MMT Blog

Digging into metal additive manufacturing quickly reveals how expensive it can be, as some parts produced using incumbent technologies, such as laser sintering and binder jetting, can cost thousands of dollars. If there's one lesson Matt Sand, President of 3DEO, a Los Angeles, California-based metal AM parts supplier, has learned over the last few years, it's that cost is everything when it comes to serial production.

“If you're not in the ballpark on cost, you might as well not even play the game because there's no way to get into production without being cost competitive with conventional manufacturing techniques,” Sand says. “If you are not cost competitive, you're not at the table,” So, to get the total cost structure down, 3DEO developed an end-to-end manufacturing process around Intelligent Layering, a very low-cost metal additive manufacturing technology the company’s founders invented. Based on binder jetting technology, Intelligent Layering uses a proprietary spray system to bind the entire layer, and then uses a CNC end mill to cut the perimeter of the part and any internal features. (Read more about 3DEO’s technology and company strategy.)

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Ever wonder where technology comes from? A lot of it comes from the minds of men like Colin Austin. Colin is an award-winning researcher, engineer, and the inventor of Autodesk Moldflow® software. He was born in Australia, began his career in R&D with Johns Hydraulics and then worked as a lecturer for the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) before developing Moldflow. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this software, Colin shares his journey of invention in this quick Q&A.

Q: What was your invention inspiration? What problem were you trying to solve?

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The electronics industry entered 2019 overshadowed by concerns of shrinking demand for electronics goods in China, joined with tepid demand in the U.S. This was capped by Apple’s January 2 announcement of weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter 2018 sales of its core electronics products. Such headwinds at the start of the year combined with an extended U.S. government shutdown and prolonged tariff negotiations with China to generate concern among many businesses. These events have complicated matters for those looking for insights into what 2019 may hold and how to respond in the face potentially greater near-term volatility. These early announcements sent the Dow Jones Industrial Index into a frenzy during which it fell more than 10 percent in the course of just a few weeks in December. This was in part because Apple’s shares constitute a nearly 5-percent stake in the Dow Jones Industrial Index and more than a 10-percent stake in the Nasdaq 100, according to Factset.

Examining the electronics industry less Apple’s share illustrates an industry that is expected to see inflation-adjusted revenue growth of 3.5 percent in 2019, combined with even stronger earnings growth. This is based on the actual and forecasted financial results of nearly 60 electronics industry firms generating $658 billion in revenues in the 12-month period ending with the third quarter of 2018. Including Apple’s third quarter 2018 projections pushes the industry’s overall revenue higher to 8.5-percent by year-end 2019. From a domestic perspective, the sector seems expected to follow in-line with the overall economy’s growth; however, firms with greater exposure to China may have to be more cautious during the year.

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This blog is a continuation of Terry Iverson’s story which was published as part of MoldMaking Technology’s series on workforce development in the March 2019 print edition. Readers can find the feature here, online.

For two years, Terry Iverson was giving presentations at schools, getting active in internships and promoting the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) to young people and he volunteered locally. “Through all these organizations I became involved with and through all this volunteer work I got to meet some really fascinating people that thought like I did,” he says. “They were passionate, though maybe not as passionate as me, but they really thought that what I was doing and what I was trying to do was noteworthy.”

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MoldMaking Technology continues its coverage on a variety of workforce development programs in North America. In this installment, a Canadian shop and a U.S. shop share their unique approaches to building a skilled workforce.

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