Consolidating 3D Printing Tool Chains to Mitigate Risk in Medical Device Applications
By J Thompson – Use of 3D Printing technology to create medical devices has been widely publicized over the past several years. Most of these stories illustrate the unique ability for 3D Printing (aka Additive Manufacturing / AM) technology to produce highly complex organic shapes.
Despite past success with AM, and very promising growth opportunities, there are significant risks with the current AM practices for workflows in device design and manufacturing. These risks must be recognized and addressed by device makers to fully realize the potential of AM, and avoid failure modes inherent in current practices.
Today, the biggest risks are caused by software “tool chains” in which different, specialized software applications are used sequentially to yield finished devices. A fundamental problem with serial tool chains is rework. What happens when you get off the “happy path”, and issues are discovered in the fourth, fifth, or tenth tool in the chain, and resolution requires a change in the first or second tool in the chain? That typically means serially reworking the entire workflow from the point of change.
This kind of rework should be viewed as expected, normal, necessary, commonplace, and even desirable since it theoretically leads to an improved final result. However, as AM attempts to enter an “industrial” stage of maturity, there are several risks associated a serial tool chain, especially if rework is manual and requires experts to re-do knowledge-intensive rework. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Education, Healthcare, Nature, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, Business improvement, Health, Manufacturing, Productivity, Siemens, Technology
Fired Up: GE Successfully Tested Its Advanced Turboprop Engine With 3D-Printed Parts
By Tomas Kellner – Stephen Erickson normally works at a GE Aviation plant in Lynn, Massachusetts. But in September, he moved to Prague on a special assignment: getting GE’s first 3D-printed commercial aircraft engine ready for its inaugural test, and then firing it up for the very first time. Last week, Erickson was in his element, attaching the final sensors to the engine, called Advanced Turboprop, or ATP. He worked methodically inside a bunkerlike test cell located on the snowy outskirts of the Czech capital. “There is no engine like it in the world,” Erickson said.
The engine passed the first test just before Christmas. “This is a pivotal moment,” says Paul Corkery, general manager of the Advanced Turboprop program. “We now have a working engine. We are moving from design and development to the next phase of the program, ending with certification.”
Some 400 GE designers, engineers and materials experts in the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Poland, the U.S. and elsewhere spent the last two years developing the engine. More than a third of the ATP is 3D-printed from advanced alloys.
3D printing and dozens of other new technologies used for the first time in a civilian turboprop engine allowed the team to combine 855 separate components into just 12, shave off more than 100 pounds in weight, improve fuel burn by as much as 20 percent, give it 10 percent more power and simplify maintenance. “This engine is a game changer,” Corkery says. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, Advanced Turboprop, Aircraft engine, GE
Love At First Touch: Brazilian Doctor Uses 3D Printing To Help Blind Parents Feel Baby’s Ultrasound
By Erica Firmo – When Ana Paula Silveira got pregnant, she and her husband, Alvaro Zermiani, dreamed about seeing the face of their child during her first ultrasound exam. But weeks later, they got to feel it instead.
Both Ana Paula and Alvaro, who live in São Paulo, Brazil, are legally blind. Their son, Davi Lucas, was strong and healthy, but there was no way their eyes could see the first grainy glimpses of their baby on the ultrasound monitor.
They decided to take a different path. The couple made a trip to the office of Dr. Heron Werner, a gynecologist and obstetrician working at the DASA clinic in Rio de Janeiro. He agreed to follow Ana Paula through her pregnancy.
Dr. Werner uses a 3D printer to make lifelike models from images obtained by a GE ultrasound machine. “From the moment we got to the high-quality ultrasound exam, through the possibility of 3D printing it, I realized that it could also serve to enhance the prenatal experience of visually impaired pregnant women,” Dr. Werner says. more>
By Yari M. Bovalino – A few years ago, scientists working in GE labs in upstate New York came up with a cool idea for fixing broken parts. Literally. Calling the approach “cold spray,” they shot tiny metal grains from a supersonic nozzle at aircraft engine blades to add new material to them without changing their properties.
Anteneh Kebbede, manager of the Coatings and Surface Lab at the GE Global Research Center, who helped developed cold spray, said the technology can build whole new parts with walls as thick as 1 inch or more. “For manufacturers, the potential benefits are enormous,” Kebbede says. “Imagine being able to restore an aging part to its original condition with a tool that looks like a spray gun.” It is “like a fountain of youth for machine parts.”
GE engineers have already taken a dip. Earlier this year, engineers at the GE Aviation subsidiary Avio Aero started testing the technology in Bari, Italy. Last month they used it to repair the first part: a gearbox from the world’s most powerful jet engine, the GE90. more>
Posted in Economic development, Economy, How to, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, Business improvement, Cold spray, GE, Jet engine
The Aviator: How A Young Pilot Became A Top-Flight 3D-Printing Engineer
By Maggie Sieger – At 15, Josh Mook got a job refueling planes and handling bags at a small airport near his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He’d work eight hours a day after school, then blow his earnings every Saturday taking flying lessons. “I couldn’t even drive myself there,” Mook recalls. “But I was flying solo.”
Mook has been jetting into the unknown ever since. Originally considering a career in industrial design, Mook moved to aerospace engineering because it combined his love of flying with his love of math and science.
After graduating from Purdue University in 2005, he joined GE Aviation as an engineer at the GE unit’s headquarters in Cincinnati. His first big success came when he found a clever way to fix a blade durability problem in a jet engine high-pressure compressor.
