Alumasc Dispense, one of Europe's leading producers of mountings for beer taps, faced a formidable engineering challenge: Design the mountings for the taps that were distinctive enough to overshadow the competition. Decision: Convert their 2D design process to 3D using VX CAD software (www.vx.com). Many of the designers working for Alumasc's customers use 3D systems such as Alias to get the styling right. "VX accepts the files and now we can take most things that are thrown at us, and we can work effectively exporting our designs to toolmakers," says Richard Oakley, Alumasc director. Oakley says existing designs have little re-use in his industry. "Yet, we have to go from concept to manufacturing in a matter of months," he adds. "That means our design-to-manufacturing process has to be slick." Alumasc is now using the software in design projects for Carlsberg Tetley and Scottis Courage breweries, both which are guaranteeing a pint with a perfect head, he says.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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