Last Wednesday the Silicon Valley additive manufacturing community spent an evening at Jabil’s Blue Sky center exploring progress of 3D Printing in higher volume manufacturing, What was clear from the three presentations delivered by Jabil, Carbon 3D and HP reinforced that Additive has enormous potential to change how things are made by reducing costs, improving performance and freeing from design constraints.
Visitors are always excited to see the latest manufacturing technology and capabilities on display at Blue Sky, and that’s why this event, like so many others, started with a tour of the facility’s latest demonstrations, including a new interactive automotive installation showcasing Jabil’s activity in car lighting, sensing and vision.
After a slice or two of pizza and a cold beer, the audience was welcomed by Silicon Valley Forum and the first speaker of the evening John Dulchinos, Jabil’s VP of Digital Manufacturing presented his update on the role of 3D printing for functional production parts.
John presented some case studies undertaken by Jabil that showed how additive thinking was required when exploring opportunities to use the technology to manufacture different components. John also elaborated on the special relationship with HP around the industrialization of their Fusion 3D Printer, explaining how 50 years of manufacturing experience has enabled us to apply engineering and process rigor to additive manufacturing in the same way we would to any other manufacturing process. This is essential for repeatability, traceability and quality control, all of which are at the core of what Jabil does. 3D printing requires the right mindset to create a better, more efficient, more economical solution, which may mean a redesign or printing a subassembly as a single part”. John added, “additive thinking is all about freeing your mind from the constraints of traditional manufacturing to unleash the potential of the technology.”
Next up was Carbon 3D VP of Business Development, Philip DeSimone who provided some great examples of the work they are currently doing in the field. Alongside examples from the automotive and industrial applications was a the example of a project Carbon 3D has undertaken with Adidas to print the sole of running shoes The work Carbon 3D is doing with different materials and formations is creating some exciting opportunities.
Last up before a lively question and answer session was HP’s David Tucker who talked about HP’s thinking around the selection of the right candidates for additive manufacturing, citing the need for a different design and costing model to understand what is trying to be achieved with 3D printing. David cited three important groups of components for consideration: those that simply replace an existing part, those that improve on an existing part and those that are actually designed for additive manufacturing. These three all have different potential benefits and of course different economic models.
Perhaps design for additive is where the real potential can be unlocked. Additive manufacturing can provide access to new forms, shapes and material configurations that are not available elsewhere, thus providing unique benefits, perhaps replacing multiple part and assembly steps.
In an interview during the networking session, David explained the importance of having experienced users like Jabil to help bring their products into a rigorous volume manufacturing environment and the potential this kind of partnership offers both manufacturers and consumers.
The evening wrapped up with an in-depth discussion between the three speakers and the audience, opening up several interesting topics, that will doubtless form continued debate. The evening was a great success, well attended and with solid interaction. At Jabil, we are delighted to host this kind of evening and always excited to see so many people joining us.
Additive manufacturing is a key technology for us and just one of the ways we remain agile and at the leading edge of technology while continuing to apply our tradition of high quality engineering and innovation.