Suppliers of additive fabrication systems have been touting the potential for direct digital manufacturing for years. Now more of them are starting to walk that walk–by using their own additive machines to make parts for their new machines. The latest example comes from Stratasys, which this week revealed that 32 of the parts on its latest large-format fused deposition modeling (FDM) system were produced via FDM. This machine, the FDM 900mc, features a big 3×2x3-ft build envelope and has been designed from the ground up to support direct digital manufacturing. Among the FDM parts on the new machine is a touch-screen bezel. With direct digital manufacturing, Stratasys can create this low-volume part on demand, saving an estimated $100,000 of tooling costs and at least six weeks of tooling lead time. Stratasys isn’t alone in using its own technology to procure parts for its machines. EOS GmbH has employed a similar strategy on its Formiga P100 system. Read about it in this earlier post. For a more comprehensive look at direct digital manufacturing news and some how-to tips, go to Design News’ Factory of the Future page.
Last year at Hannover Fair, lots of people were talking about Industry 4.0. This is a concept that seems to have a different name in every region. I’ve been referring to it as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), not to be confused with the plain old Internet of Things (IoT). Others refer to it as the Connected Industry, the smart factory concept, M2M, data extraction, and so on.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.