Manufacturing Hot Topics - Embracing 3D Printing

13 July 2018

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Announcer: You're listening to Manufacturing Ignition Hot Topics, bringing you right up to date on the latest trends and discussions within UK manufacturing. Sponsored by Bonfire Recruitment, helping manufacturing leaders across the UK to attract the best talent for their manufacturing company. Ignite your business or career today by visiting www.bonfirerecruitment.com. Here's your hosts, Terry Mallin and Scott Buchanan.

 

Terry Mallin: Further on in hot topic this week in 3D printing and how to embrace that often in manufacturing. What's your thoughts on 3D printing and manufacturing?

 

Scott Buchanan: Well, it's something that is, I guess, it's been a buzz word kicking around at the moment, hasn't it? For the last couple years. Certainly in my head, but I tried to get time to listen to the podcast or the livestream it that would highlight last week but due to some technical difficulties that didn't happened. But I was listening to another podcast whilst trying to find the last week's, and I was learning that actually we can print some things now, actually, that are stronger. Stronger than metal. Which is crazy. So, you can actually do 3D printing with confi [crosstalk 00:01:19] um, and and actually ...

 

Terry Mallin: Yes. I think most people, Scott, exactly what you're saying, that most people think of 3D printing and you just got piece of plastic. You know? I mean ...

 

Scott Buchanan: I just assumed it was making, maybe I've watched too many Big Bang Theory's or similar. But you know that, I think it's actually now used in some serious cutting-edge technology. And I just did not appreciate, you know, what it could actually be used for. And I'm sure, in the courses at universities now will actually encourage I guess, and then the young engineers or old engineers coming through the ranks. That actually the ideas behind the ... Oh, but how do serve and 3D printers that we give a way to, how do they compare to the casting molds of that you know? The compass of printing that we'll be learning about?

 

 

Terry Mallin: Yeah. By the ones we had purchased for the [crosstalk 00:02:07] Chinese Government. [crosstalk 00:02:10].

 

Scott Buchanan: When they especially [crosstalk 00:02:10] yeah. For the Boeing fire bid [crosstalk 00:02:11].

 

Terry Mallin: I don't think they can make a jet aircraft from it [crosstalk 00:02:13] I've got to be honest [crosstalk 00:02:16] I think, it's a basic introduction if need be [inaudible 00:02:21] aren't we?

Terry Mallin: But obviously, Scott, by looking at the benefits in, you know, why manufacturing should really be embraced that way. I've got three specific examples and if we can touch on some of the [inaudible 00:02:35] of manufacture, I think that would paint a really picture for the for that sort of thing so ...

Terry Mallin: One of the main benefits that I see is rapid prototyping. And so we bought the companies before where, you know, they will make prototypes before going in mass production. Whatever that might be. And you know that could take months and months to get that design done and then send it away for then. That prototype to come back and then, you know, and then actually evaluate it, make the changes, send it away again and, months later, come back again.

Terry Mallin: Once with a 3D printer, you could do it that day.  Make the changes that day and print it again. You know, so, massive advantage, really. Wen it comes to, you know, prototyping and making it, you know, really really quickly. Which allows you to get to production quicker, as well, and get to testing and all that sort of stuff.

Terry Mallin: Which brings me on to rapid testing of products.

 

Scott Buchanan: Just before you do it, in terms of the prototyping I know it's important that we've got ... You know, when you're making a prototype that actually is a fair reflection of what the potential product will be at the end of. And my understanding is that the technology that is now there, is exactly the case.

Scott Buchanan: To not allow waste, it's not as though you're making a prototype and you're wondering when it's going to manufacture. But it's actually the right thing. It's bang on. Which is good.[crosstalk 00:03:48]

Scott Buchanan: Sorry. I know it ...

 

 

Terry Mallin: No. Exactly so. You'll make it- But the rapid thing ... When you're testing products you know can physically test these products, as well. From using 3D printing ... I'll give you a perfect example:

Terry Mallin: Ford, the car manufacture. They used to create new molds which were then used to test on engines. And this would normally take six months to create the mold. Get the result back and actually use the mold. Which would be hundreds of thousands of Pounds, as well.

Terry Mallin: Since 2015, Ford have been using 3D print molds, and they take four days to make. And it only costs 4,000 Pounds. Compared to hundreds of thousands. It's a massive advantage to actually creating, you know, testing products such as molds. You know I can have a massive advantage to what could ...

 

Scott Buchanan: Well, it's speed and money there. What else would a manufacturer want? Do you feel that way?

