AMS 2023: The Only 3D Printing Event in New York Begins with Metal AM Discussion

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Additive Manufacturing Strategies (AMS) 2023 has kicked off its annual 3D printing event in New York, introducing new speakers and interactive discussions on important topics like challenges in metal AM and series production. With plenty of events planned for the next three days, this year’s edition is filled with the latest information from the 3D printing universe.

The day started with an opening conference led by 3DPrint.com Executive Editor Joris Peels, Rethink Additive Founder Oliver Smith and SmarTech Analysis President Lawrence Gasman. It was followed by an introduction to metal AM by Velo3D founder and CEO Benny Buller, who gave an overview of the industry’s struggles in the future. Buller estimates that after 30 years, it has been challenging to increase market adoption and acknowledges that three main challenges are responsible for this setback: cost, qualification, and development.

In terms of cost, it is pretty clear that reducing the production costs of additive will drive more applications. However, as far as qualification is concerned, Buller believes that no standard material properties and processes could be replicated and used to make the part qualification process more streamlined. Instead, each supplier uses a different solution to arrive at the same outcome when creating a particular product. However, the same process cannot be replicated from machine to machine.

According to the expert, the AM industry has been “reinventing the wheel” every day in tens of hundreds of locations around the world, solving the same problem repeatedly, and these are problems that have been solved many times in the past. Overall, Buller concluded that the key to making AM adoption easier lies in reducing costs ruthlessly, building a massive workforce, and increasing the laser count and power of the machines.

AMS 2023: Adam Hopkins – Founder & CEO of Uniformity Labs. Image courtesy of 3DPrint.com/Sarah Saunders.

After the keynote speech, Uniformity Labs Founder and CEO Adam Hopkins discussed AM for the series production of metal parts. The physical chemist explained how to make AM a more common process for serial production, particularly laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF). The Fremont, the California-based company, has been developing highly advanced ultra-low porosity metal powder feedstock, which has improved the ability to produce high-quality, durable, and repeatable parts at scale,  allowing laser additive manufacturing to become an increasingly well-established serial production tool, said Hopkins.

During the first talk of the day, SmarTech Analysis Executive Vice President of Research Scott Dunham delved into the numbers in AM production. After analyzing years of data, Dunham estimates that 30 million metal parts have been printed today, using powder metal AM alone. While most (at least 60%) of those parts belong to the dental segment, this assessment sets the context for the industry’s metal production.

AMS 2023: Scott Dunham – Executive Vice President of Research, SmarTech Analysis. Image courtesy of 3DPrint.com/Sarah Saunders.

With over 120 speakers ready to take the stage, the widely attended event convened a group of AM metal experts for the first panel of the day. During the talk, CEOs from Seurat, Dyndrite, Fabric8Labs, and XJet 3D discussed the technological trends in AM machines for metal series production.

“The main barrier to serial metal production on the hardware side is owning machines,” stated Harshil Goel, Dyndrite’s CEO and founder. “Seventy-five percent of people have two or fewer machines. So, machine makers need to make machines faster.”

AMS 2023 Panel: Technical Trends in AM Machines for Metal Series Production (From L-R: Lawrence Gasman, James DeMuth, Harshil Goel, Jeff Herman, Dror Danai). Image courtesy of Sarah Saunders.

Later, the morning ended with a unique talk about the bright future of binder jetting. Event attendees learned about the technology, which is still in the early stages but has a huge opportunity to grow. As Digital Metal CEO Christian Lönne described, binder jetting is “the AM technology on steroids.” In fact, Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop says companies like BMW, Caterpillar, and Sikorsky already have certified binder jetting parts in their products.

“The parts and assemblies that are being printed on our printers didn’t exist, they have to be designed for additive manufacturing, and that’s been a main headwind. We are all focusing on the outcome and trying to enable that design effort with our customers,” explained Meaghan Ferris, global head of sales at HP 3D Metal Print. “Ultimately, what is going to drive the mass growth is the manufacturing capacity demand for those printers.”

AMS takes place in New York City from February 7-9, 2023. After the wrap-up discussion on February 8, attendees are encouraged to participate in the Wi3DP NY Chapter Happy Hour at The Penthouse, NYC.

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