As someone who has spent his career developing a deep knowledge of manufacturing and software, I’m rapidly becoming a major “fan” of 3D printing. The technology offers exciting possibilities that can radically change multiple industries including manufacturing. According to Industry Week, “a survey by the global consultancy PwC found that 67% of manufacturers are adopting 3-D printing in some way, most frequently in prototyping.” At the same time, ubiquitous 3D printing introduces new complexities around intellectual property ownership, counterfeiting and diversion issues that we’ve yet to fully confront.
3D printing has the potential to globally disrupt multiple industrial processes and supply chains. In the case of manufacturing on an assembly line, parts or products can be created through 3D printing on-site, potentially eliminating the need for separate parts suppliers. Take a look at how one leading industrial company, GE Aviation, is leveraging additive manufacturing in the video below.
As Kevin Sullivan points out in his recent blog, partnerships are an important strategic approach to today’s R&D and innovation. Kevin recommends strategies that industry-winning manufacturers can follow.
Investments in innovation are exciting. They inspire creativity and they fuel our economy.
What an afternoon of innovation looks like at Cisco
I was thrilled to discover that an institute for manufacturing innovation was recently launched in Youngstown, Ohio. This effort embodies a publicly and privately-funded partnership aimed at fueling R&D and innovation. Along with the U.S. federal government, a consortium of impressive manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges and non-profit organizations formed a partnership called the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). They contributed a combined $70M to the Youngstown manufacturing innovation effort.
Motivated resources from a variety of academic, manufacturing and business backgrounds will come together to advance technology and manufacturing. And what will this Youngstown institute focus on first? Additive manufacturing. What is additive manufacturing? It’s the more formal name for 3D printing. And it’s quite cool.
It seems like something out of Star Trek. A “replicator” – something that can create any complex object from generic raw materials, such as powdered metal. Well, these replicators actually already exist, and they are called 3D printers. The process by which objects are created by 3D printers is called “additive manufacturing.”
If you’ve never seen additive manufacturing in action, then prepare to be impressed: Read More »