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America Makes publishes national roadmap for additive manufacturing in the United States

In collaboration with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), America Makes, the organization driving innovation for additive manufacturing in the United States,  has released a Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing, Version 1.0. 

Focusing on the key industries of aerospace, defense and medicine, the document identifies 89 gaps in industry-wide guidelines for design, process & materials, qualification & certification, nondestructive testing (NDT), and maintenance of additive manufactured parts.

Testing the GEnx engine used in Boeing commercial airlines. Photo via GE Aviation
Testing the GEnx engine used in Boeing commercial airlines. Photo via GE Aviation

The document was produced with contributions from, and participation of over 150 manufacturing, and additive manufacturing organizations, including GE, EOS, Autodesk, Arconic, Apple, Boeing and 3D Systems.

Individuals from Stratasys, NASA, and Lockheed Martin are credited under Special Recognition as contributing authors/editors of the roadmap.

Ensuring the safety of machines and materials

19 of the identified gaps in the roadmap are marked as high priority in terms of the demand for standards and specifications. As process & materials is broken into a further 4 categories, (precursor materials, process control, post processing and the finished material properties) this sector collects more high priority gaps.

One point singled out in process is Machine Calibration and Preventative Maintenance for which “There is an urgent need to develop guidelines on day-to- day machine calibration checks.” Additionally, the roadmap specifies a need to better understand the properties and effects in producing recycled materials for additive manufacturing, as in the plastic bottles turned into sneakers by Adidas.

The recycled Adidas Ultraboost Parley. Photo via Parley.tv
The recycled Adidas Ultraboost Parley. Photo via Parley.tv

Purpose specific design 

Noting the rise in software programs for specific purposes, such as Renishaw’s ADEPT project to create plates and surgical guides for the skull, one high priority in design is Application-Specific Design Guidelines, with the added necessity to record the best practices.

Also noted in the design category, is a guide for correct cleaning of manufacturing residues from additive manufactured components in medicine.

Quality control

As discussed in our interview with Professor Moataz Attallah of Birmingham University’s AMPLab, there is growing necessity for specialist training of additive manufacturing design and processes. The US Standardization Roadmap for Additive Manufacturing highlights one are of this demand in training for “handling imaging data and preparing for printing” or, in other words, CAD modelling for 3D printing, and processing 3D scans.

In addition, it asks for a guide to verification of a 3D printable model in relation to its purpose.

International standardization

As of the 1st March 2017, the UK has released a 2017 Digital Strategy. Though not specific to additive manufacturing, this document highlights a strategy for the proliferation of FabLabs, Makerspaces, and government funded Tech Hubs, and links back to boosting the economy in the North of the country.

In Germany a Federal Ministry of Digital was announced in January and will be responsible for areas including Industry 4.0, digital education and start-ups. While in Spain and since 2011 Barcelona has become a leader in the advancement of the Fab City concept.

In November 2016, Australia published a roadmap for advanced manufacturing and “unlocking future growth opportunities for Australia” and Canada has the Canada Makes program that is set to advance the use of 3D printing and industrialization of the technology.

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Featured image shows a satellite map of the USA. Image via NASA.