Linear Mold and Engineering Featured on Radio Talk Show Panel

3D printing, aka Additive Manufacturing (AM), is quickly being integrated into mainstream manufacturing, making it a hot media topic. On Feb. 12, a panel of manufacturing experts presented their take on “3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Shape the Future."

Related Suppliers

3D printing, aka Additive Manufacturing (AM), is quickly being integrated into mainstream manufacturing, making it a hot media topic.  On Feb. 12, a panel of manufacturing experts presented their take on “3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Shape the Future."

Host of WJR AM 760 radio Paul W. Smith hosted the panel which included Debbie Holton, Director, North American Events and Industry Strategy, Society Manufacturing Engineers (SME). 

Also on the panel was John Tenbusch, President of Linear Mold & Engineering Inc., a Livonia, MI-based mold designer and builder that also specializes in direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) 3D printing. Two additional panelists were Bryan Crutchfield, Managing Director, Materialise, a maker of 3D printing software systems and service provider, and Brennon White, Manager, New Technologies for Johnson Controls Inc.  

Linear Mold & Engineering was an early adopter of metal 3D printing using the DMLS system from EOS GmbH, a leading developer of DMLS systems and materials. Tenbusch first saw the value in 3D printing for conformal cooling channels in injection molds to improve plastic part quality and reduce cycle times resulting in overall costs to manufacture. “We’ve cracked the code on making 3D metal parts, and today, we’re the largest DMLS service provider in North America with a total of seven 3D metal printers, printing end-use parts for the aerospace industry in addition to conformal cooling channels,” Tenbusch said. “We use the Materialise software as well.”

The big advantage to 3D metal printing is being able to take parts that were traditionally manufactured in other ways such as machining, and take it to the next level. “We provide solutions to help save companies the costs of doing things the traditional way and offer the ability to create parts that can’t be done in other ways due to complex geometry,” Tenbusch explained.

Bryan Crutchfield agreed. “We’re not limited by geometry with this process,” he said. “We can take what is capable in 3D printing and add it to our tool kit to improve the manufacturing process.”

JCI’s Brennon White commented that other benefits to 3D printing include reducing product development cycle times as well as “mass reduction” in automotive parts where light-weighting is becoming increasingly important, and for part consolidation. “We also make tools using the 3D printing process,” White added.

Holton noted that “Advancements in 3D printing are driving the local and regional supply chain, and helping to promote manufacturing in America. They don’t know much about 3D printing in China.”

Additionally, Tenbusch cited, as 3D printing technology advances, companies will be able to put 3D printers on-site and make replacement parts for aircraft engines in a matter of hours. “3D printing will enable a ‘use it where you need it’ rather than having to order replacement parts from a remote location or distribution center, and shipping them,” he said.