Challenges and solutions for the digital transformation and use of exponential technologies
Around the world, traditional manufacturing industry is in the throes of a digital transformation that is accelerated by exponentially growing technologies (e.g. intelligent robots, autonomous drones, sensors, 3D printing). The pace of change reflects 'Moores law' on the speed at which information technology-driven change happens. Companies and their industrial processes need to adapt to this rapid change if they are not to be left behind by developments in their sector and by their competitors.
These trends are not to be compared simply with a greater level of production automation, a process that has, since the 1970s, been driven by developments in electronics and information technology. The widespread adoption by manufacturing industry around the world of information and communications technology is now paving the way for disruptive approaches to development, production and the entire logistics chain.
Additive manufacturing paths to performance, innovation, and growth
Additive manufacturing (AM) has exploded into public consciousness over the past several years. More popularly known as “3D printing,” AM is an umbrella term for a group of technologies that creates physical products through the addition of materials (typically layer by layer) rather than by subtraction (e.g., through machining or other types of processing).
Stories and perspectives appear in the popular press and technology blogs on a daily basis. Enthusiasts tout the prospect for AM to revolutionize manufacturing industries and the markets they serve. Skeptics point to the relatively limited number of uses and materials in current practice and to the relatively small impact these technologies have had outside of a few niches. Critics raise concerns about applications (e.g., 3D printed guns) and the inevitable intellectual property issues that the increasing adoption of AM technologies will create.2
3D Opportunity for end-use products
Additive manufacturing builds a better future
We define end-use products
as those that are either sold
to consumers or used in the
creation of a higher-level
assembly that is then sold to
ADDITIVE manufacturing (AM), more popularly known as 3D printing, describes a group of technologies used to produce
objects through the addition rather than the removal of material. AM was first used commercially in the mid-1980s for the creation
of prototypes, models, and visualization tools. More recently, however, advances in printer and materials technology have allowed AM to expand to applications such as tooling and
end-use part production.
3D Opportunity for product design
Additive manufacturing and the early stage
IN many ways, Detroit’s 2015 North American International Auto Show was the same as it is every year. Giants of the automobile industry filled a formidable convention center with futuristic concept cars, sports cars, and luxury sedans. Droves of gawking consumers and reporters, in turn, huddled around the latest
fruits of assembly lines that have been evolving and expanding since the early days of the Industrial Revolution.
But this year, Phoenix-based Local Motors showed up to the world’s biggest auto show without a car. Instead, representatives took their place among the paragons of automobile
design and proceeded to print—yes, print—the latest version of their Strati, the world’s first 3D-printed car.1 Founded in
2007, Local Motors set out to reinvent the process of designing and manufacturing a car, crowdsourcing design and technology, and establishing “microfactories” to bring forth the final products. The company is using additive manufacturing (AM) to replace the economies of scale that can stymie the commercialization
of new products with economies of scope that can help get products to market faster and cheaper—and test and launch new ideas as quickly as designers can draw them up
3D Opportunity in tooling
Additive manufacturing shapes the future
ADDITIVE manufacturing (AM), more
popularly known as 3D printing,
describes a group of technologies used to
produce objects through the addition of material
rather than its removal. AM first became
commercially viable in the mid-1980s. Its first
widespread applications were in the production
of prototypes, models, and visualization
tools. More recently, however, advances in
printer and materials technology have allowed
AM to expand to other applications such as
tooling and end-user part production.1 AM is
used in many industries, including aerospace
and defense, automotive, consumer products,
industrial products, medical devices, and
architecture. The overall market size for the
AM industry was estimated at $2 billion in
2012, and it is growing at a compound annual
growth rate (CAGR) of 14.2 percent.
3D Opportunity in the automotive industry
Additive manufacturing hits the road
For the automotive industry, these advances
have opened doors for newer designs;
cleaner, lighter, and safer products; shorter
lead times; and lower costs.
SIGNIFICANT advances in additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, commonly known as 3D printing, over the past decade have transformed the potential ways in which
products are designed, developed, manufactured, and distributed. For the automotive industry, these advances
have opened doors for newer designs; cleaner, lighter,
and safer products; shorter lead times; and lower costs.
While automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers primarily use AM for rapid prototyping, the technical trajectory of AM makes a strong case for its use in product
innovation and high-volume direct manufacturing in the future. New developments in AM processes, along with related innovations in fields such as advanced materials, will benefit
production within the automotive industry as well as alter traditional manufacturing and supply chain pathways.
3D Opportunity in aerospace and defense
Additive manufacturing takes flight
ADDITIVE manufacturing (AM), popularly known as 3D printing, is a manufacturing technique that builds objects layer
by layer using materials such as polymers,metals, and composites. Figure 1 depicts the overall AM process.1 In the early stages of the 30 years of AM’s deployment, the technology
was largely geared toward prototyping and tooling applications; however, in recent years, AM has found success in end-part production, driven by improved manufacturability and reduced lead time compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
The aerospace and defense (A&D) industry was an early adopter of AM technology. The history of AM traces back to 1983 with some A&D companies beginning experimentation with the technology as early as 1988.2 Over the years, AM’s adoption has increased across industries, with the A&D industry contributing about 10.2 percent of AM’s $2.2 billion global revenues in 2012.3 Several reasons