IMTS 2016 Additive Manufacturing Pavilion Showcases Technologies
By Bonnie Gurney, Director — Communications at AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology
Eight years ago, IMTS featured additive manufacturing in the AMT’s Emerging Technology Center as a cutting-edge technology. It was then added to the Fabricating and Laser Pavilion. For IMTS 2016, the technology has earned a stand-alone spotlight: the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion.
For an inside look at the state of the technology, I recently spoke with one of its early champions, David Burns co-founder and past-president and COO of ExOne™, a leading provider of 3D printing machines, products and related services. After taking the company public, he now makes his experience available to other industrial companies as founder and principal of Global Business Advisory Services, LLC.
Bonnie: How far has additive manufacturing progressed?
Dave: Additive manufacturing is a reality for the industrial marketplace. It’s not fully mature, but the technology has progressed far enough that if you’re ignoring 3D printing at IMTS 2016, you’re making a big mistake.
Bonnie: To your point about ignoring this important technology, that’s why IMTS located the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion right off the Grand Concourse at the entrance to the North Building. There’s a whole spectrum of 3D products on display inside the pavilion. Which ones intrigue you the most?
Dave: New metallurgies and machines are always interesting, but designing for 3D printing requires a completely different approach, as does integrating the power of 3D printing into your industrial manufacturing operation.
Bonnie: Switching from a subtractive to an additive process isn’t just a simple technology swap, is it?
Dave: No. That’s why you need to talk with the experts inside the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion. If you just try to emulate an existing design, you need to expand your thinking to fully harness the power of 3D printing. Savings and productivity improvements are going to come from ways you have yet to imagine. For example, ExOne worked on a redesign that reduced part weight from 7 to 2 lbs. and offered better mechanical properties. However, the part walls resembled an organic structure — a design you wouldn’t even think of, much less attempt, with a cutting tool.
Bonnie: That brings up a good point about hybrid machines.
Dave: Yes. Look for them on the main floor. While the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion is dedicated to companies who focus solely on that process, several of the leading machine tool providers will demonstrate “hybrid machines.” These machines integrate 3D printing and traditional machine tool capabilities.
Use the Exhibitor Search and MyShowPlanner tools at IMTS.com to set appointments with additive manufacturing exhibitors
Bonnie: What’s the best way to assess the readiness of 3D printing for your specific operation?
Dave: Set appointments, and bring a copy of your print to the show. Within the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion, you’ll find companies that offer a full suite of 3D products, and they’re good at explaining the benefits. Exhibitors include material providers, 3D printers and associated equipment such as sintering furnaces, design and production software, scanners that capture points to create a parametric design, 3D printing service centers and essentially every component necessary for a manufacturing cell.
The Additive Manufacturing Pavilion
Exhibitors in the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion include ExOne, EOS of North America, 3D Systems, Statasys, HP, Optomec, Proto Labs, EnvisionTEC, Cideas, DM3D Technology, SCIAKY, 3rd Dimension Industrial 3D Printing, Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies, GPI Prototype & Manufacturing Services, Linear AMS — and more still being added. The Pavilion is located just off the Grand Concourse at the entrance to the North Building.