Each year, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) hosts its annual Conference, which features presentations, workshops, competitions, vendor break-out sessions, and the AMUGexpo. The conference’s roots date back to the early 1990s when the founding industry users group was called 3D Systems North Stereolithography Users Group. Although the original users group was solely focused on the advancement of stereolithography (SL), AMUG now supports and educates users of all types of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies.
This year’s AMUG conference & expo will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, from April 3-7, 2016, and will feature keynote presentations from three leading authorities in the realm of AM. Todd Grimm, AM consultant and president of T.A. Grimm & Associates, and Jason Lopes, the lead systems engineer at Legacy Effects, will present their keynotes on “AM – Age of Innovation” and “Creating Clones,” respectively, on April 4. Then, on April 7, Paul Litchfield, president of Ware Solutions, an advanced project consulting firm, will end the conference with his keynote, “The Legacy of Reebok Innovation in Partnership with Additive Manufacturing.”
Those who have access to use or operate AM equipment are encouraged to attend, and they will be provided with a variety of specialized tracks to choose from, including 3D scanning, laser sintering, stereolithography, and more. Because the five-day conference will feature a broad array of technical sessions and workshops, the Product Design & Development staff has identified the top five trends to follow.
1. SLA & LS Processes Embrace New Materials & Post-Print Techniques
AMUG’s technical tracks offer a rich mix of topics for attendees involved with stereolithographic and sintering-based manufacturing processes. These sessions will focus on the steadily-growing list of materials and post-print techniques that are enabling 3D printed parts to be used in a broader range of applications. In the session, “Processing Composite-Filled Materials in an SLA Machine,” Andrew Allshorn from 3D-Squared will discuss how adding different fillers like carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar, or ceramic powder can offer improved durability, mechanical properties, and thermal performance. Allshorn will also address the design and processing limitations of filled SLA materials, caused by the presence of the filler in the resin.
New materials also dominate the sessions devoted to sintered powder printers. In the session, “6 Parts Fabricated by Laser Sintering: Experiences in Developing System Solutions,” representatives from BSAF and Varia 3D will explore some of the challenges involved with achieving consistent results with polyamide powders that have been enhanced with fillers such as carbon, glass, and mineral fibers. While these fillers can help polyamides address applications where strength and durability are required, they also require careful tuning of the sintering process to make them fuse in a consistent manner and deliver the highest levels of resolution. Similar issues will be addressed in the session, “Plastic Laser Sintering with Advanced Thermal Control for Expanded Applications,” presented by Brian Bauman of Prodways North America.
2. Higher Rez for 3D Metal Prints & Castings
Attendees to AMUG’s metals and casting tracks will explore how additive manufacturing is enabling casting and other metal-forming industries to do things that were considered uneconomical or even impossible a few years ago. For example, Bill Dahl of Solidscape will present “Japan’s New Disruptive Automotive Manufacturing Casting Practices,” which provides real-world examples of how high-precision printing of so-called lost wax casting forms can deliver higher quality and better detail for both custom and production applications. The track will also include a talk by Matt Moser of EnvisionTEC, titled “Saving Time and Money by Direct Casting with 3D Printing,” which explores how modern SLA machines and advanced printing materials can accelerate the design-to-product cycle.
But 3D printing is not limited to investment casting anymore, thanks to the emergence of LCM (Lithography-based Ceramic Manufacturing) technologies. Without the need for the production of expensive tools, LCM enables the fast and uncomplicated manufacturing of arbitrary geometries in a single work cycle. Show-goers will be able learn more about the process at Lithoz’s presentation, “Additive Manufacturing of High-Performance Ceramics and Ceramic Casting Cores.” Later on, Tom Meuller of Voxeljet will present “A Comparison of Leading Additive Manufacturing Technologies for Investment Casting Patterns,” which compares the company’s unique sand printing technology to other casting-capable additive processes.
3. New 3D Scan Tools Smooth the Path from Image to Object
Every day, thousands of companies use 3D scanners and software to make CAD models of real parts, verify product quality, and create mass customized products. Although there are many 3D scanners available in the market today, they all measure the physical world using lasers, lights, or x-rays to create dense point clouds or polygon meshes. To explore how design engineers can benefit from using 3D scanning, Derek Ellis and Bob McGaughey of CATI and John Immonen of Ametek will present, “Leveraging 3D Technology in the Product Development Lifecycle: Part 1: 3D Scanning.” Ellis and McGaughey will then continue the presentation in a four-part series, explaining how to go from a 3D CAD design to a 3D printed object, and then onto 3D printing injection molds and using 3D for inspection.
