Making things together. It’s what humankind has done best since the very beginning. At 3D Control Systems, it’s what we’re more excited about than ever. That’s why we’re announcing our new brand and logo, unifying 3DPrinterOS,Secured 3D,and ZAP under the 3D Control Systems structure.
The way we make things together is changing. Today, manufacturing is enabled by next-generation technologies and controlled by connection and automation. The power to control, analyze and improve manufacturing processes is in our hands more than ever before. With our portfolio of brands focused on automated workflows for additive manufacturing, advanced CNC and industry 4.0, 3D Control Systems aspires to make manufacturing accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time. The simple vision of making it easy for our customers to innovate and manufacture parts.
When the time came to create our new brand and logo, we wanted most of all to connect the history of humankind’s excellence and ingenuity with the exciting things we can do today. Our new logo brings together the wheel, humankind’s fundamental invention, with the gear, calling back to the power of industry to build things that work. Lastly, our logo is built around the 3-dimensional cube, which signifies our commitment to engineering excellence in today’s world of advanced manufacturing, including industrial additive manufacturing, robotics, and CNC. You’ll get a first look at our new brand at RAPID + TCT (Sept. 13-15) at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. The transition to our new branding across our portfolio will be a gradual process.
“We aim to partner, push and lead the world of 3D printing with our technologies, concepts, and tools.”, while talking about the brand’s vision. “Connect. Integrate. Automate. These our are guiding principles and we remain committed to that path to transform benefit the future generations of 3DP users.”
We believe that making things together is humankind’s greatest challenge and purpose. Our new brand connects the power of today’s advanced manufacturing with humankind’s history of innovation and engineering. We’re excited to meet your digital workflow needs and get to work making things together with you.
3D Control Systems is the parent start’s up company of 3DPrinterOS, which revolutionized the desktop 3D printing industry with their Operating System platform introducing “one click” manufacturing. 3D Control Systems has now launched ZAP, an automated, workflow platform purpose-built for advanced manufacturing, helping customers drive efficiencies and simplification.
To learn more visit www.3dcontrolsystems.com.
Welcome back to Bockman’s Bites … now, on to the last one…
The bedrock principle of Lean Six Sigma is to reduce waste by evaluating DOWNTIME or Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-Utilized Talent, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, and Extra Processing. If you’re familiar with additive manufacturing then you know that these same principles can be applied more often than we care to admit. However, there are solutions that will lead to process improvements.
It’s important to remember the DMAIC model in Six Sigma and that’s where I start when approaching a customer who already has components of a workflow. Understanding the outcomes expected, but first baselining and process mapping the entire workflow looking for those gaps is first and foremost.
The next generation of industrialization is committed to an agile manufacturing approach. Defined by the ability to quickly respond to customer production needs, agile manufacturing embraces AM and integrates sophisticated software tools to enhance productivity. If we combine that with the Lean Six Sigma concept, then we can begin addressing immediate concerns with AM and solve problems like supply chain resiliency.
Production Planning | Having access to a centralized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution capable of organizing AM technologies and material capabilities across multiple facilities enables production specialists to quickly print parts and immediately service customer needs. Oftentimes referred to as on demand manufacturing, this process eliminates the need for warehousing and will completely transform the traditional supply chain that constantly faces logistical nightmares (tariffs, long lead times, emissions). This creates a significant opportunity for repair and spare part providers to locally produce parts for aviation, transportation and defense products that cannot afford equipment downtime.
Maximize Throughput | Data is key to improving workflows. Management Execution Systems (MES) are designed to connect, track and monitor complex systems to ensure operational efficiency and improve production output. Having an integrated software that seamlessly connects conventional manufacturing with AM enables engineering teams to quickly assess technology benefits and assign production requests using time, quality and cost metrics. With the right software, engineers can identify AM ready parts, develop cost assessments and provide complete production transparency to management. It’s a strategic communication tool that relies on data and connectivity.
Maximizing the benefits of Lean Six Sigma takes an entire organization into consideration, encompassing hardware, software, processes and people. Is one more important than another when it comes to overall productivity? Not necessarily, but I argue that a sophisticated software solution cannot be underestimated and can likely become the backbone to process improvement. Reducing waste, eliminating downtime and enhancing throughput all relies on accurate data and production transparency. Ask yourself, how are you reducing waste in your process? What type of data do you use to justify decisions?
At 3D Control Systems, we are tackling this head on and invite you to learn more about our software solutions that are addressing the problems of today and proactively preparing for ones of tomorrow.
