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How to Leverage High-Strength 3D Printing

Can't figure out how to integrate high-strength 3D printing into your manufacturing workflow? Try a new perspective.

Parts like this UHMW (ultra-high-molecular-weight) polyethylene cradle for manufacturing industrial vehicle frames can be slow and costly to produce for many manufacturing departments. A high-strength 3D printer can make such a part quickly with mechanical strength and toughness that far exceeds a typical UHMW part. Image courtesy of Markforged Inc.

Tony LockwoodSponsored ContentDear DE Reader:

I'm circumferentially challenged. I routinely weigh improving my ingestion processes by staring into the fridge, debating inwardly how best to integrate low-cal into my food flow instead of those cookies I, um, thought my wife would like. Stupid analysis paralysis like that is one thing. Staring at your manufacturing processes and being unable to decide how to integrate high-strength additive manufacturing (AM) into your workflow is a high-stakes gamble. Maybe you're looking at it from the wrong angle.

But let's start at the end. Markforged's “Guide to 3D Printing on the Production Line” is good stuff. Still, when you reach the last page, hit the link to the ROI (return on investment) calculator. You don't have to give it any personal or proprietary information. It's fast, yet its analysis of your potential ROI might jog you into action after all you read before it.

This guide isn't about how to design for AM. It's about what high-strength AM can do for you. It's about identifying your needs and how, where and why high-strength AM extends your manufacturing process nimbleness. It provides strategies and applications for integrating high-strength AM into your operations. It can help you build your needs assessment with greater clarity. The trick is a new point of view.

This paper begins with marketing heresy by saying that the economics of AM for end-use production can be less attractive than those of high-volume, high-speed processes like injection molding. So, don't think of it as a manufacturing line replacement. Rather, envision high-strength AM as a complementary, enabling technology that enhances your lines and re-engineers your MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) initiatives.

How? Lower tooling costs. Quick bouncebacks from equipment failures. Shorter line downtime and line changeovers. You know where your MRO burns money. Them.

Take tooling. You can produce, say, replacement parts or custom alignment jigs in-house quickly and far less expensively with high-strength AM. What's that worth to you?

This paper steps you through key drivers to match your pain points and cost considerations with what high-strength AM does well. It covers all bases from workers to MRO materials. It has vignettes on how high-strength MRO materials are used in the real world today.

Its thoroughness, depth and remarkable honesty make the “Guide to 3D Printing on the Production Line” a must-read. It's a print out, markup and pass to your colleagues paper. Click the link for your copy.

Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood

Editor at Large, DE

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Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s Editor-at-Large. Contact him via [email protected].

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