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Spring 2018 AM Conference Takeaways

May 2, 2018

April in the Additive Manufacturing (AM) industry typically means the ramp-up of conference season and this April certainly did not disappoint. The UL AM team participated in and presented at four events across the United States, walking away with new contacts, learnings and observations. Before hitting the road again in May, the team took a moment to summarize and share highlights from this rapidly moving technology sector.

ASTM/ISO: Baltimore, MD, April 3 – 6

ISO and ASTM International have been working together on a framework for creating global additive manufacturing standards. During the meeting of Committee F42 the focus was on developing guidance and standards to support the unique needs of the aerospace and medical industries. Specifically, guidances to support NADCAP accreditation requirements for aerospace and the creation of a new sub-committee under ASTM F42.05 (Materials and Process) to support the medical device community on unmet specification needs related to AM, ASTM F42.05.03.

Additional learnings include:

  • The ISO/TC 261 Working Group on Process, Systems and Materials is developing standards for Plastics Additive Manufacturing with an emphasis on feed stock material, process-equipment, and final parts. Target completion date is 2019.
  • ASTM published, “Standard practice for metal powder bed fusion process to meet critical applications,” ASTM F3303-18.
  • There is an increased focus on additional AM methods for metals including Directed Energy Deposition.
  • New work item proposed: “Industrial AM Conformity Assessment- Guideline for quality assured for AM center”
  • The plenary meeting included a core discussion on AM Safety. In addition to the work that UL has done with UL 3400, there are also country specific initiatives in France and Germany underway. A new joint group has been established to focus on developing guidelines related to Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) aspects in all AM processes that use metallic materials in powder or wire form, ISO/TC261/JG69 .
Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG): St. Louis, MO, April 8 – 12

AMUG 2018 kicked off with the launch of “Fundamentals of AM Certification,” the first tier in the UL and Tooling-U SME joint professional certification program; an AM industry first.   From a broader industry perspective, metal AM technology shows tremendous growth potential with major companies introducing new solutions to improve the build process as well as the wider adoption of the technology. These improvements focus on usability, safety, and strategies to reduce the cost.

Additional learnings include:

  • The number one industry trend continues to be focusing on narrowing the skills gap
  • Hardware
    • Growth potential for metal
    • Increased activity in Asia
    • New/unique processes
    • Large format capabilities
    • Lower prices
  • Software:
    • Direct from CAD
    • Part property prediction
    • Process modeling
  • Process:
    • Methods for process control
    • Automated post-processing
  • Materials:
    • Expansion of available materials
    • Open-source systems
    • Lower prices
  • Applications:
    • Push for final part manufacturing
    • Focus on niche segments
  • Business:
    • Increase in partnerships and collaborations
    • Acquisitions to get closer to voice of customer
    • Expansion and emergence of new large brand players
3DHEALS 2018 Global Healthcare 3D Printing Conference: San Francisco, CA, April 20 - 21

3DHEALS 2018 is a niche event focusing completely on 3D printing innovation within the healthcare industry. It attracts engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, entrepreneurs, OEMs, technicians, venture capitalists, and students to discuss 3D printing, its applications, innovation and opportunities.

A major takeaway was on the maturity level of 3D medical imaging, which was demonstrated via the developments in automated processing of DICOM images to 3D models.

RAPID + TCT: Ft. Worth, TX, April 23 – 26

RAPID also kicked off with a successful session of “Fundamentals of AM Certification.” RAPID is reflecting the growth of AM as it expanded an additional 25.7% in square footage over last year; the overall AM market is projected to surpass $27.3B by 2023.

HP had another strong showing as they continue to innovate their solutions. The Multi Jet Fusion machine is beginning to be used for production parts and HP equipment is the core of a new Jabil manufacturing facility in Singapore. There were also a number of new materials introduced, including elastomerics,  new AM specific aluminums, ceramics, and polymers for medical implants.

Additional learnings include:

  • Industrial machine growth has quadrupled over the past 4 years
  • Europe is now the leader with 60% of the industrial installations
  • AM metal sales increased 80% over the past year; New developments in metal AM technology with OEMs like GE Additive and Desktop Metal influenced this growth
  • 51% of service providers now offer metal AM
  • Material sales crossed the $1B mark in 2017; 16.2% of this is metal


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