Fictiv’s Global Manufacturing Network Now Includes Sheet Metal, Die Casting, and Compression Molding
Fictiv, the San Francisco-based, digital manufacturing network, has added three new manufacturing capabilities to its repertoire: sheet metal forming, die casting, and compression molding. This brings Fictiv’s total number of capabilities to seven, with the other four being injection molding, additive manufacturing (AM), CNC machining, and urethane casting.
Compression molding is used for polymer composite materials, entailing the use of heated molds to press the feedstock into the designated shape. Die casting involves a few different methods for filling molds with liquid metal, in a process similar to injection molding. Sheet metal forming utilizes a variety of techniques for changing the shape of thin metal sheets that are still in their solid state, to create end-products with complex geometries.
AM can be incorporated with all of these techniques, as well as with all of the other three non-AM processes in Fictiv’s wheelhouse. Specifically, 3D printing enhances the ability of manufacturers to create complex molds, a process aided in Fictiv’s case by the 3D visualization tools the company offers.
In 2023, of course, more or less everyone in the business world started to realize that the intersections between tech and industry are culminating in AI. Manufacturers are just starting to scratch the surface in terms of the connections. But it is worth noting that platforms like Fictiv were already there, with AI at the core of the company’s business model, for instance as the driver of Fictiv’s quote-to-order capabilities.
Even this relatively modest deployment of AI — “modest” compared to the visions for AI’s future role in digital manufacturing — gives networks like Fictiv an incalculable advantage for tapping the future potential. The most important thing to keep in mind is that since it is already central to the company’s business model, Fictiv will never have to go back and reverse engineer a role for AI, but can continue building on the foundation and stay apace with AI’s evolution.
Along these lines, digital manufacturing platforms should become more and more integral to the successful deployment of AM and all other digital manufacturing technologies, the more that the world at-large embraces AI. Down the road, this should make it easier for users to optimize the connections between all the various manufacturing technologies Fictiv provides access to, continuously opening up greater possibilities for the combinations of those processes.
Images courtesy of Fictiv
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