For a technology to find its way from niche to industrial use, it needs to pass through several key stages of maturity. One is the engineering rigor needed to ensure it is stable and repeatable enough to be used for volume manufacturing. Equally important to the engineering work during technology maturation is the documentation and characterization that is required for qualification efforts, and this is the stage that additive manufacturing is in right now.
Additive manufacturing offers huge benefits to almost every industry, from footwear to medical and from industrial machinery to aerospace. Each industry has its own regulation authority and systems of compliance.
Additive manufacturing has been around in commercialized form since the early 1990s but has only recently found its way into the industrial manufacturing ecosystem, bringing additive to industrial applications. This includes exploring and developing solutions, working closely with equipment and materials suppliers to define the best solutions leveraging additive materials, processes and machines (MPM), and working diligently to qualify processes for specific applications. It is development in MPM that is taking additive manufacturing to its tipping point of industrial adoption.
At Jabil we are working with a range of machines for high-speed sintering (HSS), fused filament fabrication (FFF), polymer and metal laser sintering (LS) and other processes to bring a diverse portfolio of materials, processes, and machines to our customers. This includes the application of our engineering expertise and rigor to produce parts that will comply with standards and meet the quality demands of users and authorities in various industries.
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With 50+ years of world-class manufacturing experience, we’ve been making products for customers using traditional processes – and innovating to drive continuous improvement. But, as they say, the only constant is change, and ensuring that technology and process changes don’t put customers at risk is high-priority.
As customers leverage additive manufacturing for production parts, end-to-end Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Product Data Management (PDM) are required to ensure that compliance with 3rd party and government agencies can be achieved. The key to ensuring traceability and conformance and a distributed manufacturing model is the digital thread, which runs through the entire process and up and down the supply chain. Additive Manufacturing is, after all, a digital process and a key benefit is the ability to ship data, not parts.
Additive manufacturing has a great deal to offer, but only if it can be industrialized and if it meets the demands of the customers it serves. At Jabil, we see significant potential for additive manufacturing to transform how things are made. And we are committed to ensuring they are made with compliance to core regulations from the start. After all, what good is a part if it is not compliant?
To learn more, download our whitepaper “The Importance of Qualification and Certification for Additive Manufacturing.”
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