Additive manufacturing methods like 3D printing build parts from the ground up, layer by layer, by fusing together metal powder or plastics. The technology is suitable for prototyping and custom production, but GE is also using it to make production parts that would be difficult to manufacture using traditional methods. more> https://goo.gl/psf2a9
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Leadership, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, GE, Jet engine, Manufacturing
Laser Focus: See How One 3D-Printing Pioneer Is Heating Up Industry
By Tomas Kellner – Frank Herzog is the founder and CEO of Concept Laser, a pioneering maker of 3D printing machines. Concept Laser’s printers can produce precise hip joint replacements and surgical tools as well entire engine blocks. Last fall, GE acquired a majority stake in Herzog’s company, and Concept Laser is now part of GE Additive, a new GE business dedicated to supplying 3D printers, materials and engineering consulting services.
In 2016, Concept Laser sold more than 150 , and Hund says 750 Concept Laser machines are in service worldwide. With GE Additive, these numbers will grow even faster. In fact, Herzog and his colleagues are now helping GE design the world’s largest 3D printer for metals.
School’s In: GE’s New “Brilliant Learning” Program Will Train Workers For Jobs Of The Future
By Tomas Kellner – Jesse Schrimpf didn’t study additive manufacturing in school. But when a 3D printer showed up at his plant in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the GE Healthcare engineer decided to give the machine a whirl.
Normally, Schrimpf would design a new master mold, order a wooden mold prototype costing as much as $20,000 from a supplier and wait as long as four weeks for the delivery. He would test it, make tweaks and repeat the process. The costs quickly added up.
But with the 3D printer at his disposal, he could print a mold that performed better than the wooden kind in just two days on-site and for $1,000. The printer, which creates 3D objects directly from a computer file, enabled him to incorporate changes into the next design version with his keyboard and a mouse.
Schrimpf is in many ways the poster child for GE’s new “brilliant learning” program the company is launching for employees around the world this week. It includes “massive open online courses” in several languages, workshops, “immersion boot camps on lean manufacturing” and other training designed to help employees get ready for the arrival in the factory of 3D printing, big data, robotics, digital and lean manufacturing and other advanced technologies.
GE is launching “brilliant learning” to change things. The model feeds into the company’s idea of the Brilliant Factory, a plant that uses big data, software sensors, new manufacturing methods and robotics to increase productivity. GE businesses are busy rolling out the concept at 17 sites in Japan, India, Italy, Mexico and also the U.S, and more are in the pipeline. more> https://goo.gl/1jmbjf
Posted in Broadband, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, Leadership, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged 3D printing, Broadband, Business improvement, GE, Industrial economy, Internet, Manufacturing
GE’s New Aviation Plant In The Heart Of Europe Will Build Engines With 3D Printed Parts For Next-Gen Cessna Denali
By Tomas Kellner – GE and the Czech government announced today (Oct 20) plans to build a new factory outside of the city focused on the development and production of the world’s first turboprop engine with 3D printed components.
The plant, which will double as GE Aviation’s first aircraft engine headquarters outside the United States, will employ 500 people. It is scheduled to open in 2022.
GE is spending $400 million to develop the engine, which the company calls Advanced Turboprop — or ATP. It will first power the Cessna Denali, Textron Aviation’s next-generation business aircraft.
3D printing allowed designers to consolidate 845 parts into just 11 components. Although the engine still has hundreds of parts in it, the reduction in complexity will help speed up production, reduce fuel burn by up to 20 percent, achieve 10 percent more power and lower the engine’s weight.
The engine will be powerful and efficient enough to reach Chicago from Los Angeles or Miami from New York.
“The physics is simple,” says Milan Slapak, a turboprop program manager at GE Aviation in Prague. “The more metal you have in the air, the more money you need to spend on the material itself and on the fuel to keep it flying. Also, an engine with fewer components reduces the number of parts you need to design, certify, inspect and make or order. 3D-printing really is the game changer and it will totally change the way traditional supply chains operate and simplify them massively.” more> https://goo.gl/BdLU3w
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Energy & emissions, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged 3D printing, Advanced Turboprop, Business improvement, GE, Manufacturing, Productivity, Technology
Major Laser: These Scientists Are Writing The 3D-Printing Cookbook For GE
By Todd Alhart – Vinciquerra, the manager of the newly formed Additive Materials Lab at GE Global Research, is creating a cookbook that will likely impact manufacturing across GE the same way “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”  shook up American kitchens.
Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is exploding right now. GE estimates that by 2025, more than 20 percent of new products will involve additive processes of some kind. But there’s no cookbook that standardizes the recipes, which have oodles of parameters that determine the properties of the final part.
“It’s like baking a cake. You need to start with the right recipe, then you need to have the right ingredients and the right oven,” Vinciquerra says. “A cup of materials science, a tablespoon of design and a whole lot of machine-control strategies must come together and yield perfection.”
Technologies like direct metal laser melting (DMLM), for example, can involve several lasers as powerful as 1 kilowatt — enough to burn a hole in a wall — fusing as many as 1,250 layers of fine superalloy powder into the desired shape. Some large builds can take days to finish. more> http://goo.gl/yYS7K3
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged 3D printing, Additive manufacturing, Broadband, Business improvement, GE, Industrial economy, Manufacturing, Technology, United States