By Mark Norfolk on Monday, February 3rd, 2020
We’re thrilled to have our first guest blog from Dr. Edward D. Herderick. Dr. Herderick is a recognized leader in the commercialization of manufacturing technologies. He currently serves as the Director of Additive at The Ohio State University Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence. He previously was the Global Sales Leader for GE Inspection Technologies and also served as the Additive Technologies Leader for GE Corporate Supply Chain and Operations. Earlier, he was Director of R&D at additive startup rp+m and was Director of the Additive Manufacturing Consortium operated by the Edison Welding Institute. The guiding thread in his career has been industrialization and implementation of complex materials intensive manufacturing methods including additive manufacturing, coatings, joining, and inspection techniques.
A materials scientist by training, he received his PhD in MSE from The Ohio State University. Dr. Herderick currently serves as the Industrial Editor for the Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, a TMS Foundation Board Trustee, and has testified before the US House of Representatives on the impact of additive manufacturing of metals.
3D printing and additive manufacturing have captured the attention of the engineering community. This blog is dedicated to the engineers, CTOs, and business people who are working to start an additive manufacturing (AM) journey in 2020. In my experience, AM journeys start at one or the other extremes—either an organization wants to print everything or they are so worried about design practice, materials properties, or cost that they flog the project to death before it ever gets started. It’s a big challenge for this nascent field to put some process around the early stages without killing the creativity that direct digital printing opens up. Below are a couple of early process questions to provide structure to the AM analysis:
Use case definition and value proposition
Defining the right use case and value proposition can be a challenge for additive manufacturing. On the one hand, polymer prototyping and tooling is the best practice and must use for visual aids. On the other end of the spectrum is directly printing metals for use in no-fail regulated industries. Each of these has their own use case and value proposition. While these cases are straightforward, analysis of more subtle real-world uses cases is a hurdle for beginning to implement AM. Examples could include replacing castings with a direct metal printed part or replacing capitalized tooling with soft tooling.
What material do you want to use?
The capabilities of AM vary based on whether you want to print polymers, metals, ceramics, electronics, biomaterials or any combination. Now most materials are possible but the size, accuracy, and precision capabilities vary. One hurdle here is that the materials science community has been very active in developing and characterizing materials for industrial AM. So if your organization hasn’t looked at AM for a few years, the materials properties and performance reliability have likely dramatically improved since you last evaluated it.
Designing for additive manufacturing
This is probably the biggest challenge in starting an AM journey with existing parts. Does the organization have design authority to redesign a part for AM? Business cases based on performance or cost are not feasible if a part or assembly can’t be changed. The business case also breaks down if the part/assembly has already been fixed by other means. This is the part where forward thinkers can really disrupt whole industries by thinking additively. This is also where the work Fabrisonic really shines—multi-materials? No problem. Integrating sensors and electronics? No problem. But that is a completely different paradigm than the traditional joining of machined parts or pick and place electronics and can really challenge traditional design practices. The upside is that empowering engineers and designers to think this way opens up whole new possibilities for product development.
I hope that these screening questions help to define and launch your AM journey. The technology is rapidly maturing and there’s tremendous value to be captured across defense, industry, and academia. Best wishes for a great 2020!