Industry\'s Amazing Instant Prototypes Turning computerized designs into solid objects--even salable products--takes just the press of a button.
( Fortune magazine) -Since the beginning of the 19 th century modern manufacturing industry, the biggest delay in bringing new products to the market is the industrial counterpart of the astronomical black hole-the so- Known as a manufacturing center, unpredictable time and money will disappear. We live in a digital age, durable products from mobile phones to cars. CAD for engine parts creation (computer-aided design). But with the exception of some simple metal objects, these designs can hardly immediately become three By feeding three-dimensional objects, for example, those other digital miracles, CNC ( Computer numerical control)machine tools. Most of the metal and plastic products and parts are not processed at all, but are cast and stamped by thousands of people. Before the company spends a lot of tools --- Make the necessary mold- They craft prototypes of clay, wood, plastic or other materials. This information is passed on to the design team, marketers, and even the consumer focus group to identify defects and get comments. Some prototypes must be strong enough to be tested as components inside the engine. Once the design is completed, the manufacturer will adopt a die-making process as cumbersome as wax casting, which can be traced back to ancient Egyptians and Chinese people who use it to make jewelry and weapons. The middle stage can be swallowed up for a few years. But the manufacturing capabilities of Star Trek\'s warp drive are beginning to emerge, which will allow the company to bridge the black hole. Look at the complicated pollution. Two young entrepreneurs in the photo showed the control filters of the industrial plant. The filter is made of a ceramic made directly from CAD drawings using a machine similar to ink injection in a computer printer. This machine can deposit a liquid adhesive on a powder ceramic layer to produce a variety of shapes, not ink. There are no hand-made prototypes here, and there are no slow and expensive tools. Goodbye to ancient Egyptians and Chinese! So far, according to the specific surface of Franklin, the quality is impossible to make the filter. It is extraordinary in another way. Their complex internal structures are layered and cannot be manufactured by conventional methods such as molding or processing. The internal surface area of the filter is eight times that of the old type, and the version designed for the power company is ten times more efficient in removing particles from the chimney gas of coal than the old type Burning power plant The first batch of filters will soon be installed in two companies in the South. Located near Birmingham, Alabama. Because the way filters are made eliminates all the steps between CAD drawing and production, they are fast- Rapid prototyping technology, or RP for short. Sales of RP machines and related services increased by 43% in 1997 to $0. 615 billion, estimates Terry Wohlers, RP master and head of Wohlers Associates, a research firm in Fort Collins, Colorado. The RP is like a kangaroo bag with babies in it, and it also contains a smaller but exciting new technology called Rapid Manufacturing, which seems destined for its huge growth. When RP machines make shapes that are not just models, but end products that can be sold, such as those filters, the machines take on the added role of rapid manufacturing. In another rapid-manufacturing version that has sprung up, the RP machine has quickly produced molds, providing a shortcut to mass production. The RP has saved the company millions of dollars in its main role: rushing to make models of proposed products and parts. From Detroit automakers to small design stores, big and small companies are enthusiastic users of RP machines, ranging from $50,000 to $500,000. One of the biggest fans of rapid prototyping is Thomas solowett, head of the Detroit Chrysler RP lab. To narrow down the design part of making black holes, sorovets\'s lab lets ten RP machines run unattended around the clock. They produce 3,000 various types of objects each year, from the dashboard to the transmission to the intake manifold located at the top of the car\'s engine. The intake manifold, shaped like an octopus, can be made of transparent plastic in four to eight days. The old method of bending and welding steel pipes took up to three months. At 3 m, RP is used to make product prototypes and working parts for 3 m own production machines. Prototypes include countless products from respirator masks to tape dispensers. Says Marge Hartfel, senior engineer at St\'s rapid prototyping center. Paul: \"Almost every project invested in 3 m is affected by RP. \"RP saves thousands or even millions of dollars on a project, which is common in 3 m and other companies. The prototype converts CAD drawings into solid objects in several ways. However, all technologies have something in common. The computer converts the CAD image to 3- D. objects that can be made of plastic, starch, powder ceramics or metal or paper. In most RP machines, these layers are shaped by lasers. Like inventions, one\'s impatience is a driving force for the rapid prototyping industry, which is now only a decade old. Its father, Charles W. Hull, 58, remains Vice Chairman and CTO at RP, who helped create 3D Systems in Valencia, California, in 1986. As an engineer, it takes a long time to make a plastic prototype model and the hull has been plagued. They had to be processed by hand, he recalls. If more than one is needed- In general, in the industry-- Molds for the manufacture of plastic prototypes must be processed separately. The cornerstone of a better system is nearby. Hull has been working in a small company that uses UV lamps to harden photosensitive plastic coatings on glass and other objects. One of his insights is to replace the UV lamp with a laser. Hull recalled: \"But the speed of bringing this insight to a practical machine is slow, and it takes a few years for Edison -- The style of sweat. This is the first prototype launched by 3D Systems in 1987. It can make small and transparent plastic parts from CAD drawings in a few hours or at most days. The machine builds the model layer by layer from bottom up. A laser that, when the molecules of the photosensitive liquid resin hit them, causes them to melt and compete above a container filled with resin. The laser first tracks the profile of a layer on the surface of the resin. Next, just like an artist coloring the panel in a pencil drawing, the beam folds the entire contour area to harden it. The platform supporting the model then sinks, so the layer is barely covered with liquid resin, and the laser will solidify another layer on it, and so on. When the translucent object is finished, it rises from the bucket and drops down like a mermaid who has just emerged from the sea. Hull referred to the process as stereo