Providing Perspective at America Makes TRX in Austin About How the supply chain is turning into a supply web thanks to additive manufacturing

I arrived tonight in Austin, TX for the America Makes Technical Review & Exchange (TRX), starting tomorrow.  I’m honored to have been asked to present 3Diligent’s take on the additive supply chain with the America Makes membership and selected guests.  These attendees represent some of the biggest names in additive manufacturing – the thought leaders from the largest manufacturing, aerospace and medical companies in the US and a number of internationals as well – and I understand the event is sold out so really looking forward to it.

 

TRX events are semi-annual events where America Makes members – the leading companies in American additive manufacturing – gather to review America Makes programs and discuss key challenges facing the industry.

 

The topic of my presentation to the group will be key trends defining the additive supply chain today and predictions on where these trend lines will take us.  With respect a view of the future, we at 3Diligent are believers that the traditional “supply chain” will actually start to break apart and eventually reassemble into a “supply web.”  Instead of mass produced goods flowing to end consumers in a straight line sequential order, production will take place in many places, with additive serving as an input to much later stages of distribution that has been the case for more than a century.  We’ll also highlight our belief that digital natives – companies that were born with additive in mind – will be key drivers in this transformation.

 

Last but not least, we’ll highlight how companies like 3Diligent can play a valuable role in helping companies seeking to take full advantage of this paradigm shift brought about by additive and other CAD-driven technologies.

 

Look for additional thought pieces from 3Diligent on this topic in the future.  In the meantime, here’s to a great discussion at TRX…

3Diligent Speaking at Atlantic Design & Manufacturing in New York

I’m excited to be speaking today in New York City’s Javits Convention Center as part of the Atlantic Design & Manufacturing Show.

As always, it is one of the major events on the advanced manufacturing calendar, drawing attendance from across the New York metro and greater Eastern seaboard.

The session I’ll be participating in is a panel discussion entitled “Using Additive Manufacturing to Process Novel Materials & Improve Product Performance.” You can read more about the session here.

If I were to guess how it plays out, we’ll be digging into material science advances in 3D Printing and more broadly how certain materials that haven’t been readily utilized by more traditional manufacturing technologies are gaining increasing traction in the additive world due to the differences between the additive process and those techs.

It should be a great discussion and if you’re within striking distance of the west side of New York City, I’ll hope to see you there!

-Cullen

 

 

Challenges the US Faces in Adopting Additive Manufacturing (and how we can help)

Just as additive manufacturing/3D Printing is poised to have a dramatic impact on US manufacturing, there’s an issue. Not enough people currently have the skills to utilize the technology.

That’s the conclusion of a report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and based on our day-to-day work in the trenches of additive, I think there’s some merit to the conclusion.

I recommend reading the article in Design News which lists three reasons behind the skills gap. In this video blog, as well as in this post, I want to relay my thoughts a couple of points they make and expound on how 3Diligent can help.

First, companies may not realize that they need or want to move to additive manufacturing.  For better or worse, the industry experienced a surge of publicity and hype a few years ago.  This brought unprecedented attention to the technology and how it could take CAD design files and transition from bits to atoms in a way that many found astounding.  The downside is that much of this attention was garnered upon desktop printers and their theoretical use by consumers, something that is still a ways away due to the lack of infrastructure to support it – from intuitive CAD design to easy-to-use machines to libraries of parts that are readily printed.  All of this hype has allowed some individuals and companies to believe that 3D Printing is better aligned to fabricating tchotchkes than innovative, next generation parts, tools, and replacement spares, which is where industrial 3D Printers truly shine.

The first point may be tied to the second one: there has been so much offshoring in last few decades that companies are detached from their manufacturing. Due to this detachment from the day-to-day manufacturing operations, the inclination to learn of all the potential applications for additive and how it might be applied to a particular supply chain can be lacking.  Even if this inclination is there, building out capability internally can be a significant endeavor, requiring internal politicking for budget and a cultural commitment to coming up the curve on additive.

That being said, it is our belief that additive manufacturing – and digital manufacturing more broadly – are absolutely disruptive and are here to stay.  Companies need to overcome the hurdles spelled out by BCG and 3Diligent in this post.

3Diligent offers one such avenue to overcome these challenges.  We have been in this industry for years, building out a fabrication network with nodes of expertise across an incredible swath of 3D Printing processes and materials.  So whether you are seeking consulting support in identifying opportunities for additive, considering how to tackle the challenges additive presents for your supply chain, or in getting parts fabricated using our digital manufacturing capabilities (particularly 3D Printing), that’s what we’re able to do.

In sum, if these challenges resonate with you, take a look at our services on our website or drop me an email. We’d love to help.