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Lack of Automation is Holding Additive Back

Join HP at Dyndrite Developer Conference 2021 as we explore Cobra MOTO’s additive manufacturing journey and how the HP Universal Build Manager Powered By Dyndrite is unlocking the promise of Additive Manufacturing.

By Anthony Graves, Head of Software Product and Strategy, Digital Manufacturing, HP

Additive Manufacturing (AM) has the potential to rewrite the economics of production. It offers the ability to create more complex geometries and structures than is possible with traditional methods, enables greater efficiencies and performance, lowers cost, improves sustainability and puts within reach, broadly available, highly customizable or individualized end products. So why hasn’t AM really delivered on its potential?

It’s not a question about whether these advances are possible. NASA has re-engineered a fuel injector and was able to reduce the number of parts in an assembly from 115 subcomponents to just two. A manufacturer of laboratory equipment was able to reduce the time to manufacture wax turbine molds by almost 90%, from 170 hours down to only 18, by using additive manufacturing. (Deloitte.) These are proven advancements with measurable economic impact. But as impressive as these gains are, they are too infrequent in production scenarios. While additive manufacturing is used regularly to produce concept models and functional prototypes, and gaining traction for low volume parts production, use within high volume production environments, where the financial impact would be significant, is growing much more slowly.

As a finished product design winds its way through the manual 3D printing build preparation process of positioning, nesting, creating support structures and slicing before finally being transferred to the printer, these costly devices often sit idle, underutilized, and waiting for input. Time Lost equals Potential Lost. It equals Money Lost. And if new or different parts need to be added to the build, the hours-long process begins again. Manual steps add time and they create opportunities for variance. Neither is acceptable at Cobra MOTO, where the pandemic’s focus on outdoor, individualized sports, has spurred record growth in mini motocross bikes. Its 3D printers need to be fully engaged and utilized, and their parts uniform and reliable.

Engine parts and casings are benefiting from additive manufacturing at Cobra MOTO

“The demands on our teams are intense and highly complex,” said Sean Hilbert, President, Cobra MOTO. “Our ability to deliver safe, top notch products relies on optimizing our systems for both productivity and reliability. We believe the new HP Universal Build Manager Powered by Dyndrite will meet our needs, help us push limits and set the standard across our entire additive manufacturing processes.”

Cobra is not alone. For AM to succeed in production, it must be able to achieve a manageable, repeatable cost structure even as product or process complexity increases. Automation is critical. In fact, it has been described by industry leaders as one of the single biggest evolutions in 3D printing.  Only by adopting automated, repeatable processes for additive production will manufacturers be able address problems with inconsistent part builds, minimize printer downtime and increase reliability and finally deliver the promise of this manufacturing process.

During the upcoming Dyndrite Developer Conference 2021 (DDC2021), we will provide an update on the HP Universal Build Manager Powered by Dyndrite and showcase how this new tool unlocks the critical step of bringing automation to the additive manufacturing process. We’ll be onsite at Cobra MOTO where we’ll do  a live virtual tour of the Cobra MOTO and Cobra Aero production facility and engage in a lively discussion about Cobra’s forward-thinking additive manufacturing journey. It’s a not-to-be-missed session.

Find out more on this topic by attending Dyndrite Developer Conference 2021, April 20-21 (virtual event)

Register for DDC2021. It's free!

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