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April 19, 2018

Factories of the Future—New Processes and Approaches for Manufacturing

From Ford’s first assembly lines to robots on factory floors, the past century saw the development and refinement of manufacturing systems for mass production. The 21st century is ushering in a wave of equally important innovations that are making manufacturing more flexible and agile, enabling us to prototype more easily and customize products on a mass scale. Today, we’re able to make things in ways and at scales and efficiencies previous generations could never have imagined—from foodstuffs and toys to cars and industrial equipment.

Check out these 3 short presentations from AU 2017 to see how engineers, designers, and technologists are remaking the factory as we know it and revolutionizing what it means to manufacture.

Generative Design and Metal Casting
Speaker: Andres Bastian

Generative design is often associated with additive manufacturing because the geometries it suggests can’t be made any other way, but alternatives are possible. Andres Bastian, principle research scientist at Autodesk, discusses how he and his team have adapted generative approaches to metal casting, a production technique thousands of years old. The result? An airplane seat that is 50% lighter than those currently in use, allowing savings of up to $200 million in fuel over the lifetime of the airplane.


To Print a Steel Bridge in Amsterdam
Speaker: Tim Guertjens

The first 3D printers placed significant size limitations on what could be produced. Tim Guertjens shares how he and his team at MX3D turned their design studio into a tech start-up by pioneering a process for 3D printing large metal structures. Their first project? A bridge across an Amsterdam canal.


The World’s First 3D-Printed Propeller
Speaker: Vincent Wegener

Replacement parts for ships are large, expensive, and take months to make using traditional processes. Experts estimate that as much as 70% of them end up as waste. Vincent Wegener of RAMLAB talks about his process for using additive manufacturing to produce and mill a replacement tugboat propeller on demand for the Port of Rotterdam, then get it certified for use.


Want to Build Your Skills in Advanced Manufacturing? Here are just a few of the many classes at AU online related to new processes in fabrication:

On-Demand, High-Rate Additive Manufacturing for Ship/Maritime Repair Speakers: Wei Ya and Kelvin Hamilton There are many ways to make a propeller using 3D printing. This AU 2017 class demonstrates 4 different processes.  

Multi-axis Large-Scale AM with Netfabb and PowerMill High-Rate Technology Speaker: Dominique Mueller Additive manufacturing doesn’t have to fit in a box. Learn how to fabricate large objects with multi-axis 3D printers.

Hybrid Technology: Constructing Components Using Additive and Composite Manufacturing Speaker: Matthew Thorn Composite tooling is expensive and the materials often have short lives. Learn how to use AM processes to improve outcomes.

The Future of Making Things: Strategies and Techniques for Design Using Modern Manufacturing Processes Speaker: Jay Tedeschi Learn to combine tools to create the best possible design, merging additive and traditional processes.