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ASTM F42 and ISO/TC 261 Meeting

April 2, 2022

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,education,event — Terry Wohlers @ 07:06

The spring joint meeting of the ASTM International Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing Technologies and the ISO/TC 261 Committee on Additive Manufacturing (AM) took place recently. It was held in Golden, Colorado at the Colorado School of Mines from March 28 to April 1, 2022. The meeting was held in hybrid format with both in-person and virtual options. About 100 people attended in-person and an estimated 200 virtually.

Many of those present spoke favorably of the in-person format after two years of virtual meetings. In the first few years following the founding of ASTM F42 in 2009, the focus of the joint meetings was meeting in person to discuss, draft, and proposed new AM standards. Today, the meetings consist largely of reporting of standards development between meetings. This reflects greater involvment and the large number of working groups engaged in the process. On the first day, the ASTM International AM Center of Excellence held a Snapshot Workshop on post-processing, inspection, and qualification.

ASTM International Snapshot Workshop

Meetings throughout the week included 18 ASTM sessions, four ISO sessions, and 15 joint ISO/ASTM sessions. Topics included applications, design, materials, processes, terminology, test methods, and environmental health and safety. Progress reports were the main purpose of the sessions. A total of 69 ASTM standards are in process and working their way toward balloting for the voting membership. An additional 13 standards are being developed by ASTM/ISO joint groups. The next joint meeting will be held September 18-23, 2022 in Augsburg, Germany.

3D Printing at the Winter Olympics

February 20, 2022

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,event — Terry Wohlers @ 17:22

by Noah Mostow

This weekend marks the end of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. I am always impressed by the athletes. Nils van der Poel of Sweden broke his previous world record for speed skating the 10 km (6.2 miles). The U.S. team will return home with many metals in several events, including freestyle skiing and the monobob. Race times continue to improve, which makes me think about David Epstein’s 2014 TED Talk titled “Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?”

Most producers of athletic equipment are likely using additive manufacturing (AM) for prototyping but rarely for production. For the most part, the equipment is similar and highly regulated, so the performance of the athletes is ranked by talent and skill. However, I learned that this is not the case for some sports, such as bobsledding. Beyond baseline requirements, such as safety, weight, and some elements of design, the teams can work with engineers to improve the aerodynamics and features of the sled.

This was the first year for the women’s monobob. Women race at 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour) and all sleds are the same. The only differences are the women pushing and driving the sled. However, some athletes may gain some an advantage from their shoes. BMW Group has worked to optimize the spikes for the shoes. In the monobob, it may not have had a favorable impact because the U.S. won gold and silver and Canada won bronze. I like the excitement surrounding the Olympics and hope that as the equipment improves, every team can benefit from the new technology.

Looking Back on 2021

December 12, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,event,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 14:10

by Noah Mostow

This past year has been interesting, exciting, and different than I had expected. At the beginning of the year, COVID-19 cases were spiking and now the omicron variant is spreading globally. I feel so fortunate we have been able to gather at industry events, including America Makes TRX, Formnext, ICAM, and RAPID + TCT, to name a few. Thank you to the organizers for creating the space for the AM industry to come together again. By mid-summer, things were improving, but it looks like COVID-19 could affect our lives for years to come.

The pandemic taught many of us how to work remotely. Even so, it cannot entirely replace in-person networking and collaboration. Even so, I believe the pandemic has made us more resilient while working globally nearly daily. The economy has mostly recovered, yet some supply chains continue to struggle.

We cannot look back at this year without noting the influx of acquisitions and initial public offerings. Desktop Metal acquired Envisiontec, Aerosint, and ExOne. 3D Systems acquired Oqton, a producer of a manufacturing execution system, while selling its surgical simulation and service provider businesses. At one point, we began to wonder if multiple AM-related companies would be acquired each month. Wohlers Associates was acquired by ASTM International in Q4 2021.

The year was also active for companies going public, with six having initial public offerings through mergers with special purpose acquisition companies. It is too early to know how this might impact the industry.

Make sure to listen to the latest episode from the Wohlers Audio Series. Melissa Orme, vice president of additive manufacturing at Boeing, provided thought-provoking ideas and insight. You can find it at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and our website.

Formnext 2021

November 28, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,education,event,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 07:40

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a special 21-page report on some of the most interesting developments and recent trends uncovered at Formnext 2021. It was written exclusively for the members of America Makes. Go to this page to learn more about membership. Twelve individuals from ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence contributed to the report.

