Growth in 3D printing dominates this month’s manufacturing news
Secretary of Commerce announces a new brand for the national network for innovation…
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that “Manufacturing USA” is the new brand name for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
“With our new name, Manufacturing USA captures the geographic reach of a network that spans our country and is positioned to benefit companies of all sizes from coast to coast,” Secretary Pritzker shared at this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). “But more importantly, this name embodies our vision for a unified American manufacturing sector—where the brightest minds and the most innovative companies come together to develop the most cutting-edge technology in the world.”
This will enable public-private institutes to participate in a network consisting of nine established or public-private institutes dedicated to advancing the United States’ future through manufacturing innovation, education, and collaboration, including:
- America Makes: The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
- Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute
- LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow
- Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation
- American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics
- NextFlex (America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute)
- Advanced Functional Fabrics of America
- Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
According to the White House, the Federal government’s commitment of over $600 million to the nine awarded institutes has been matched by over $1.2 billion in non-Federal resources from across industry, academia, and state governments. In turn, these institutes are already making a difference. For example, in Rochester, New York this initiative has helped to attract over $1.4 billion and 800 manufacturing jobs through new photonics companies and has even helped in pioneering the first FDA-approved 3D-printed medical device.
Siemens buys 3D printing company in effort to expand additive manufacturing strategy…
Siemens AG has acquired an 85 percent stake in Materials Solutions Ltd., which is “an additive manufacturing company producing nickel-superalloy parts for land-based and aerospace gas turbines, and specialty steel and titanium components for aerospace systems and performance automotive systems.”
For the last year, Siemens has shifted to “strategic investment” in the English company, especially because Materials Solutions uses “selective laser melting” (SLM) in production of high-performance metal parts. This is mainly turbomachinery parts, essential for the making of gas turbines and both land-based and aerospace turbines, all of which require extremely detailed-designed dimensional accuracy and surface finish.
Materials Solutions’ “know-how and experience will make a significant contribution to Siemens’ Additive Manufacturing strategy. Materials Solutions is developing the applications know-how and a supply chain for the world’s most advanced engineering companies – delivering processes and precision parts from 3D CAD models, using software, lasers and metal powders,” said founder Carl Brancher.
Volvo Cars, Autoliv Team Up To Develop Autonomous Driving
Last month, Volvo Cars shared their partnership with Uber to work on a $300 million project aimed at designing the next force of self-driving automobiles.
Now, Volvo Cars—acquired by Geely Holding in 2010—and automotive safety group Autoliv have teamed up to take the next step and start a jointly-owned company—which has yet to be named—to develop autonomous driving software exclusively for Volvo cars. This includes advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving systems.
Autoliv CEO Jan Carlson said it was “a recognition” that “autonomous driving is the next step to transform road safety.”
GE grabs European 3-D printing companies for $1.4B…
General Electric’s latest offer to purchase two European makers of 3D printers for $1.4 billion made manufacturing news headlines this month, as it could completely reimagine the future of factory production. For instance, the manufacturing of components like aircraft parts.
GE—the world’s largest maker of aircraft engines—offered to buy Arcam AB for $680 million and seeks to acquire SLM Solutions Group AG. GE shared that its first jet engine parts (a.k.a. fuel nozzle interiors) made with the 3D printing technology were introduced into service back in July, establishing a path for wider use.
- GE Aviation has said it expects to print more than 100,000 parts for its jet engines by 2020.
- These offers are for two competing technologies: Arcam promotes its proprietary technology using electron beams as having a fast printing process with the ability to use a wide range of printed materials, while laser-based systems like SLM’s are generally capable of making more detailed components.
- GE already became Arcam’s top customer in 2015 and placed the largest order ever for turbine blade production for jet engines.
- This exciting move could trigger a wave of acquisitions in the manufacturing industry, as 3D printers already used to make components like car parts and surgical implants.
July’s U.S. factory orders are the best in 9 months…
Orders to U.S. factories jumped by the largest amount in nine months in July. This was boosted with significant influx of demand for commercial aircraft. U.S. manufacturers have struggled with the strong dollar, responsible for hurting exports and a recent drop in investment spending, especially in energy industries.
- Factory orders rose 1.9 percent in July, the Commerce Department reported, and this is the biggest one-month gain since last October.
- The oilfield and mining machinery category jumped by 45.6 percent in July, while total orders are down by 59.9 percent in these last seven months of 2016 versus last year.
- Orders for durable goods—airplanes, appliances, and more—soared 4.4 percent in July,
- Orders for nondurable goods—think chemicals and paper—dropped 0.5 percent in July after rising 0.8 percent in June.
- A 1.5 percent rise in orders in the investment category was the third straight monthly increase this year.
Nissan’s adds new engine to its arsenal…
Meet Nissan’s variable compression engine.
The automaker claims that this new technology will provide a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine equal power and torque as a much bigger V6 engine while delivering 27 percent better fuel economy.
Nissan says it spent two decades working on this bad boy and it will be officially revealed on September 29 at the Paris Motor Show.