SOLIDWORKS World provided a great opportunity to get closer to some of the most innovative and popular industrial trends today. Building on the success of the Design for Additive Manufacturing learning path introduced at SOLIDWORKS World 2017, this year’s breakout sessions were dedicated to Additive Manufacturing. Events like the Additive Manufacturing Symposium make it easier for everyone to get a comprehensive overview of the latest and greatest 3D printing technology from industry experts.
There were some very special guests, some big announcements and a range of speakers covering everything from desktop 3D printing to metal additive manufacturing and post-processing.
In this first 90-minutes of the session SOLIDWORKS Product Management covered a number of the initiatives that have been worked on in this area, including some new functionalities and new partnerships to advance the technology and the industry. The first session focused on Metal 3D printing with presentations from 3D Systems and Desktop Metal.
Following the lunch break SOLIDWORKS has brought two very special guest speakers, both at the forefront of additive manufacturing: Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates and Tim Simpson of Penn State University. Wohlers is the leading analyst and consultant in AM and has served as the voice of the industry for more than two decades. Simpson is the Paul Morrow Professor in Engineering and Manufacturing and one of the leading experts in AM technology and the design of 3D-printed metal parts.
The next session looked at the entire process and what technologies we have available. Greg Paulsen from Xometry investigated the question “Additive or Subtractive?” This question is crucial when designing a custom part. Both methods can create precise parts, but they have different benefits and considerations to keep in mind. Depending on the shape and ultimate application of your part, this decision could have a substantial effect on your part’s price, structure, and lead time. So, which method should you choose? Then Vivek Govekar from HCL Technologies was discussing how additive and subtractive manufacturing can be used together to address some of the challenges of AM. He also showed some of the latest solution from CAMWorks for Additive Manufacturing.
The final session of the day was concluded with the two heavyweights of the desktop 3D printing world, Formlabs and Ultimaker. When it comes to 3D printing in manufacturing, fabrication, and design, 2017 has become the year of digital manufacturing. From desktop to benchtop 3D printers to production systems, 3D printing has been increasingly used from prototype to production. Dávid Lakatos, Chief Product Officer at Formlabs, talked about how digital manufacturing in 3D printing has upended a variety of industries. Followed by John Kawola, president of Ultimaker North America, talking about how, thanks to a combination of higher quality and reliability with low-cost and direct access, new roles have appeared for professional desktop 3D printers within mechanical design and manufacturing. Kawola shared some customer case studies that highlighted how these tools excel for a number of roles within manufacturing and assembly, from daily use jigs and fixtures, to ad-hoc parts replacement, to bridge manufacturing.