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AMT Tech Report: Issue #220

Inspection your machinists can hate. The stratasys material strategy. Electron beam printing grows. Integrated optical inspection is the future. Can we please go digital already?
Aug 12, 2022

Form follows functionality in the best of all worlds.

– Kevin Czinger, CEO, Divergent

1. Inspection Your Machinists Can Hate

A 3D scanning robot has been developed that is capable of measuring component dimensions at the micron level. The robot, developed by a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo, uses a laser to scan the surface of a component and create a 3D model of it. The robot then compares the 3D model to a reference model to determine the dimensions of the component. The robot is said to be accurate to within 1 micron. This might make machinists a wee bit frustrated. I get it. Machinists hate the inspection folks. The parts that machinists make are their babies, and nobody in their right mind is about to just let somebody tell them their children are “out of spec.” YOU’RE OUT OF SPEC! However, it must be said that it’s not the inspector’s fault that the engineer sent the machinist ridiculous programs with unobtainable tolerances; that’s on the shop’s sales associates making bogus promises to customers with claims that are physically not possible. All the world’s problems start in sales, and they need to be held accountable! I digress. You can’t – at least it’s not “socially acceptable” to – cuss out another person. A robot though? Give ‘em hell! … At least until they take over. But you’ve got time. Seriously though, machinists are miracle workers.

Read more here.

2. The Stratasys Material Strategy

Stratasys has entered into an agreement to acquire Covestro's additive manufacturing materials business. The acquisition will accelerate the expansion of Stratasys’ portfolio of materials for industrial 3D printing, including engineering-grade thermoplastic polymers. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.

Read more here.

3. Electron Beam Printing Grows

Wayland Additive’s Neubeam technology is a metal 3D printing technology that uses an electron beam to melt the metal powder and build up objects layer by layer. The company claims that this method is faster and more precise than other metal 3D printing technologies and that it can produce parts with better mechanical properties. Wayland joins the likes of JEOL, Freemelt, and pioneering company Arcam in the electron beam 3D printing sector.

Read more here.

4. Integrated Optical Inspection Is the Future

Saccade Vision and Euclid Labs have partnered together to deliver integrated optical inspection on robot-tended metalworking cells. This will allow for greater accuracy and efficiency when it comes to inspecting metal parts for defects. The partnership will also help to improve the overall quality of the products that are produced.

Read more here.

5. Can We Please Go Digital Already?

Digital tools are becoming increasingly popular in the manufacturing industry as they offer a number of practical benefits. One of the most significant advantages of using digital tools is the ability to collect data and track the performance of individual machines. This data can be used to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing process, as well as identify potential problems ... Or it’ll save time and effort from writing stuff down on messy whiteboards and wasting paper – or worse, taking digital pictures of text that’s illegible to computers (and probably people too), leaving endless blocks of massive and useless image files in your data storage … Why? Why are we still doing this? Additionally, these data and digital tools can be used to create virtual prototypes of products, which can test different manufacturing methods before investing in expensive physical prototypes.

Read more here.

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Stephen LaMarca
Technology Analyst
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