Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Boston AM3D Conference - Panel and Interview on Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) Standards

I was asked to speak on a panel on Additive Manufacturing standards called Panel: Pathways For Progress at the:

AM3D - Additive Manufacturing

3D Printing - Conference & Expo

Above is a photo of me and Chitra Sethi of ASME as we go through her questions before my video interview. I discussed the fact that we have yet to enter the Gartner "Trough of Disillusionment" which comes right after the "Hype Cycle".  Even though 3D printing has been around for decades, it is not until the past few years things really took off.  Why? Patents running out and Moore's Law.

Here is a link to ASME's website with the complete interview.

The consensus regarding AM is that there are three big bucket categories right now:

  1. Protyping
  2. Workholding or fixtures that are used to hold other, likely metal, parts as they are being machined on traditional machine tools.
  3. Parts - where it makes sense. For example, where each part is customized (think custom medical parts) or where the costs are in line with the subtractive process.
It is not unusual for 3D printed parts to cost 100X the price of the same mass produced subtractive process, but this is changing extremely fast.

At the panel we brought up a number of important issues, here are some of mine:

  • First, I was accused of "shamelessly plugging my book" because I listed MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know, in my intro.  I then held up my book and said, "you want a shameless plus?  Here is my book!" :-)
  • While the panel was talking about the standards in terms of file formats aka sending a file format to a 3D printer - the challenge is all of the other standards in manufacturing that must be addressed as well. What about parts standards, connection (yes, I went into great detail on MTConnect :-), traveler standards, product standards, process standards, verification during and after part making, integration and workflow standards, cell standards, ...
  • There are networking issues.  These issues are where many shop floor monitoring opportunities and overall manufacturing process improvements go to die because most manufacturers have nary a clue on how to safely and securely create a shop and back office network that can work well together.
  • I also brought up my standard question that I ask when I give talks in manufacturing:
    • Please raise your left hand if you are doing Lean Manufacturing  and please keep your left hand up. 90% of the hands went up.
    • Please raise your right hand if you are remotely monitoring your shop floor.  By this I mean you can pull out your smart phone right now and show me what ANY asset is doing on your shop floor. No hands went up.
    • I then say - "unless you have BOTH hands up you CAN'T be doing Lean Manufacturing because you have no REAL data." No one has EVER challenged me on that point.

I also spoke to the panelists and suggested that now may be the right time to start an additive manufacturing technical working group at the MTConnect Institute.

Below is the intro panel for the Additive Manufacturing Standards panel. I really enjoyed being on the panel - thanks to Tim Shinbara of AMT for recommending me.

It is amazing how hot AM3D is right now, but there is still a ways to go as we brought out on the panel.

Above is a photo of the panel before things got rolling.

  • This session will explore the roles of standards for the AM industry. A panel representing the various standards development organizations will discuss the how standards can benefit AM adoption, create value, and improve competitiveness. Darrell Wallace (Youngstown State University) and formerly with America Makes will be moderating this session. John Slotwinski (ASTM) | Jennifer Herron, Owner, Action Engineering (ASME) | Simin Zhou, Vice President, Digital Manufacturing Technologies, UL | Dave Edstrom, Chief Technology Officer, Memex Automation (MTConnect Institute) | Kevin Jurrens, Mechanical Engineer, NIST

    Above is the exhibitor area for additive manufacturing aka 3D printing.

    Below is Julie and me in front of the JFK Library for the big event the first evening of the AM3D Conference.

    Below is JFK's desk from the oval office with his famous rocking chair.