Hybrid additive/subtractive systems for printing and finishing metal parts have been around for years now. With these systems, a part is completely printed and then is brought to necessary tolerances (i.e., edges, details, surface finish) through machining. It’s always been “first build it, then cut and polish it.”
At 3DEO, our measuring process starts with the customer. We closely review drawings to figure out what features and specs are important to the part. Our team inspects the intricate geometries of the piece to determine which tool would be the most appropriate. Using the measuring system that the customer is most familiar with, we eliminate any doubts and establish a sense of trust.
3DEO takes pride in having a fully traceable manufacturing process. But why is traceability important? Because traceability means accountability.
We’ve all heard the story -- a customer gets their first articles and loves them. They are perfect and they can’t wait to start production. But once the production parts arrive, they are completely different from the first articles.
There is a problem in metal 3D printing today. The problem is that the 3D printing industry doesn’t hold itself to the same standards as traditional manufacturers. When you order a part from traditional manufacturing, whether it's part 1 or part 10,000, you expect the parts to be exactly as you ordered them.
California-based 3DEO manufacturers 3D-printed metal parts using its own proprietary printers. With a heavy focus on reducing the per-part cost of metal 3D printing, the company claims its patent-pending Intelligent Layering technology is able to fabricate parts that meet quality MPIF Standard 35 and reduce the final cost of printing a part by as much as 80 percent. The company primarily works with stainless steel powder but is currently developing technology to print with other metals as well including Inconel, nickel alloy, cobalt chrome, titanium, soft magnetic alloys, Tungsten heavy alloy, and bronze, copper, and brass.
Even though additive manufacturing and 3D printing (AM/3DP) are still in the early adoption phase by most medical device manufacturers (MDMs), these technologies continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Today, most AM/3DP applications in the medical industry are for prototype development, anatomical models, and “one-off” custom components. 3D-printed surgical instrumentation and cutting guides for procedures such as knee, spinal, and dental implants are on the rise. On the manufacturing side, AM/3DP is used to make components for prototype mold tools, conformal cooling inserts for production tools, and jigs and fixtures for making or inspecting production parts.
"3D printing, with its digital manufacturing, has the potential to completely change the game for manufacturers". - Matt Sand, President of 3DEO
3D metal printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process where metal powder is fused together, layer by layer, to make objects derived from digital data. The benefits of 3D metal printing including reduction in material loss, adaptability, and shortened production times. Additive manufacturing has the potential to lead to a 5-27% reduction in global energy consumption by 2050. Cameron Chateauneuf, CEO of ErgoKiwi, discusses how they use additive manufacturing with 3DEO to keep production cost and energy consumption low. 3D metal printing adoption is rapidly growing and experts project the industry could be worth as much as $10 billion over the next 15 years.
Advances in 3D printing could make medtech mass customization a reality. Matt Sand, president of 3DEO, will discuss the role of 3D printing in medtech in the MD&M Minneapolis session, “3D Printing: The Journey from Prototyping to Production to Metal 3DP.” His October 31 talk will include five tips for moving from prototyping to production.
“Metal serial production is the holy grail,” says Matt Petros, chief executive officer of Gardena, California-based 3DEO. “We intend to deliver hundreds of thousands of parts, creating additive technology at scale.”
3DEO is just one of a growing number of manufacturers applying additive manufacturing (AM) to provide end-use parts at production scale. But rather than using a supplier’s 3D-printing technology to produce those parts, 3DEO’s founders elected to develop their own AM process. Today 3DEO manufactures thousands of small, repeatable metal parts using this technology. Its goal is not to compete with other metal AM processes, but to win work that would otherwise be made via machining or metal injection molding (MIM). The speed of the process and its lack of tooling make it possible for 3DEO to compete on price versus these more conventional technologies.