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Producing Customer-Ready Parts: Navigating the Leap from Prototyping to Production

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As the additive manufacturing industry grows, most attention is placed on the 3D printers’ performance to support the move to production environments, including print speed, capacity, quality and repeatability. However, the goal to complete a final part that meets a customer’s requirements necessitates looking beyond the print step into post-printing processes. These critical end-stage steps are often both an afterthought and a bottleneck in a company’s goal to achieve replicable, customer-ready parts. At volumes growing from tens per week to thousands per week, methods used at a prototyping stage are not likely to be sustainable in production environments. Additionally, in a production environment, improvement factors beyond simply increasing throughput must be considered, including the use of automation, software platforms, robotics and more.  This presentation will use data from the first-ever “State of 3D Post-Printing” survey to explore today’s post-printing landscape, including opportunities and challenges and frame how these obstacles will impact a company’s ability to successfully scale up to production-level volumes. A real-world case study will be presented to illustrate bottlenecks often seen when moving to volume production and introduce approaches to address the transition from prototyping to production post-print workflow.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe how the existing post-printing workflow even at prototyping volumes is less than ideal and how it can be improved
  • Gain an understanding of methods and approaches to post-printing that will allow for efficient scale up to production volumes
  • Learn from the successful application in a case study example of automation technologies applied to the post-printing step
  • Jeff Mize
    CEO
    PostProcess Technologies Inc.