 

Terry Mallin: I'd say. And another ... I mean, I really do, a number of manufacturing companies, for their recruitment, they make bespoke products. So that might be small quantities. There may be, two or three or five, or somewhat. Up to, say 100. The benefit of 3D printing. When you've got that bespoke, well, volume, type production, obviously, you've got a lot of cost in setting up the tools. And the molds to make those products? It's a big investment, in both, in terms of cost and time, obviously. And you would have to make quite a lot of that product, to for that to pay off that investment.

Terry Mallin: But what if only a few made? 3D printing can be used for production runs less than 1,000. And you can make only one product, if you want. You know, you check make the  design changes on the computer. For  the print, you can make one product straight away from that.

Terry Mallin: So it's got massive benefit to sort of companies that would do bespoke. And it could make into a bespoke manufacture, more, but will do, make it more widespread.

 

Scott Buchanan: It very much. So it now you know it's totally cost effective. I believe there's a back crossover, Terry, with what you're saying with industry forecast, as well. Whereby, do you that way you could actually have ... I mean technically have, a designer sitting in his office, where ever that is, say Australia.

Scott Buchanan: Doing it that way, and actually then, that you know the government client is looking to build whatever it is, in the UK. And literally the printer then prints it off and right in front of the client, which is a whole other can of worms, isn't it?

 

Terry Mallin: Then so, some current uses in manufacturing. This is going to blow your mind, Scott. Scott, so as I've mentioned I mentioned before, one use in car com [inaudible 00:06:15] and manufacturing is casting molds. So, as I mentioned before, about Ford using that. It cut down mold cutting molds from six months down to four days, and it costs associated with that, so.

Terry Mallin: Number Two: The housing part, the housing for jet plane parts. So you have jet engine actual housing parts. The first 3D part has been certified by FAA, sorry. So that's, yeah. That's massive.

 

Scott Buchanan: That gives an idea the quality. The there you go. There's a level of standard that that 3D printing is used to. That's impressive.

 

Terry Mallin: Gotta tell you. Number Three: Your heat exchanger in your car? OK. Those can now be 3D printed. The benefit of that? So a non-moving heat exchanger for that car would be made of 242 parts, roughly. Okay? That can now be made with one part. One part from 242. Yeah.

Terry Mallin: The benefit of that is 30% smaller. That's 25% better performance and it's a little bit cheaper, as well.

 

Scott Buchanan: I'd be elated, as well. I would have thought. Do you know that way so important. That will give a bit more weight dusting off. Save some weight and cost, I'm sure, as well.

 

Terry Mallin: Exactly. And the last part, Scott, obviously, from a shall we say, fun fact, company uses of manufacturing. GAA used to be the printing to create the ATP engine, which is used in the cuffs. Okay?

Terry Mallin: What I've found is that reduced. By using 3D printing, it reduces the test schedule from 12 months to 6 months. The waste is reduced by 5%. The parts have been reduced from. So the parts have been reduced from 855 parts, to 12 parts, Okay? Right?

 

Scott Buchanan: What?

 

Terry Mallin: Hold on. Hold on. The most impressive part was the increased fuel efficiency by 20%.

 

Scott Buchanan: Oh, my goodness. That's incredible, isn't it? I mean, blessed. That's just ... You know, any formal ... I don't know. Manufacturer's stroke in moving product. Whether that's a plane, a lorry or a car, I guess. That that's a ...

 

Terry Mallin: Or both.

 

Scott Buchanan: I think I may have cut in there above you? What were you about to say? What were you about to tell me?

 

Terry Mallin: So, let me reiterate that. The most impressive part was the increased fuel efficiency by 20%. To give you an idea, airlines would pay pay billions of Pounds for just 1% improvement in the fuel efficiency? This is over 20%.

 

Scott Buchanan: Oh, my gosh, my ... Okay. So that's some massive [inaudible 00:08:46] Massive.

 

Terry Mallin: Exactly. Exactly.

 

Scott Buchanan: When's the ... So, do we know ... I wonder what the down side is, then? When what I'm not hearing any down side to this. Because at the moment it looks as though it's cost effective, it's more efficient, it's using less parts, and probably products. It's more probably environmentally friendly, I would guess. And if it's saving companies money. I mean, what's the ... Is it costing $3,000,000,000 to get one of these [inaudible 00:09:12]?

 

Terry Mallin: Great question! Great question. I'll tell you what. Let's make that next week's. Let's make that next week.

 

Scott Buchanan: Yeah. It's number one for whenever.

 

Terry Mallin: Yeah. So we'll do that next week. We'll do that next week.

 

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