Those attendees following the 3D scanning track will also be able to attend talks on specific applications for 3D scanning such as Nabeel Chowdhury’s talk, “Using 3D Printing and Scanning for Custom Myoelectric Prosthetics for Children.” As a biomedical engineering student and researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine, Nabeel is able to shed light on how 3D technology can help create custom myoelectric-controlled prostheses, which offer upper-limb amputees with the ultimate combination of function and natural appearance.
For those looking to explore 3D scanning on an even larger scale, Fabio Visentin, operations manager at JG&A Metrology Center, a provider of industrial computed tomography scanning services, will be presenting his talk, “Quality and Inspection: How Industrial CT Scanning Supports Additive Manufacturing.” Visentin’s presentation will delve into how CT scanning services can reduce pre-production inspection costs and analyze internal failures quickly and accurately in 3D.
4. 3D Solutions for Personalized Healthcare
3D printing is having a very dynamic impact on the healthcare space. The applications are only limited by the creativity of engineers, designers, physicians, and anyone in care delivery. From rapid prototyping for next generation devices, to realistic anatomical models for device testing and clinical training, to patient specific devices, 3D printing is being deployed to improve clinical outcomes, as well as drive efficiency and save costs throughout the healthcare value chain.
For AMUG attendees hoping to learn more about the applications of AM in healthcare, the conference provides an extensive medical track, with talks ranging from University of Notre Dame researcher David Hoetzle’s presentation, “Additive Manufacturing for Tissue Engineering,” to VA Commonwealth University School of Dentistry’s Dr. Perry E. Jones’ talk, “Digital Scanning and 3D Printing: Evolution to Endless Possibilities in Dentistry.”
“Like all medical advancements, the adoption of 3D printing is being driven by a desire to improve patient clinical outcomes and improve the economics of healthcare delivery,” explains Michael Gaisford, director of marketing for Medical Solutions at Stratasys and a presenter at the conference. “3D printing is the realization of the macro trend towards personalized healthcare, where surgical approaches, devices, prosthetics, orthotics, and other services are one of a kind solutions created for the individual patient.”
Gaisford will be providing a talk, “Driving Medical Innovation and Technology Adoption.” The mix of presentations from those in both the medical field and in the AM industry will provide perspectives on the user’s needs and how AM manufacturers are striving to meet them. Washington University School of Medicine MD Albert Woo will provide a user viewpoint with his one-hour talk, “Medical Applications for 3D Printing.” Dr. Woo and his colleagues are able to 3D print anatomical features, such as a child’s skull, prior to surgery to become more familiar with the complex anatomy they would be facing.
5. Rewriting the Rules for Parts Logistics
For attendees interested in the Aerospace, Space, Defense, and Transportation track, the AMUG conference features various sessions ranging from AM production in manned spaceflight to automated additive manufacturing of missile seekers. Like other industries, the aerospace and defense industry is increasingly using additive manufacturing to reduce materials costs, decrease labor content, and increase availability of parts at point of use. As one of the technology’s earliest adopters, these industries benefit from the flexibility AM provides to create complex part geometries that are too difficult to build using traditional manufacturing. In addition, AM machines produce far less scrap than traditional machines, meaning less waste of expensive aerospace materials.
Among the more technical talks at the conference is “Isotropic Reinforcement for Laser Sintered PEKK” by Steven Kubiak of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. Also, Boeing’s Derrick Tackett will present, “Exploring Additive Aerospace Applications with FDM.” Aerospace engineers often rely on fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology for prototyping, tooling, and part manufacturing. It works with high-performance thermoplastics to build jigs and fixtures, check gauges, and produce aircraft parts.
The conference also features a presentation by Douglas Greenwood and Justin Reynolds of the Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East, titled “Supporting Fleet Readiness with AM.” For more than 60 years, the FRC East aboard MCAS Cherry Point, NC, has provided maintenance, engineering, and logistics to support Navy and Marine Corps aviation, as well as other armed services, federal agencies, and foreign governments. The engineers and aviators at FRC East have adopted high-tech resources like 3D printing to repair aircraft and quickly return them to their fleet.
The AMUG Conference not only provides in-depth education and training sessions by AM industry experts and OEM representatives, but it also offers the opportunity to discover new services, materials, systems, and peripherals during the two-night AMUGexpo on April 3 and 4. Although the conference will cover a broad range of topics, attendees can get the most out of their visit by following these five trends.
Filed Under: 3D printing • additive manufacturing • stereolithography, Industrial automation