Tag Archives: product design

IBM Sees Exponential Growth of 3D Printing Industry

Paul Brody IBM 3D Printing

More than just a tool, 3D printing is an emerging ecosystem.
– Paul Brody, IBM on the exponential growth of the 3D printing industry

At the Siemens Global Innovation Summit in Phoenix, IBM’s Paul Brody gave a look at how manufacturing transformation is changing the traditional rules of product design and development.

Brody highlighted 3 technologies: 3D printing, intelligent robotics, and open-source engineering.

On 3D printing, he discussed key trends:

  • 3D printing is rapidly achieving levels of performance required to be production-ready
  • 3D printing is already used in production for medical devices and aerospace
  • Performance is improving year on year
  • At lower volumes, unit costs are competitive with machining and plastic injection molding

He also dove into trends on open-source and crowdsourcing, asserting that 80% of consumers told IBM they are willing to help enterprises develop their products. Brody claimed, “Accept their help or see them build your competition on Kickstarter.”

IBM had partnered with The Economist to analyze the growth rate of open-source design repositories, namely Thingiverse, and found that the number of 3D printable items is on an exponential upwards path while complexity as measured by number of parts is on a steady increase.

IBM 3D Printing Exponential Growth

Paul Brody’s full talk is embedded below and more research from IBM is available here.

Demonstrating the Versatility and Variety of 3D Printing [Video]

We know that 3D printing can be used to manufacture a variety of different goods, but until now we have not seen the range of items that can be born out of a single printer.

In the video below, Objet’s Sam Green showcases his collection of favorite 3D printed objects. These include:

  • Single material printing of complex finished assemblies
  • Multi-material 3D printing
  • Combinations of rigid materials for art pieces and product design
  • Combinations of rigid and rubber-like materials for household tools
  • ABS grade engineering plastic for performance

I personally like the intricately designed snake skeleton and gear designs. Since the objects are printed fully assembled, there are no seams or joins but still very complex moving parts.

From Sam Green:

In short, inkjet-based 3D printing is the only technology that can really simulate the true look, feeland function of complex assembled goods. And this is thanks to the wide variety of materials and the inkjet process itself – which can simultaneously jet different materials from the separate inkjet head nozzles. This enables you to combine materials to create different color shadesdifferent Shore A values and even simulate engineering plastic durability. It also allows you to selectively place different materials within a single model.

Via Objet