3D Printing a Must In the Brave New World of Manufacturing

One of the hottest topics in manufacturing today is 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM). New alliances, faster processes, better software, high-quality materials, and emerging standards mean the world of manufacturing is about to change. In some industries, like medical and aerospace, it already has . The evolving world of AM and some of its challenges will be discussed by a panel of hands-on experts in 3D printing at next month's Embedded Systems Conference in Minneapolis.

The panel, 3D Printing: The Brave New World of Manufacturing , will be moderated by yours truly, and held on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 11 a.m. Panelists I'll be talking with include Scott Sevcik, director of manufacturing platform development at Stratasys; Rich Baker, chief technology officer for Proto Labs; Scott Johnston, electrical engineering lead at Formlabs; Donovan Weber, co-founder and chief operating officer for Forecast3D; and Tyler Pope, co-owner of 3D Printing Ally.

All of the panelists have been deeply involved in AM and engineering for several years. They also have direct experience in industries using 3D printing, such as aerospace and automotive, and in the design and use of a variety of manufacturing systems, as well as handling, automation, and test systems.

Some of the questions I'll be posing to panelists will focus on the major changes happening in the world of 3D printing and AM in machines, materials, and software. Many of the industry's current efforts are aimed at redesigning all three from the ground up so they're optimized for additive, instead of subtractive, manufacturing of end-production parts. But a lot more needs to be done, including much tighter integration of all three areas.

Stratasys, one of the two biggest public companies in 3D printing, has stated often that end-manufacturing is the direction where it sees the industry going. It has built a wide variety of machines for production and has expanded its materials aimed at building structural parts, including forming a division focused on developing advanced materials. The company is a founding member of the 3MF (3D Manufacturing Format) Consortium, which offers a free, open-standard 3D printing file format .

Panelist Scott Sevcik is focused on the development of next-generation 3D printers for additive manufacturing in high-performance applications. Before his current role, Sevcik was responsible for accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing in aerospace and defense globally. He also has a background working at United Technologies Aerospace Systems and Lockheed Martin. He holds master's degrees in aerospace engineering and business administration, and is a certified Project Management Professional.

Proto Labs is a pioneer in many areas, including 3D printing. Originally a leading quick-turn service bureau focused primarily on CNC machining and injection molding, it adopted 3D printing as a necessary, complementary service for its customers after a thoughtful process that included in-depth customer surveys . Now it's a member of HP's Multi Jet Fusion ecosystem of industrial partners, and Proto Labs will be a product testing site for HP's new 3D printing technology aimed at industrial-grade end-production.

Before joining Proto Labs, panelist Rich Baker's background was in designing and delivering manufacturing systems to

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