AM3D Q&A: What Innovations Will Propel Additive Manufacturing?


We asked a panel of industry experts what they envisioned the future of additive manufacturing(AM) would be by asking them which innovations they think would revolutionize the industry.

Here are their answers.

May's question:
What future innovations will revolutionize the additive manufacturing industry?

Joe Manzo

Joe Manzo, Executive officer, Titan Industries

“In order to move forward, additive manufacturing (AM) must be able to meet the demands of a production line. Production parts require quality standards, equipment certification, and repeatability.
"Currently, these standards do not exist, and qualification must be done on a part-by-part basis, which eliminates one of the major economic benefits of additive manufacturing. The development of quality standards and equipment certification will allow industry to fully take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing."

Simin Zhou

Simin Zhou, VP of Digital Manufacturing Technologies, UL

“If we expect a future state in which additive manufacturing is consistently producing final, functional parts and products for various applications and industries, there are three areas in which we need to make big strides:

  • Production grade materials and machines;
  • Validation of safety, quality, and performance;
  • And a workforce that is trained and educated to activate and achieve this vision.

“There are a number of challenges and considerations for each of these, but it is a great opportunity to push the boundaries and think about them differently. We are excited to partner with industry, academia, and government to advance these areas and create a sustainable additive manufacturing infrastructure. I think by partnering and collaborating, we will figure these out."

Don Godfrey

Don Godfrey, Engineering fellow and AM Lead all divisions, Honeywell Aerospace

"Topology optimization methods allow designers to minimize the mass of a part and still maintain the structural integrity behind the original design, allowing engineers to find the best design that meets the requirements. Additive manufacturing technology is a 'complexity is free' manufacturing opportunity, [so it] will be used to produce these optimized shapes.
"A vast majority of the parts currently being built using additive technology were designed either as a casting, or a welded structure, or as a machining. Topological optimization methods can be used to reduce 15 to 45 percent of the weight [of those parts]."

Brent Stucker

Brent Stucker, Professor, University of Louisville and co-founder of 3DSIM

“Innovation in additive manufacturing today is expensive and time-consuming because we primarily innovate experimentally. To make big strides forward, new predictive simulation tools must be developed [to] enable innovation to occur based upon scientific or physics-based simulations. I believe that as these simulation capabilities come online over the next 12 to 18 months, the speed of innovation in additive manufacturing will dramatically increase, resulting in a rapid increase in AM adoption."

Tim Simpson

Tim Simpson, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Penn State University and ASME AM3D chair

"While many are pushing for larger and faster prints, which will certainly help advance the AM industry, I think the next big innovation that is needed is 3D printing with multi-materials—that is, the ability to print any material at any location in three-dimensional space.

"This will allow companies to create functionally graded parts (e.g., materials with high hardness here, improved wear resistance there, and good corrosion resistance everywhere else) as well as novel parts comprised of metals, plastics, ceramics, and other materials in combination, which is not possible with today's AM technology."

The new frontier of additive manufacturing can be intimidating to navigate; fortunately, there‚Äôs the ASME AM3D conference to help guide you as you integrate AM into your business. Learn more about the ASME Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Conference and Expo here.

Holly B. Martin is an independent writer.

What future innovations will revolutionize the additive manufacturing industry?


May 2015

by Holly B. Martin