SME, co-organizers of the RAPID + TCT event, are collaborating with 3D printing industry experts to produce web-based evaluation for companies looking to utilize additive manufacturing technologies. The project is titled the Independent Technical Evaluation of Additive Manufacturing Consortium, also known as ITEAM.
To print or not to print
Described as “a virtual repository of additive manufacturing machines and materials” ITEAM will address three main questions where the adoption of 3D printing is concerned, namely:
- Can I print it?
- Should I print it?
- What’s the best machine, material and process for a particular part?
Advising on the Digital Twin concept
Working with SME on the project are General Motors (NYSE: GM), a producer and retailer of vehicles, and Professor Michael Grieves, Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design (CAMID) at the Florida Institute of Technology.
Professor Grieves is a renowned specialist of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), and coined the Digital Twin concept – a computerized simulation of an entire manufacturing process to monitor and identify points for optimization.
Within additive manufacturing the Digital Twin concept can be found as solutions provided by, for example, SAP’s Distributed Manufacturing application and in Siemens’ involvement in the adidas Speedfactory project.
Addressing the ITEAM Consortium, Professor Grieves comments,
The information about additive machines and material capabilities that users need to make quality decisions is fragmented and expensive. This new future requires accurate, reliable and current information so users can make the best technical and economic decisions as to additive equipment and materials. SME is stepping up to the challenge of providing this capability with ITEAM.
Harnessing automotive and aerospace expertise
In addition to General Motors and Professor Grieves, SME will be enlisting the help of other industry specialists, including the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Stratasys, and companies placed in strategic aerospace and automotive industries.
From an automotive point of you Susan Smyth, chief scientist for manufacturing at General Motors and 2017 SME Board of Directors secretary, comments,
One of the keys to determining whether 3D printing is a game changer will be the ability to totally redesign a part, or merge an assembly of parts and make the additive part a reality in production. The challenge from the automotive community is the need for hardware, material innovation and availability of design tools to reinvent parts and morph assemblies for applications above and beyond prototype.
Featured image: Maxime Design graphic used to illustrate one of ITEAM’s capabilities. Image via SME on YouTube