3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing Will Grow in 2017: Manufacturing Processes: Page 3 of 4

In 2017, we'll see more 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) processes made for large-scale pieces and final production parts.

for multiple complex manufacturing processes. It's compiling data from all parts of the process to create a fully integrated understanding that will optimize part geometries, material properties, cost, and design. 

The Center's 11 founding members, headed by GE, want to optimize the design, materials, and processes of additive manufacturing for applications in industries such as aerospace and automotive. Members include Alcoa, ANSYS, Bechtel Marine Propulsion, Bosch, Carpenter Technology, the FAA, Ingersoll Rand, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, SAE International, and United States Steel.

Carnegie Mellon University, NextManufacturing Center Consortium

Samples of objects 3D printed using metal processes. (Source: Carnegie Mellon University)

Since many such groups and partnerships are focused in a certain region of the US, or in specific areas of other industrialized nations, or they serve particular industries, none of them can be all things to all users. Expect more of these in 2017, bringing together industry, supplier, academic, nonprofit, and/or government entities.

Standards and Guidelines for AM Processes and Parts

Making high-quality production parts with AM and 3D printing methods will require some carefully defined standards and guidelines for machines and processes, as well as for materials, and printed parts. Multiple standards efforts are already underway to define specifications and practices for some of the myriad aspects of 3D printing and AM. Because several different standards bodies are doing this, last spring America Makes and the American National Standards Organization (ANSI) formed a collaborative, in an attempt to coordinate and accelerate all these efforts.

The America Makes & ANSI Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative (AMSC) is open to all interested persons. Members include representatives from private industry, OEMs, material suppliers, government, academia, standards developing organizations, and certification bodies. The AMSC will identify which standards already exist and which are in development, determine gaps, and recommend top priority areas for developing more standards. Recommendations will consider standards needs already identified in America Makes' Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap.

More recently, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and ASTM International have jointly created the Additive Manufacturing Standards Development Structure  , which they describe   as a framework for creating global AM technical standards.

The structure can be used to develop three different levels of standards: general standards such as concepts, common requirements, and guides; standards for broad categories of materials or specific AM processes; and specialized standards for a specific material, process, or industry application. Its intent is similar to that of the AMSC: to guide standards development work, identify gaps, prevent duplicative efforts, and identify priorities.

It will be interesting to see how long these two efforts operate independently.

What About 4D Printing?

The concept of 4D printing isn't new, but processes that use new types of environmental stimuli keep appearing. 4D printing is usually defined as 3D printing with materials that change an object's shape in response to changes in light, heat, water, air pressure, or other factors. It usually combines 3D printing with shape-memory materials.

Aside from Skylar Tibbits' well known work in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab with 4D-printed self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and wood, other work to advance 4D printing continues. For example, a

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