Stratasys: Making 3D Printing More Sustainable
The Beginnings of 3D Printing
Starting as 3D printing, which “many companies have spent a lot of money pushing the phrase 3D Printing,”
according to Langfield, it has evolved into additive manufacturing,
which “outlines more of the designated solutions.”
However, in the beginning, the concept was:
“How do you turn your CAT design into a digitally viable model or product as quickly as possible?”
The method was mostly utilized for prototyping, from CAT design to printed part layer by layer.
Many corporations wanted to preview how a prospective product might perform or look and feel before bringing it to market.
This method also provided organizations with confidentiality,
since they were able to build prototypes in-house rather than outsourcing and risking the disclosure of secret information to third parties.
In comparison to traditional prototyping, our technique saves time and money,” says Langfield.
“And then, over time,
it expanded into other applications and use cases like tooling, jigs, and fixtures,
where it’s no longer just prototypes, but tools or parts that improve the manufacturing process.”
Instead of keeping replacement parts in stock,
we now produce parts additively on demand.
When a part fails, organizations have a catalogue of available
spare parts that they order and the catalogue
is printed overnight or over one to two days,
depending on the size.
A wide array of technology
At Stratasys, we’ve expanded our range of technologies to ensure
that we have the proper solution for every stage of the product development life cycle,
from prototyping to production efficiency to additive manufacturing.
“As a result of all of this customization,
the industry is leaning toward additive manufacturing as a solution
since you don’t need millions of parts to improve the production floor;
you only need a hundred or a thousand.”
However, a major tendency that has intensified since COVID is that
corporations do not want to be overly reliant on global supply networks.
. They want to be able to have options and, for example,
make spare parts on-demand, when and where they are needed, rather than transporting items across the globe.”
Other trends that Langfield is noticing include growing production needs, additively created volumes, and the advancement of automation. “In general, we’re seeing two industrial patterns.
One is that, as the number of goods produced decreases,
the production needs are shifting more towards additive manufacturing.
Why 3D printing?
A) because there is a trend away from stocking
huge amounts of inventory and toward producing on-demand, which requires a lesser number of parts by definition, and
B) because of customisations.
Because they seek to fulfil the particular wants of a certain buying persona, more and more products are being produced with smaller batch sizes.
So you want to make sure your additive manufacturing process is quick, dependable, and conforms to industry requirements. To produce additively, you’ll also want to make sure you have a variety of materials on hand.
“Then there’s automation and workflow, as well as technology developments.”
How can you ensure that the transition from a cut design to the finished product is as seamless as possible
, requiring as little human intervention as possible to minimise the danger of human error?
You want to make it as close to an automated procedure as possible, just like on a genuine production line. When your organization has all of the tools in place to digitize your inventory and products,
you’ve already taken a huge step toward becoming
more flexible in terms of how you manufacture the components and products you need to run your business.”
Making Additive Manufacturing More Sustainable
“It’s critical to be sustainable. “We want to be leaders in this at Stratasys,” says Langfeld.
Despite this, according to Langfield, “additive manufacturing is still being seen as a new technology, and there isn’t a lot of thought leadership in terms of sustainability in this field.” With this in mind,
Stratasys joined the Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association as a founding member (AMGTA).
“This is our statement to indicate that we want to ensure that mindful manufacturing is used in this industry.” As members of the AMGTA,
we are influencing the agenda for the next few years, ensuring that additive manufacturing contributes value to the world of manufacturing,” says Langfield.
“There are many aspects in manufacturing today that may be improved, for example, demand production vs inventory. You will always have a warehouse if you have inventory.
Eco friendly and cost effective
Those commodities must then be carried to those warehouses, which necessitates the use of ships or vehicles,
both of which emit CO2. However, if you create additively on demand,
you won’t have the surplus capacity or unused inventory because you’ll only be producing what you need when you need it.
As a result, when you have fewer inventories to construct and fewer warehouses to hold products or spare parts, you lower your company’s CO2 emissions.
“However, that is only one illustration of how additive manufacturing might be beneficial.
Another is the method itself.
When you build something layer by layer, you produce less waste than when you use traditional methods, where you start with a block and cut till you reach the finished product.
We’re looking into the recyclability of materials as a way to move things further.
You can reuse powder that hasn’t been used in a prior print shop if you remove soft technology, which is powder-based.”
In the end, Stratasys wants to show the capabilities and advantages of additive manufacturing
in terms of sustainability.
“Not only do we want to empower our clients to manufacture only what they need, but we also want to enable the industry to innovate and build infrastructure.”
So, how can businesses benefit from global industrialisation while ensuring
that these on-demand skills enable them to improve quality of life.