Category Archives: education

Event: Identifying and Developing Additive Manufacturing Skills for UK Industry

31st March 2017,  10:00 – 16:00

The Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry (directions here)

Register your place

Investment in education and training leading to the provision of the right skillsets at the right time will be key if UK industry is to capture the opportunities afforded by the adoption of Additive Manufacturing technologies.

This event aims to bring together those with insight into how Additive Manufacturing technologies will develop and can be most effectively deployed by industry in order to advise Additive Manufacturing UK of the nature of future skills needs. Outputs of this event will be used to inform recommendations for action and will support ongoing work with the UK Government and wider stakeholders. The aim is to ensure that the implementation of the UK Industrial Strategy delivers the skills necessary for the on-going success of the many sectors now adopting Additive Manufacturing within the broader changes being realised through the diffusion of Digital Manufacturing.

The conference will cover topics ranging from how to increase general awareness of the practicalities of adopting Additive Manufacturing, through to the development of specific skills and competences in design and manufacturing for both new entrants to the workforce as well as those already in work. Participants will include organisations wanting to develop the Additive Manufacturing skills and competences of their current and future workforce, as well as organisation providing Additive Manufacturing awareness raising and training courses at all levels. We anticipate that the event will lead to a better and more inclusive understanding of the changes necessary to the education and skills of current occupations as well as potential new roles, and understanding of the timing and scale of such changes in demand.

Register your place here.

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Where’s 3D printing now?

There’s an excellent interview in the November 2013 issue of TCT Magazine with the founder and CEO of EOS, Dr Hans Langer. For us as researchers it’s a great look into the history of one of the pioneering AM equipment manufacturers.

One of the things we hope to do during this project is to gain a realistic perspective on how 3D printing will affect manufacturing. There’s been considerable media hype around consumer-grade 3D printing, something that Dr Langer addressed in the interview.

“Consumer 3D printing is still at the peak of the inflated expectations, whereas industrial 3D printing has already been through this and is now climbing the slope to ‘enlightenment’. Consumer technologies are very interesting because they introduce people early on to the thought processes behind layer manufacturing. In the early days a lot of our work with customers was changing their expectations and teaching them how to design for the layer-by-layer process. Nowadays more engineers are familiar with the benefits and the constraints and in future we hope this won’t be an issue for us!”

As he comments, education is an important element in gaining acceptance for a new technology, both in terms of educating customers as to the potential of the technology, as well as how to use and get the greatest benefits from the technology. The shift from rapid prototyping to direct manufacturing has also meant a need to gain production acceptance . It’s now less about the freedoms that additive manufacturing delivers and more about meeting the benchmarks set by other manufacturing technologies and then doing something extra. As EOS CMO Dr Adrian Keppler comments:

“In the past a user of an additive manufacturing system would look at the parts from their machine and say ‘this part looks nice, I can use it.’ Now they want the right material, mechanical properties and even microstructure that is available from their existing techniques with the freedom of the AM process as well. We now have to combine something known, such [as] casting, forging, milling with the characteristics only available to AM”

What we’re seeing is something that the Kano model helps explain. The design freedom that a 3D printer can provide is a delighter feature – but to be adopted in a production environment then it’s also got to be able to satisfy the basic production requirements and be comparable in terms of performance (ie throughput).

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