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Newest Member of Wohlers Associates

May 9, 2022

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,future — Terry Wohlers @ 09:45

By Stephan Mansour

Throughout my career, I have always enjoyed unique and challenging projects. My 17 years of experience in the construction sector for a major general contractor based in Athens, Greece, were no exception. My role involved exploring and enabling the adoption of innovative construction solutions that most notably culminated with a 3D-printed house project in Saudi Arabia in 2018. 

Additive construction is something I take to heart. It is the main reason I took it upon myself to create a global committee to set standards for the sector. Nothing in construction happens without standards. They will support adoption of 3D printing as a tool in construction and ensure the delivery of high-quality and safe structures.

The committee I convened officially became JG 80 under ISO/TC 261—ASTM F42 in March 2021. We are working toward publishing the standard by the end of 2022. This is notable because the process can take three to five years.

My involvement with additive construction standards evolved in mid-2021 with my appointment as vice chair to the ASTM F42.07.07 subcommittee. Several work items were recently registered as WK74302, WK77614, WK78110, and WK81114.

I am excited to be part of the esteemed Wohlers Associates’ team. I look forward to engaging in more challenging projects that advance the construction sector, specifically as it relates to additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

I Knew So Little

February 5, 2022

Filed under: 3D printing,education,future — Terry Wohlers @ 06:00

by Noah Mostow

The first time I used a 3D printer was in the library basement when working on my undergraduate degree. Late at night, when I should have been studying, I noticed a small desktop 3D printer with a light turned on. Filament was loaded and nobody was around. As with many college students, I wanted to tinker with it. I downloaded an entire chess set from Thingiverse and Googled “How do you use a 3D printer?” I found free slicing software online, and for the next few hours, I watched parts get built one at a time.

I never finished the chess set because the 3D printer was moved into an office a few days later and they began to charge students for its use. Looking back at this experience, I never would have imagined what else was happening back then, such as the Wohlers Report having been published for 18 years. Industrial additive manufacturing (AM) was already widespread, and in the library basement that night, I thought I was on the leading edge of technology.

Nearly 35 years since its inception, the AM industry continues to grow impressively. Today, students are graduating that know little about the technology. Yet, many now have access to industrial systems in engineering programs and libraries. Today, the University of Vermont (my alma matter) has eight material extrusion (MEX) systems and a vat photopolymerization system in a FabLab for student use.

Beyond students, I imagine many professionals outside our industry believe that polymer MEX is at the leading edge of what is possible. Being a part of the ASTM International AM Center of Excellence, I am excited about the education and workforce development team led by experts. With AM education, more people will see new applications and what advancements are possible.

Note: In a previous post, I wrote that the first 3D-printed part I made was at Burton Snowboards. This is incorrect. The first part I made on an industrial powder bed fusion system was at Burton.

Center of Excellence is Driving Innovation

January 23, 2022

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,future — Terry Wohlers @ 17:11

by Mohsen Seifi

The Additive Manufactuirng Centre of Excellence (AM CoE) is a unique program to accelerate standardization through focused research at ASTM International. It has gained significant interest from the AM community over the past three years. I often heard that a lack of standards delays broad adoption of AM. The development of consensus-based standards requires significant time. The primary reason is an absence of robust and reliable data to establish standards. Hence, we introduced the concept of Research-to-Standards, the first of its kind from any standard development organization. The goal is to reduce AM standards development time by providing the required data through research. The idea is now becoming a reality. With the first few rounds of research projects, we have demonstrated the impact of the program.

Knowledge is key. We realize the AM community needs to be empowered to understand the capabilities of AM and to generate interest to follow the technology as it expands. So, we took the mission of educating the workforce at all levels through webinars, formal training, conferences, and workshops. The scope of the AM CoE further expands to certification programs, and industry consortium. All of this is with a common goal of maximizing the potential of 3D printing as a next-generation method of manufacturing.

The future is exciting for the AM CoE. We are moving fast to catch up with the pace at which the AM technology is growing. We want to be a catalyst in driving the growth of AM by collaborating with the best minds in the industry. Several programs have been planned for 2022 to engage with the community and provide access to a wider network of experts. The AM CoE, has a vibrant, dynamic, and energized team of experts to explore all the possibilities to serve the industry and meet new challenges.

ASTM International Has Acquired Wohlers Associates

November 15, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,future — Terry Wohlers @ 10:15

by Terry Wohlers

ASTM International, a global leader in the development of consensus standards, has acquired Wohlers Associates. I could not be happier about the acquisition! Our primary goal was to find a great home and future for our products and services. ASTM International has committed to growing and expanding them for many years to come. I know our current offerings, including the Wohlers Report, will now continue beyond my years.

Wohlers Associates is integrating with ASTM International’s fast-growing Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (CoE), which is based in Washington, DC. The AM CoE is focused on transitioning research to applications through standardization. Also, it supports education and workforce development and provides advisory services. This work supports the growth, maturity, and economic success of the AM industry. With ASTM International’s focus and investment in AM, I am ecstatic about what is ahead.

Together, we can accept a wider range of projects with a larger team to support them. We are already working closely with the technical experts at the AM CoE. As the head of Additive Manufacturing Market Intelligence, I will help create new opportunities for advisory services, publications, education and training, and industry briefings. I will also be involved with the development of the Wohlers Report.

This month marks the 35th anniversary of Wohlers Associates. It has been a fantastic run, but I am not leaving the industry any time soon. I could not be more pleased to be a part of ASTM International and work with the fine people at the organization over the next several years. Stay tuned for more great things to come.

