PODCAST: The Thinker, The Problem-Solver and The Happiness Maker Talk AM
On this episode of The Manufacturing Alliance Podcast, we interview Milacron DME, Forecast 3D and Carbon about finding the right applications for AM, investigating new opportunities and securing influential relationships to grow with additive.
These industryfolk work for three early additive manufacturing/3D printing technology adopters who have committed to building and showcasing this new marketplace through education.
- DME: How to use 3D printing to create conformal-cooled metal inserts to provide better thermal regulation when reducing the temperature of the resin part.
- Forecast 3D: How to use FDM, SLA, Polyjet, metal printing and HP Multijet Fusion technology to make parts.
- Carbon: How to use material, software and tool-less technology to help molders, casters and OEMs make end-use parts.
And they all agree that it’s time to help customers look at AM through a different lens, set appropriate expectations, stop making assumptions and start asking questions.
- “It’s happening, it’s just a matter of when you dive in.” Ken Burns, Forecast 3D.
- “Conformal cooling is an investment in your tool,” David Moore, DME
- “We love feedback from customers. That’s how we improve our technology.” Dana McCallum
Here are some conversation tidbits:
- Barriers to mold builders to get into AM is cost despite people understanding that conformal cooling reduces cycle time and warpage.
- The best entry point is a customer’s existing mold with a problem is the best entry because the customer already sees the limitations of traditional cooling.
- Forecast 3D says AM is a complement not a competitor to injection molding.
- Defining volumes is hardest question because what is production to one person is not to another, so the real focus should be on customer’s requirements then you dial it in from there.
- Today companies can do 100,000 parts or less in weeks or over the course of a year.
- 10,000-20,000 is the sweet spot because it is an underserved segment.
- Carbon has reduced material pricing to increase the quantities to make it cost-effective.
- Common questions involve overmolding and printing two materials at once.
- In 10 years AM needs consolidation and standardization to grow and stabilize. The industry needs a supply chain to be a real manufacturing process.
- Building on a molecular level.
Now listen to the full conversation here:
Moldmakers who are interested in exploring conformal cooling, but are concerned about its complexity and expense need to understand two things: it is neither complex nor expensive.
In the short term, indirect methods of RT will continue to flourish because these methods are the most developed. In the long term, however, companies will lean toward direct methods of tooling.
SL modeling and rapid tooling methods combine to produce durable epoxy injection molds that generate production-quality parts in record time.