Top 10 Stories of 2019

Additive manufacturing’s advance into aerospace, metal 3D printing, enterprises and production top the list of the most-read stories of 2019.


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Top 10 of 2019

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Each year, the editors of Additive Manufacturing look back at the story analytics for the past year to determine which online stories were the most popular and widely read. Some years, this list is wide-ranging and varied. In other years, it is a depiction of clear industry trends.

In 2019, additive manufacturing encountered the rising trends of production AM, additive with aerospace, additive in machine shops and beyond, new technologies pushing AM forward, and many other growing developments.

Take a look below at the top ten stories of 2019:

  1. Mission Critical: An Additive Manufacturing Breakthrough in Commercial Aviation

Additive manufacturing is fulfilling its promise in the aerospace industry more than any other, as evidenced by more than 300 additively produced parts that help compose the new GE9X engine. GE Aviation has brought industrialized next-generation aerospace through additive manufacturing.

In an exclusive interview with Additive Manufacturing, General Electric (GE) Aviation revealed that its GE9X will be the first commercial aircraft engine to reach production with significant additive content. Boeing’s new 777X twin-engine jet will be powered by the GE9X, a high-bypass turbofan engine that boasts 304 additively manufactured parts integrated into seven multi-part structures.

  1. Why GMs Electric Future is Also An Additive Future

Production capacity isn’t the only reason that additive has been slow to make inroads into the automotive industry. There is a larger barrier to entry — one that General Motors and Autodesk are working to overcome. The bet that General Motors seems to be making is that, by the time its engineers perfect a new process flow between generative design, setup for additive manufacturing and simulation testing — a process they’re refining with Autodesk engineers who are embedded with GM — the value proposition and throughput capacity for metal AM will enable mass production.

  1. Why Additive Manufacturing Needs the Executive Perspective

Additive manufacturing is an enterprise strategy, and only the role that has a broad perspective over the enterprise is in a strong position to integrate all the benefits that might come, as well as all the ways different parts of the enterprise might have to change.

AM’s impact on the enterprise extends beyond the manufacturing floor, potentially touching everything from marketing to shipping. As such, the decision to implement additive manufacturing should come from someone with a broad view of the organization, someone who can see the potential impact across design, production, operations, accounting and company image. As this story argues, the best person for this evaluation is likely to be the CEO.

  1. Formnext 2019 Emphasizes Complete Additive Manufacturing Process Chain Well Beyond 3D Printing

Our editors went to Formnext 2019 and brought back a recap of the event. The event got bigger, the attendees grew wiser and materials, digital tools and postprocessing were prominent. The chance to choose the right material and even tailor properties is the most fundamental requirement for seeing AM realize its promise, and this has implications for the growth and direction of Formnext. Here are 10 impressions of this year’s show.

  1. AM 101: Binder Jetting

This year AM introduced a new series of articles getting back to the basics of additive. Our first AM 101 made the top ten list. Binder jetting requires no support structures, is accurate and repeatable, and is said to eliminate dimensional distortion problems common in some high-heat 3D technologies. Take a look at how binder jetting works and what benefits it holds for additive manufacturing.

  1. Production Additive Manufacturing is Arriving

3D printing is no longer limited to prototypes or tooling. AM for scale production is here. The verb tense now has to change. In the past, the staff writers of AdditiveManufacturing.Media have described how additive manufacturing will find a place as an accepted production process. Now, it is accurate to say that AM is finding and assuming this place.

  1. How Topology Optimization Could Be the Key to Longer Lasting Hip Implants

Hip stem implants must support the mechanical loads of the patient’s lifestyle, but should also avoid stress shielding. A team from Altair leveraged simulation, topology optimization and 3D printing to design an optimized hip stem that meets both conditions.

  1. What Is the Role for Additive Manufacturing in Aircraft Structural Components

AM will have fully arrived for aircraft part production when it is a solution for making structural components, but how far off is that possibility? In one sense, it is still in the distance. In another sense, it is here today.

Spirit AeroSystems, which manufactures fuselages for Boeing commercial aircraft, has recently begun installing the first titanium structural component made through additive manufacturing for the Boeing 787. Being trusted with this much importance on a commercial aircraft is an advance for AM.

  1. 8 Cool Parts From Formnext 2019: The Cool Parts Show Special Edition

As the Additive Manufacturing team covered the 2019 Formnext show, we kept our “cool parts” radar on and collected many examples. In this special edition episode of The Cool Parts Show, we share eight of the most interesting and striking parts we saw on the show floor.

  1. Video: Can 3D Printed Parts Hold Self-Tapping Screws

Production parts need fasteners. This point might seem basic, but it is a factor that will affect whether additive manufacturing can advance into significant large-scale production. In this video, Varroc Lighting Systems describes the findings of its experiments with fastening polymer 3D printed parts, specifically test pieces made of Carbon’s EPX 82 epoxy and HP’s PA12-GB nylon.

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