EIF 2023 Review – Additive Manufacturing

Author photo: Fabian Wanke and Constanze Schmitz
ByFabian Wanke and Constanze Schmitz
Industry Trends

ARC’s European Industry Forum, part of the successful series of worldwide conferences in Europe, America and Asia, has been held in Sitges (Barcelona), Spain on May 15 - 17, 2023. The event offered exclusive presentations and workshops on strategies and case studies in line with this year’s topic “Managing Industry Evolution in Times of Global Disruption” to its 160 international participants from 20 countries.

Additive Manufacturing in Industrial Applications

The workshop provided a deeper insight into additive manufacturing (AM) in industrial applications, discussing benefits, challenges of implementation and possible future business cases. Suppliers, experts and users from different industry sectors shared their knowledge and experiences.

AM Use Case in Orthotics

François Minec, Global Head of 3D Polymers at HP, and Sergio Sánchez-Osorio, CEO of Edser, shared insights on their achievements using AM in the orthopedics and medical industries. Edser develops and provides custom-made orthotics and was one of the first companies in the  industry to embrace digital transformation. 

They tested various 3D printing technologies and chose to adopt two HP Jet Fusion 4200 Series 3D Printing Solutions not only to replace current products but also to develop new products. One new application made possible by HP MJF  technology is an articulated joint ankle foot orthosis (AFO). Edser was able to 3D-print the device with the joint fully integrated, thus eliminating the need for assembly. “One of the key changes that HP MJF allowed us to do was to create devices with different mechanical behavior across the same device, allowing greater flexibility or rigidity where needed,” Mr. Sánchez-Osorio said.

AM in Electronics Manufacturing

Alexandre Schäfer of J.A.M.E.S introduced a new approach to streamlining the fabrication of electronic devices. “Unlike traditional electronics manufacturing that involves intricate processes such as printed circuit board design, component assembly, and soldering; 3D-printed electronics enable the creation of circuitry directly onto a three-dimensional object by integrating conductive materials into the printing process.” Mr. Schäfer pointed out. 

Despite significant progress in the field of 3D-printed electronics, there are still numerous obstacles to overcome before realizing its full potential. Critical concerns include maintaining reliable conductivity and compatibility between various materials used in fabrication. As 3D printing technology continues to advance, we can expect improvements in conductivity and the integration of multi-functional components for electronic structures. This progress will lead to the creation of more functional electronic devices via 3D printers, which could revolutionize various industries.

Industrialization of Additive Manufacturing

Leon Xu of Farsoon Europe shared the latest developments and solutions from Farsoon. He focused on the high automation level and new raw materials for AM. Farsoon is a Chinese-based additive manufacturing (AM) company that specializes in developing and producing industrial-grade 3D printing systems and materials. They offer a variety of additive manufacturing technologies, including selective laser sintering (SLS) and plastic laser sintering (PLS), which enable the production of complex and functional parts using various materials, including plastics, metals, and ceramics. 

OPC UA for Additive Manufacturing

Dr.-Ing. Thomas Dasbach, OPC UA consultant at VDMA, gave a brief overview about the OPC 40540 – OPC UA for Additive Manufacturing. The OPC UA interface for Additive Manufacturing (UA4AM) is intended to facilitate the exchange of information between an AM machine and software systems such as MES, SCADA, ERP or data analysis systems — like OPC 40501 for machine tools.  This will enable additive manufacturing machines from different manufacturers to be efficiently integrated into existing and new production landscapes. AM-specific features such as just-in-time, on-site and high flexibility in production networks are supported in this way. The specification will cover a similar range of use cases as OPC 40501 already does for machine tools. Further AM-specific parameters such as job and component characteristics, material and consumable properties and the material cycle will be made available at the interfaces of the systems. 

ARC’s European Industry Forum & Platform

We like to thank our sponsors, who supported the ARC EIF 2023, and all our speakers and presenters, who made the event interesting, exciting and memorable.

To complement the Forum, ARC Europe offers its online platform https://arc-industry-forum-europe.arcweb.com/en/, accessible 365 days a year. Its goal is to maintain the flow of information, and to foster network opportunities. On the platform you will find information concerning relevant economic developments and information on automation markets, as well as our quarterly industry webinars.  

Materials and presentations from the Forum will be made available on our platform https://arc-industry-forum-europe.arcweb.com/en/ after registration, depending on the package chosen. Forum attendees can download presentation slides, view video recordings and receive further materials on the platform. 

For more information, please contact Ann-Kathrin Blech (mailto:ablech@arcweb.com). 

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