🖨️ The Transformative Power of Innovations in Additive Materials
The slow but steady ascent of additive manufacturing (AM) into mainstream production environments is changing how products of all kinds are designed, made, and delivered. The evolution of advanced materials is further elevating the industry by empowering end-use parts and products with improved physical properties for greater utilization at lower costs as well as faster delivery and less waste.
Many, if not all, of the most popular additive materials can be enhanced through refinement of polymer formulations and compounding processes. Highly specialized skills in controlling the morphology and particle crystallization are needed, requiring chemists and scientists to create and iterate new material formulas.
In the world of AM, breakthroughs in polymer innovations are being driven by the demand for more affordable, lighter and higher-modulus composites as well as the ability to print materials that previously were too difficult to integrate into additive processes Additionally, the incorporation of value-added attributes to existing polymers is ushering in a new class of engineered materials with special functionality, such as flame-retardant or resistant attributes; reinforced materials containing glass fiber, as well as mineral fillers, carbon fiber, or nanotubes.
The inclusion of conductive attributes also is on the rise to address Electrostatic Dissipative (ESD), EMI-shielded or electrically conductive materials. The need for lubricated materials also is vital to reduce part friction and wear, along with the addition of UV-stable materials to reinforce part longevity. Many of these attributes are designed to extend the usefulness of materials for traditional manufacturing and 3D-printing applications, and vice versa.
3D printing has a complex relationship with sustainability
“Anything that you can do to reduce the cost of production is always a greener solution because costs are directly related to carbon footprint,” Rodgers said. “Everything that we derive – whether it’s forging in metals to all the raw materials we utilize – is CO2 related.”
Although 3D printing can reduce waste in some cases, it also has waste generation issues, Wohlers said. For example, the polymers for powder bed fusion, a popular 3D printing process, need to be continually replenished with virgin material, which results in 30% to 50% waste, he said.
Sarcos Signs Manufacturing Services Agreement with Jabil to Advance Production Capabilities for Sarcos Robotic Systems
Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation (“Sarcos”) (NASDAQ: STRC and STRCW), a leader in the design, development and manufacture of advanced robotic systems that redefine human possibilities, is collaborating with Jabil Inc., a leading manufacturing solutions provider, to expand Sarcos’ production capacity for its robotic systems and sub-systems.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sarcos will utilize Jabil’s broad manufacturing services to produce a variety of leading-edge robotic systems and sub-systems. Sarcos also will be able to leverage Jabil’s global footprint, strategic supplier relationships, and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities to accelerate volume production while benefiting from advanced supply chain, procurement, and component-sourcing solutions.
How Additive Manufacturing Adoption Brings Business Gains
Analysis from Jabil’s 2021 3D Printing Technology Trends survey revealed that additive manufacturing is already enabling unique and better ways for manufacturers to serve their markets. In the last few years, highly regulated industries with precise and rigid standards for safety and quality, such as healthcare, aerospace, defense and automotive, have positioned themselves enthusiastically among those championing the strategic benefits of additive manufacturing.