points in spare parts management can increasingly be addressed via 3D printing. Using a case study from Whirlpool as an example, he shared a look into the massive global spare parts market for home appliances manufacturers, where opportunities are expanding for 3D printing.

The expansion of opportunities is global, as Dr. Waqar Shahid Qureshi shared a look into Pakistan’s economy. His discussion, “Towards Accelerating Research in Emerging Economies Using Maker-Space,” shined a spotlight on the use of 3D printing in makerspaces in developing countries to help businesses grow.

“3D printing is the heart of makerspaces,” he said, seeking to “highlight how in developing countries like Pakistan 3D printers and 3D scanners are impacting hardware and impacting business.”

Pakistan is home to a rising number of business incubators, fostering “many startups in software and service — but negligible in hardware.” With “a lot of local industry, for prototyping and production, outsourced to China,” advances in hardware represent a potential re-entry for local industry. As an example, he noted a case study in agriculture where a 3D printed pesticide spray and harvesting system, and a “FitBit for cows” collar have seen significant deployment, emphasizing that “3D printers are useful…for accelerating startups.”

With adoption rising around the world, many enterprises are also looking more deeply into the implications of 3D printing in work environments. Product Manager (US) Scott Laughlin and Lead Engineer (Singapore) Balakrishnan Velayudhan Nair, both of UL Environment, addressed safety and operations management for 3D printing. Laughlin’s session looked toward particle emissions in non-industrial (desktop) 3D printers, while Nair focused on facility safety management. Both presented ongoing research focus on user health and safety.

“There is a key challenge in 3D printing: safety. This is of paramount importance. The science of safety is not fully developed in additive manufacturing,” said Nair.

Another safety concern in 3D printing comes in the form of information security, which Identify3D CSO Stephan Thomas focused on in “Security, Repeatability, Traceability in Additive Manufacturing.”

“What’s changing in manufacturing is another way to look at the supply chain,” Thomas said. “Instead of moving a physical product around the globe, we can now distribute before manufacturing.”

High-Speed 3D Printing Technology for Medical Applications

While there are definite benefits of this approach — Thomas highlighted the elimination of excess inventory and lack of holding costs — new issues do present. Previous industries to experience significant digitization, such as music and news, “suffered quite a bit because of control of data” and 3D printing and the digital manufacturing movement must take this into account, specifically regarding IP management and the compliance of manufacturing.

Several sessions were presented in Mandarin, as representatives from HP, Markforged, and UL discussed additional APAC impact of specific use cases for 3D printing.

Closing out the symposium was organizer, President of AMAT, and Director of the High-Speed 3D Printing Research Center at NTUST Professor Jeng-Ywan Jeng (image above). Professor Jeng presented a discussion entitled “Design and Optimization of Cellular Structure for Shoe and Medical Applications Using High-Speed 3D Printing Technology. His team’s research has focused on investigations of fundamental principles enabling high speed and multi-material 3D printing.

I have come to appreciate symposia as my preferred 3D printing event, as the amount of knowledge and networking possible within one room in the span of a single day is unparalleled. The agenda at this symposium was well balanced and showed careful curation and attention to detail. Each speaker, with only 20 minutes, presented strong jumping points for further discussion, research, and evaluation.

As 3D printing continues to mature as both technology and industry, such events around the world — and indeed incorporating global perspective — are paramount for the sharing and exchanging of information. It was a pleasure to attend this event, and an honor to speak among esteemed colleagues in the industry.

License: The text of "Roundup: Symposium of Additive Manufacturing Taiwan 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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