By now it’s no secret that aerospace manufacturers are very interested in 3D printing. Additive manufacturing (AM) has begun to make its presence known at airshows, was already at work in the prototyping process and has become a key part of building a few, small aircraft and UAVs.
GE is just one company that has taken notice of AM and, late last year, made a significant investment in the technology when it acquired Morris Technologies, and its 3D printing service, Rapid Quality Manufacturing. Now GE is getting ready to flex its AM muscle with a large scale industrial test of 3D printing. Continue reading
Additive manufacturing (AM) is growing rapidly (no pun intended). According to Wohlers Associates the industry had a compound annual growth rate of 24.1% last year and is expected to hit $5.2 billion by 2020. As far as worldwide sales go, that’s still small change. By way of comparison, Americans alone spend around $8 billion on potato chips each year.
Nevertheless, it’s obvious to anyone with eyes to see that the future for AM is bright and will only continue to get brighter. Medical use of AM is growing into an industry all its own, particularly if you include dentistry into the mix. Nearly every major industry has been impacted in some way by AM. That is bound to draw some attention.
In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.
I recently took a look at how additive manufacturing (AM) and the aerospace industry are interacting, but I’ve since come across more interesting information to pass along. Airbus is talking about using large-scale AM in the aerospace business.
Slowly but surely additive manufacturing (AM) is insinuating itself into industry. Maybe not even so slowly. The basic strengths of AM (complex internal geometries, the capability to create strong, lightweight objects) are of particular interest to aerospace companies to help reduce fuel costs and lower manufacturing expenditures.
We first looked at AM and aerospace all the way back here and more recently here. In 2011, the University of Southampton demonstrated a 3D printed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Part of what made the UAV of interest to the aerospace community was that it was printed as one piece, rather than as a number of different parts that required additional construction. This offered the possibility of speeding up production.
I have no real idea how many of you good people who read the blog have ever directly interacted with a 3D printer. I suspect some of you are just interested in seeing what additive manufacturing has to offer, or send off orders to 3D printers and see the results, rather than the process. If the idea of working directly with a 3D printer interests you, GE has announced a program that should be right up your alley.
As part of its GE Works campaign, the company has rolled out a program it calls GE Garage. Beginning on March 9, 2012 at South by Southwest (SXSW), the GE Garage program will allow people a chance to interact with MakerBot’s Replicator 3D printer, a CNC mill, laser cutter, MIG welder, injection molder, cold saw and an ironworker. All under expert supervision, naturally.