From Boeing Starliner to Goodyear tire, 3-D printing is becoming manufacturing reality
By 2030, Goodyear aims to bring maintenance-free and airless tires to market, and 3-D printing is part of that effort for the Akron-based tire-making leader founded in 1898 and named after innovator Charles Goodyear. Currently, about 2% of its production is through additive manufacturing and more integration into the mix is in sight.
Humtown Products, a 63-year-old, family-owned foundry near Youngstown, Ohio, adopted 3-D printing in 2014 as an efficient way to make industrial cores and molds. Today, its additive manufacturing division accounts for 55% of overall revenue and is growing by 50% annually. Pivoting to 3-D printing was the company’s “Kodak moment,” said owner and president Mark Lamoncha. “If you are not in the next space, you are out of business,” Lamoncha said. “This industry is at a tipping point to commercialization and in many disciplines it is the equivalent of driving a race car,” he said.
“For industry, it’s most definitely a competitive advantage because you can design in ways that you can’t with traditional production,” said Melissa Orme, has been vice president of additive manufacturing since 2019, a role that cuts across Boeing’s three business units making commercial airplanes, satellites and defense systems. She works with a team of 100 engineers, researchers and other specialists in advancing the technology’s development. Orme cited advantages in reduced lead times for production by a factor of ten, streamlined design into one large piece for assembly, and increased durability.