Wohlers Audio Series

June 29, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,education,future — Terry Wohlers @ 12:58

By Noah Mostow

The additive manufacturing industry is evolving rapidly. To continue to bring insight throughout the year, Wohlers Associates has launched the Wohlers Audio Series. As part of it, we are talking to experts from across the AM industry to discuss the history of the industry, creative ways of applying the technology, and perspectives on where it is headed. We have an exciting lineup of guests who will provide an exclusive look into the 3D printing industry.

The first episode is a conversation between Terry Wohlers and me. We touch on the origin of the Wohlers Report and views on what the future may look like. We are fortunate to talk with people from around the world on new developments and trends in AM. Terry is part of a unique group of experts who have been following this industry since its inception.

                        

Terry and I frequently talk and exchange emails about new and exciting applications. Many of them get posted on this blog or LinkedIn. I am excited to share this conversation because I think it is critical to understand the past and look to the future of our industry. You can find the first episode at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and here. Please share your feedback and let us know if you have ideas for a future episode.

3D-Printed Meat

May 2, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,future,life — Terry Wohlers @ 09:02

By Noah Mostow and Terry Wohlers

Nearly every week, we see a new headline on 3D-printed meat. More than a handful of companies are working on it, but none look like the real thing. If we step back from the visual appearance of these first prototypes, it could be an excellent application of additive manufacturing. Full disclosure: Only occasionally do I eat meat. I prefer alternative forms of protein for many of reasons, including taste and ease of cooking.

It is uncertain whether plant-based meats will develop to become exactly like beef, pork, lamb, or chicken, but it is likely to get close. 3D-printed meat alternatives, such as Beyond Meat and Redefine Meat, are not meat as we know it. If you have tried an Impossible burger and concluded it does not taste like meat, you are right because it is not. Most meat substitutes include a combination of water, legume proteins, oil, and seasoning.

                                            

Meat alternatives is a new category of “meat” that are safer to cook and will someday be less expensive. To many of us, they also taste great. 3D printing will take it from burgers and sausages to something that looks and cooks like a prime cut of beef and maybe one day, more complex structures, such as chicken wings. With 3D printing, it may be possible to someday produce a steak that offers a better experience, compared to an actual steak.

If you have never tried a meat alternative, I urge you to give it a try, while considering how the ingredients are put together. 3D printing will eventually revolutionize meat production by optimizing the most ideal marble and the perfect fall-off-the-bone ribs.

Beyond these reasons to get excited about 3D-printed meat, it will have a major impact on reducing carbon emissions from animal-based proteins and feedlots. These alternative products could go a significant distance in feeding the world’s population.

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.

How Wohlers Report 2021 was Produced

March 21, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,education,future,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 16:38

By Noah Mostow

Helping to develop Wohlers Report 2021 was an unbelievable experience. The report was published last week. I learned that it takes an army of bright and dedicated individuals. This year, 88 co-authors and contributors from 34 countries were a part of it. My primary role was to research and write new sections on a wide range of subjects related to additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Also, I edited content provided by the contributors, and collected and processed data from more than 130 companies.

                                             

Organizations from around the world generously responded to our requests for information. They supplied us with the some of the most detailed information available in the AM industry. Much of what was supplied is sensitive, making the job even more challenging. As a part of the team, I saw data as it arrived. This work eventually led to our conclusion that the AM industry grew by 7.5% in 2020. From the stories told by those who contributed to Wohlers Report 2021, the past 13 months have been challenging. Even so, many companies see a big potential for 2021 and 2022.

I hope you enjoy the new applications and other developments from across the industry in the new report. My personal favorite is 3D-printed food. Perhaps, I will write blog post on it at another time. The secret to this report, in my view, is the dedication, excitement, and attention to detail from Terry Wohlers. Over the past few months, he would arrive at work early—often by 4:00 am—to help produce this industry-leading report. Many refer to it as the “bible” of 3D printing. For more information about Wohlers Report 2021, click here.

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.

3D-Printed Housing

February 27, 2021

Filed under: 3D printing,additive manufacturing,future — Terry Wohlers @ 12:03

The idea of using 3D printing for construction applications has merit in special circumstances. If the value it adds exceeds the costs of using the technology, it may make sense. An example is the design and manufacturing of complex architectural features that are attached to a building produced using conventional methods of construction. If these features cost more to construct using “old-school” methods, 3D printing becomes a candidate.

Producing complex shapes and features is what sets 3D printing apart, whether it is a small mechanical part or one that is meters in size. Using the technology to produce basic, orthogonal shapes does not make much sense because they can be produced faster and less expensively with conventional methods of construction. These methods may be decades old and often require manual labor, but they are affordable and accepted by city and state regulatory groups and agencies.

                                             

This article, titled “Builder says houses made with 3-D printing will cut construction costs,” was published recently. An agent with Zillow said, “The cost of construction is 50% cheaper than the cost of comparable newly-constructed homes in Riverhead, New York, and 10 times faster.” With all due respect, I strongly disagree and would like to see the real numbers behind this project. The large concrete printer was used to produce the walls only.

Andrew Riddle, owner of Hanover Custom Builders in northern Colorado, said unfinished interior and exterior walls are in the range of 4.7% of the total cost of an average house. Even if you saved 50% on them, it would not “move the needle” much on the total project. Consider also how much more difficult it would be to run electrical, plumbing, and heating/cooling ducts and vents through these 3D-printed concrete walls. Installing doors, windows, trim, and wall hangings would also be more difficult. In the end, the total cost of the house may be more expensive, and modifications and remodels could cost far more.

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