3D printing is a lot more interesting to me now that printing in metal is a reality for traditionally risk averse markets, such as aerospace, as they demonstrate their acceptance of AM produced components.
I find myself in an interesting position, marketing for a leading powertrain engineering consultancy and a PLM and engineering services provider. On one hand I see an innovative engineering company using technology intelligently to deliver breakthrough and incremental improvements in next generation powertrain and electric motor technologies, on the other a provider of intelligent engineering technology using engineering nous to optimise the technology/process interface for clients.
This perspective guides my view of the UK engineering scene and what I’m seeing is an increasing momentum towards light-weighting with a growing focus on new materials and innovating design and manufacturing. From one direction additive manufacturing is opening up previously impossible ways to manufacture and the option to quickly create and test design & development choices at a more reasonable cost. This is driving the opportunity to achieve improved performance by creating components and assemblies that are not constrained by their manufacturability or the time taken and cost to subcontract manufacture out to a specialist.
If you are a fan of PLM you’ll already be in a position to open up your Intellectual Property resources to re-examine previously discarded concepts and design cul-de-sacs that may now be possible. With the prevalence of design and analysis optimisation software you have the added opportunity of sifting vast amounts of engineering work to redefine your products and components in the most commercially beneficial way.
It’s maybe time to consider optimising your products again and re-visit with AM and light-weighting in mind as the way to deliver step and incremental change. Taking a second look at innovation that had been discounted because of manufacturability and the usual material suspects makes sense when you consider the engineering man years that you have invested in your business. So maybe now it really is time to re-invent the wheel.