IMTS 2018 to offer ‘unprecedented concentration of Additive Manufacturing resources’

July 16, 2018

July 16, 2018

IMTS 2018 to offer 'unprecedented concentration of AM resources'

IMTS is North America’s largest manufacturing event (Courtesy IMTS)


Tooling trends

“People are beginning to see that they can very quickly and locally print their own tooling and therefore increase the innovation and decrease the overall cycle time to develop that next big product,” stated Bill Peter, Director of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a long-time collaborator with IMTS for creating demonstrations for the Emerging Technology Center.

Peter notes that the United States lost about 37% of the die and tool industry in less than a decade and currently imports 70 to 80% of its tools. Having demonstrated success with polymer molds, the MDF is now examining how to move forward with metal Additive Manufacturing. “We want to look at cost-effective feed stocks and increase the deposition rate of additive systems that could make tools,” he says, noting that tooling greatly affects lead times and the cost and rate of innovation.

To directly address this point, Vader Systems will demonstrate its Magnet-o-Jet™ technology to melt and “jet” a continuous aluminium wire to create metal parts. Vader has a partnership with the Rochester Institute of Technology, which is helping co-develop the technology and new materials, such as aerospace grades of aluminium that are traditionally non-weldable and difficult to print with other AM processes.

“I cannot overstate the rate of growth in AM technology,” commented Jennifer Moran, Director of Sales and Marketing for Vader Systems. “At IMTS 2014, many people didn’t understand basic concepts of AM. Now, people understand nuances between technology and want to discuss specific applications and materials. We bring the entire Vader team, from C-level executives to mechanical engineers, so people who have different levels of interest, from financial to technical in nature, can get answers and move forward.”


Software for Additive Manufacturing

In a snapshot, the industry has gone from using AM for prototyping, to building jigs and fixtures and finally to serial manufacture of end parts. It’s a recommended path of technology adoption, as it helps companies become familiar in digestible increments. As companies move forward, however, they need to invest in AM-specific software. “Originally, machines, materials and CAD/CAM software were made for prototyping. Now we need tools that are more robust to produce desirable, repeatable parts,” stated Duann Scott, Business Development & Strategy, Additive for Autodesk.

Scott explains that AM is an umbrella term for many different technologies and each technology has its own problems to solve. “With our Nebfabb® suite of Additive Manufacturing software, we can streamline workflow from design and optimisation, preparation and simulation and then processing.” One of the issues that many users of AM grapple with is that they don’t understand what happens during the build process, and that induces more trial and error time. “What we’re seeing in metal printing is that there’s a lot of thermal distortion in the parts from the energy directed to the powder,” added Scott. “Autodesk software can simulate the build process and look for distortion, compensate and create successful prints for those parts.”

“Jumping into the Additive Manufacturing scene feels to me a lot like CAD did in the 90s,” added Doug Dingus, Plural’s Director of Service. “If you look back at solid modelling and how it changed so many industries, this looks exactly the same way. AM is on the cusp of a big explosion. I think IMTS is the place to go, because that’s where all the industry players will meet.”


Register now and save 25% on conference fees

Registration is now open to attend the 2018 event. International visitors may attend the exhibition free of charge, and all visitors can save 25% on conference registrations using promotion code 25IMTSCONF


Pick up your free copy of Metal AM magazine!

Metal AM magazine is an IMTS Supporting Partner. Copies of the latest issue will be available on-site, as well as copies of PM Review and PIM International magazines.

July 16, 2018

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

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