Thankfully, Formnext is back in-person. This year, 17,859 people from 76 countries attended the four-day exposition in Frankfurt, Germany. This represents a decline from 2019, but several of the 606 exhibitors said the quality of conversations was better, compared to two years ago. The exhibition was spread across three halls, covering 30,000 sq m (322,917 sq ft) of floor space.

One day prior to the exposition, an international gathering of industry experts convened for the Standards Forum at Formnext. It was organized by U.S. Commercial Service, ASTM International, and ISO in partnership with Mesago, the organizers of Formnext. The full-day event focused on the industrialization of AM through standardization.

Software companies presented new design platforms and manufacturing execution system (MES) solutions. Many software products have emerged, almost to a point where it is becoming crowded. Users often must work with and coordinate between multiple products to produce designs for AM.

From our perspective, the event was a major success. The AM industry is advancing with new and improving materials, processes, applications, workflows, and end-to-end solutions. Formnext 2021 Digital Days will be held virtually November 30 – December 1, 2021. Formnext 2022 is planned for November 15–18, 2022, in Frankfurt.

Travel and Events Ramp Up

November 1, 2021

The next two months are full of travel and in-person events. A year ago, COVID-19 cases were spiking, and industry events were postponed, cancelled, or made virtual. In contrast, November 2021 has three major in-person AM industry events. Not all, but many people are willing to travel and are excited about it. RAPID + TCT 2021 in September was a good example of what we may see at the upcoming events. Business is being conducted and the rapid exchange of information is underway. The past 18 months taught us how to work productively from home, yet it does not replace in-person meetings and discussing business over a meal or beverage.

ICAM 2021 and RAPDASA 2021 will be held this week on opposite sides of the world. The sixth ICAM event is organized by ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence. The conference has an emphasis on transitioning research to applications. This is the 22nd year for the RAPDASA event, which is being held in Pretoria, South Africa. Ian Campbell, associate consultant at Wohlers Associates, is presenting the first keynote presentation.

In mid-November, the industry will converge in Frankfurt, Germany for Formnext 2021. At this time last year, it was held as a 100% virtual event. Excitement is growing as the industry convenes at this largest AM exposition of the year. Events will continue in December with the Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC) in Aurora, Colorado.

The fifth episode of the Wohlers Audio Series was recently released. Terry Wohlers talks with Deon de Beer, chair of innovation and commercialization of AM at Central University of Technology in South Africa. Deon is one of only three honorary associate consultants at Wohlers Associates. The two of them discuss the current and future AM ecosystem in Africa. Deon is credited with putting South Africa on the additive manufacturing “map” worldwide. The work he and his teams have done in the country has led to world-class products and services. About everything he touches turns to gold. You can find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and here.

RAPID + TCT 2021

September 19, 2021

Last week, Wohlers Associates attended the first major in-person conference and exposition on additive manufacturing and 3D printing since November 2019. It could not have gone much better. RAPID + TCT 2021 was held September 13-15 at the McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. SME and Rapid News Publications, the organizers of the event, expected about 5,000 people to attend, but an actual number has not yet become available. The event included 263 exhibitors and 185 speakers, making it the largest event on additive manufacturing and 3D printing in North America.

People were genuinely happy to see one another after nearly two years, even though smiles were hidden by masks, which were mandatory. I could see it in their eyes. When we sat down for coffee, a snack, or a meal, masks could be removed. Time and again, I heard people say that seeing others in-person was a highlight of the event and I could not agree more.

Congrats to SME and Rapid News Publications for working through the daily uncertainty and holding the event. The past 18 months have not been kind to these and other organizations in the business of holding conferences, seminars, and other types of meetings. I hope the worst of the pandemic is behind us, even though we do not know what the future holds. Fortunately, last week was a step in the direction we were hoping for, thanks to the success of RAPID + TCT 2021.

Football

September 5, 2021

Filed under: entertainment,event,life — Terry Wohlers @ 11:18

Thankfully, American football is underway. With the pandemic, last season was somewhat of a dud. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons, partly because of the sport. My wife and I attended our first in-person football game Friday night in nearly two years. The overall experience was good, although the Colorado State University Rams played horribly and lost. I am afraid it could be another difficult season. What is unclear to many of us is why the university hired a coach that never won more than half of his games. Steve Addazio is now 58-59 as a head coach at the college level.

