One of the few favorable effects of the current viral outbreak on the additive manufacturing industry may be an increased drive toward implementing automated digital manufacturing processes. Running with the times, Dutch 3D printing service Oceanz 3D Printing, one of the leading 3D Printing service providers in the Netherlands, and AM-FLOW, a specialist supplier of end-to-end technology for the Additive Manufacturing industry, are partnering to develop fully automated AM production line solutions.
3D printing, or Additive Manufacturing (AM), is currently adopted and utilized across a broad spectrum of industries. The technology has developed beyond just a prototyping technology into a viable large-scale production technology as well. 3D CAD design and the 3D printing process are completely digitized, but after the 3D printing process itself, everything currently goes back to analog and manual labor: cleaning, identification, sorting and quality assessments.
Financed by the Dutch funding organization, MKB-Innovatiestimulering Regio & Topsectoren (MIT), AM-FLOW and Oceanz aim to make the first steps of many towards Industry 4.0. in Additive Manufacturing.
“Just like other 3D print service providers, several post-processing steps are done manually at Oceanz. The increase in costs and lead times due to these manual steps has made us realize the necessity to develop and apply new technologies, such as automatic identification, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. We have opened up our production facility as a ‘living lab’ to develop these technologies. This partnership is unique and necessary to optimize post-production processes in terms of quality and speed”, according to Erik van der Garde, CEO Oceanz 3D printing
AM-FLOW and Oceanz will focus on automating various 3D printing post-production steps and, thus, strengthen 3D printing’s competitive position towards existing traditional production technologies.
“Now is the time that Additive Manufacturing becomes a serious alternative for traditional mass-production methods. To achieve this, we have to create a fully digital workflow and minimize manual processes. With our AM-FLOW technology, we are able to offer this end-to-end digital industrialization,” said Stefan Rink, CEO AM-FLOW.