printing, but it still dominates RP. Resin is--and still are-- Very expensive: the price of a gallon of acrylic solidified liquid is about $750. However, in such an era, the industry\'s desire for prototypes is so great. Paid craftsmen who are able to make it by hand are shrinking and time to market is king, and designers are happy to get the first RP machine at any price. The 3D system has grown to $80. million-a- There are still no annual listed companies. So far, in this field. Soon, other inventors jumped in. Russian immigration engineer Michael Feygin has come up with the idea of making prototypes with cheap paper. His company, Helisys, Torrance, California To make very solid objects through a process called lamination Object manufacturing. A blue CO2 laser tracks each layer by burning, like a crazy ice dancer carving a turn here, where it\'s a straight line. The continuous layer is bonded by adhesive. Helisys\'s machine imitates the car\'s steering wheel, bumper, and other shapes that feel like wood for $12. million-a- Listed companies. At the same time, a group of MIT inventors, led by Emanuel Sachs, were angry that the RP industry could not make prototypes and molds and produce parts, from ceramics and metals. Early RP machines could only make metal prototypes in a roundabout way. First of all, a plastic model must be \"invested\" or in the heat- Wear-resistant materials such as ceramics. The model is then melted \"sacrifice\", just as the ancient Egyptians melted a wax model in the mold, clearing the way for bronze casting. This leaves a mold suitable for making a prototype of metal or plastic. Sachs asked, why not skip this stage and make solid parts directly from CAD design? He and his 30- The MIT personal store has become the leader of the RP branch, which is based on the same technology, and by spraying ink, computer printers are able to produce documents. RP machines are licensed to use MIT\'s approach, not ink, but to spray adhesives on powdered steel, ceramics and even starch layers that are spread through rollers The machine that Saks\'s idea was born is called 3- D printer is quite cheap and low price according to RP standard Final version within $50,000. The bigger 3- The D printer is only now achieving the goal of sach to manufacture commercially available metal objects and molds directly from CAD design. Soligan, northern ridge, California The company, founded in 1992 by foreign Israeli engineer Yehoram Uziel, developed ink under the permission of MIT The jet machine used to make these ceramic filters is more than the surface. On its machine, Soligen also manufactures ceramic molds directly from CAD drawings, suitable for casting as strong as metal automotive parts used in commercial products, suitable for testing and small production operations. NEEDED: LONG- There are still limitations in the process of Soligen. Ceramic molds are made in one piece and can only be used once because they must be destroyed in order to get the parts. But Soligen can make a lot of molds quickly as needed. Many RP users are eager to go further and want to quickly create molds that can be used repeatedly for mass production. This will bypass the traditional process and further reduce the size of the manufacturing industry. The long lasting mold is from a piece of high Grading the steel with CNC and other machines and then doing it by hand can take months. Quickly make reusable molds and put RP directly into the quick Manufacturing has begun to emerge. When Leb\'s office product was shot, Tennessee. In 1996, an urgent order was received from the office staples. Product chain, for a small plastic rack with paper placed vertically, Rubbermaid went to the RP Service Bureau in Dallas, where there was a machine made by DTM in Austin, Texas. The ten-year- The abbreviation of the old company stands for \"desktop manufacturing\", which develops a sintering process that heats loose compacted plastic particles by laser, combined with a layer by layer of powdered steel, become a solid mass. The DTM machine quickly produced a metal mold from which Rubbermaid can make more than 30,000 plastic brackets for Staples for $3. Jeff Smith said Moritz, editor of the fast prototype report for the San Diego newsletter: \"While it doesn\'t look very impressive, this product is a pioneer. More and more molds do this. \"In the purest form, rapid manufacturing will destroy the mold: The machine will spit out the product directly from the CAD design. Extrusion grinding, a company in Irvine, Pa. Ready to launch a machine based on MIT ink Not only can metal molds be made, but also metal parts that can be sold. In The Machine of Extrude Hone, powder steel is hardened with adhesive and infiltrated with bronze powder to form a material of 100% metal. Manufacturing intensive and powerful new lasers may also open the door for direct manufacturing. National laboratories such as Sandia and Los Alamos, as well as the University of Michigan, Penn State and elsewhere, are exploring this laser system. They may be available commercially soon. In the Sandia system, a 1,000- Watt nd (yttrium-aluminum-gallium) Laser Melting of powder materials such as stainless steel and tool steel, magnetic alloy, Nickel Titanium and tungsten in the layer to produce the final part. The process is slow: make one or three hourscubic-inch object. But this part is as tight as it is made in traditional methods. Vice President Robert J Sandia Egan said researchers at the Lab wanted to see the process of manufacturing replacement parts for nuclear weapons stored by the military. Business interests are also high. Ten companies, including United signals and Lockheed Martin, are participating in the plan. Another 20 companies support research at Penn State University, which aims to make large objects such as tank turrets and parts of aircraft. Some experts are looking forward to the future of manufacturing and are widely liberated from today\'s noisy and hot daily life. These visionaries foresee a row of laser-made parts, not molds and machine tools. There is no CNC machine that can be carved, and the silent ceramic parts manufacturer replaces the traditional factory din. Many products produced in future factories can take advantage of the advantages of rapid production Manufacturing Technology. Implantable drugs Release device, drug seal, can be made in one operation because 3- The printer can make sandwiches. like product. The manufacturing pioneer has discovered this fascinating possibility. \"What we can get the Navy ships to carry is not the parts list, but the digital images on the 3 Th. 5- 3-said: \"inch floppy disk, plus a bag of powder metal and a fast manufacturing machine I\'m Maggie harfetel. Brock Hinzmann, director of technical evaluation at SRI International, added: \"In two or three years everyone will see rapid manufacturing. \"At the same time, the feat of rapid prototyping gives people in factories a lot to talk about.