Having grown up in Nebraska, we also watch the Huskers, a team that has also struggled in recent years. Many of us believed coach Scott Frost, a four-year starting quarterback for the Huskers and Nebraska native (he grew up 37 miles from my hometown), would bring the program back to its former glory. In his fourth season, it is uncertain whether it will happen. As head coach of the University of Central Florida, Frost took an 0-12 team to 12-0 in two seasons. So far, his “magic” has not worked in Lincoln.

I am less interested in professional football, but the Denver Broncos may be the team to watch. It had a good preseason, so maybe this success will extend into the regular season, which begins September 12. Meanwhile, we will continue our support of the Rams and Huskers, hoping for a turn-around for both programs.

In-Person Events Resume

August 9, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,education,event — Terry Wohlers @ 09:35

By Noah Mostow

Last week, Wohlers Associates was represented at an in-person event, the first in more than 18 months. America Makes’ Technology Review and Exchange (TRX) was held at Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus, Ohio. Nearly 200 participants attended to network and attend presentations on a range of subjects, including in-situ print monitoring, hybrid AM, and materials research. Speakers were from organizations that use AM, government agencies, universities, and producers of AM software and systems. More than half of attendees had never attended a TRX event before, including me.

On the first day of the event, the Open-source Additive Scanning Implementation Strategy (OASIS) challenge winner was named. In partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, teams worked to create and optimize scanning patterns for metal powder bed fusion. In the end, nine teams submitted code, but only a handful produced successful builds. The raster scanning pattern can improve or destroy the quality of parts being built. The team at OSU won the challenge.

The second day of the event began with a panel that included Shawn Springs, CEO of Windpact. More than 20 years ago, he was a cornerback at OSU, playing in the stadium near the conference venue. Springs discussed the use of 3D printing for impact protection solutions (i.e., helmets).

A mask mandate was implemented at OSU the day before the event began. Even so, it was great to attend our first in-person conference in 1.5 years. Networking, which can be a challenging for virtual events, was also fantastic. Terry Wohlers and I look forward to attending next month’s RAPID + TCT 2021 in Chicago.

Another Supply Chain Collapse

April 3, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,event,future,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 13:56

By Noah Mostow and Terry Wohlers

The five-day block of the Suez Canal underscores the instability of our global supply chains. Nearly everything around us requires global connections. The canal is a critical route for products from Asia to Europe and the east coast of the U.S. With it closed, millions of consumer goods were blocked. The alternative is to transport them around the southern tip of Africa, which is a dramatically further. Fortunately, as you may know, the ship was freed and the passage cleared, but it could have been delayed much longer.

Like the pandemic, the blocked canal exposed a problem with our supply chains. Additive manufacturing (AM) is not a perfect solution for all types of parts, but it provides a quick and agile manufacturing process. Both have been discussed in length, so we want to share an idea of what the future might look like.

                                              

The next time a disaster disrupts a supply chain, we can be prepared, and physical stockpiles of replacement parts may not be the answer. Instead of parts sitting on shelves and racks, the inventory is digital, coupled with machine capacity and feedstock. The designs are fully tested for 3D printing, a proactive step for any manufacturing process. The next disaster may be worse, so the future should not rely solely on smooth supply chains. We can start to prepare for this reality today.

If passed by U.S. Congress, proposed bipartisan legislation would invest $1 billion to manage a partnership involving the federal government, private industry, and state and local governments focused on the manufacture of critical products. The bill would establish an Office of Supply Chain Preparedness within the Department of Commerce. It has the support of America Makes, the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation.

Vaccinated

March 6, 2021

Filed under: event,future,life — Terry Wohlers @ 10:52

Yesterday was a good day. That’s because my wife and I received our first vaccination. Our second Moderna shot occurs in 28 days from yesterday. Both of us are ecstatic! I feel great today, other than a mildly sore left arm. The injection, itself, could not have gone faster or better. Honestly, I did not feel a thing, so I asked if she had given it to me.

                               

Thank God for vaccines and the scientists who create them. My mother got polio when she was 17 and it significantly impacted the quality of her life. Thankfully, a polio vaccine prevented my wife, kids, and me from getting it, along with hundreds of millions of others worldwide. If you are unsure about getting a COVID-19 vaccination, do not think twice about it.

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