Last month, engineers and others interested in prototyping and end-production using 3D printing (3DP) and additive manufacturing (AM) were attending the Formnext trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. So were representatives from several 3DP companies, showing off new systems, functions, and concepts.
Two main themes stand out: metals and more metals for fabricating high-quality end-products, and, not coincidentally, more in-process automated control and monitoring for the same reasons. In the view of at least some in the industry, these are ultimately aimed at enabling fully digital manufacturing by creating an entire ecosystem that makes it possible to link design and manufacturing with the "digital thread," as we heard from David Leigh of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing earlier this year.
At Formnext, Concept Laser displayed its architecture of the digital manufacturing environment, which it calls the AM Factory of Tomorrow. Based on modular configurations, this somewhat parallels Additive Industries' MetalFAB1 3D printing system. We tell you about both of these in the slideshow below.
Click on the image to see a sampling of new products, technologies, and manufacturing concepts from Formnext 2015:
Ann R. Thryft is senior technical editor, materials & assembly, for Design News. She's been writing about manufacturing- and electronics-related technologies for 27 years, covering manufacturing materials & processes, alternative energy, and robotics. In the past, she's also written about machine vision and all kinds of communications.
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