Welcome back to Bockman’s Bites … now, on to the second one…
I’ve decided now is not the time to discuss the benefits of additive manufacturing, but rather the challenges. While additive manufacturing has evolved for the past three decades, it’s still a relatively young industry, and we are beginning to see new hardware, software and material providers pop up everyday. It’s certainly an exciting time for AM enthusiasts, but it’s cumbersome for many commercial and industrial manufacturers who wish to maximize the advantages of AM. It introduces a lot of waste (muda) into the workflow that traditional manufacturing has conquered. In my estimation, these are the biggest challenges that L6S-AM can tackle. I witnessed it many times when I was visiting customers in automotive.
Combining with Conventional Manufacturing | How can AM be complementary to existing processes? For starters, designing with AM is unique compared to subtractive manufacturing and requires a different engineering mindset. In addition, most production facilities are unwilling to completely change their processes without understanding the time, quality or cost benefits associated with AM. This lack of knowledge and confidence leads to adoption hesitancy. How is the industry addressing it today?
Contract Manufacturing or Service Bureaus | Embracing new technologies and innovation comes with careful consideration for many machine shops and production facilities. The challenge is to find a complementary approach to manufacturing that seamlessly determines which technology is the most cost effective (or time sensitive) solution depending on the part or application. This is not easy considering the subtle design differences required to maximize each technology or material. For many machine shops and contract manufacturers, this connection may not exist which leads to poor utilization or worse, lack of technical understanding of the capabilities. How are manufacturers making it easier on themselves?
US Machine shops are oftentimes family owned businesses that have organically grown and adopted technologies as the business expands. They may have CNC, injection molding, tooling, sand casting, and additive manufacturing capabilities under one roof. A recent report suggests that 26% of major OEMs are already outsourcing parts to a contract manufacturer/service bureau and expect that number to increase year-over-year due to a variety of reasons. Machine shops are looking for a way to reduce the additive manufacturing process which tends to be super manual and labor intensive. Not to mention, contract manufacturers are without a software solution that can connect all the technologies which leads to cumbersome production, missed timelines or duplicated efforts. The anticipated growth forces many machine shops to identify a software platform that allows them to digitally view the production floor, assign projects, and proactively identify problems (failed builds, predictive maintenance, equipment downtime). Having an integrated software that aggregates data from these production processes will enable engineers to determine a cost/time analysis and get parts out the door faster and cheaper. The competition isn’t waiting, why should you?
Check back in next week to see how the L6S-AM is affecting the automotive and aviation industries.
Leveraging Equipment & Technical Expertise | Companies with multiple prototyping or production facilities are oftentimes handcuffed when it comes to optimizing technology capabilities. This is common for major OEM’s in aerospace, automotive and defense sectors that do not have access to partner facilities located in the US or elsewhere. We are beginning to see more OEM’s create AM Centers of Excellence, but it remains challenging for the entire organization to leverage resources and plan accordingly. L6S-AM is an important consideration because the bottlenecks associated with poor planning will result in wasteful spending or worse. Additive manufacturing machinery, like any major capital equipment expenditure—has a shelf life, and downtime is unacceptable.
Automotive & Aviation | Automotive and aviation manufacturers are notorious for having multiple production and final assembly plants strategically located throughout the globe. The technology at each site varies depending on a variety of reasons (expertise, access, proximity, etc.) but the glaring challenge is to leverage the right technology, for the right application, that provides maximum value to the organization. Too often, the different facilities do not communicate well enough and are completely blind to what is available for resources. There is no singular language or software platform that can seamlessly connect the departments and accurately monitor equipment or material inventory in real-time. Simply put, it’s a lack of resource utilization.
AM was originally destined to be a prototyping tool so OEMs never implemented lean practices that would enable the technology to be a true manufacturing alternative. While AM is revolutionary, many manufacturers are losing precision cycle time just waiting between queues.
Lufthansa Technik, a major supplier of maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services partnered with Oerlikon AM in 2018 to establish an AM Center dedicated to advancing the technology. The ability to produce one-off spare parts will cut costs significantly and improve lead times. Other manufacturers are adopting a similar strategy and beginning to centralize AM expertise while continuing to decentralize hardware capabilities, enabling on demand and localized production. With countless SKU’s, design standards, and testing data, it becomes challenging to aggregate this information for actionable purposes. Having an integrated software that combines data with production transparency will ultimately lead to better planning and less downtime.
Check back in next week to see how L6S-AM is affecting the medical market.
Data Transparency | AM introduces so many new technologies, materials, post processing requirements, pricing models and design considerations that it becomes dizzying. Not to mention, the industrial infancy of AM is a key contributor to the lack of standards available within the marketplace. How can engineers, scientists, doctors, and researchers maximize additive manufacturing without a proper execution system in place that can track, aggregate and monitor so many valuable data inputs? Without data or worse, inaccurate data, management is completely blind and unable to make process improvements. The medical market, well-known for its strict standards, embraces additive manufacturing but is still learning how to optimize it. Can a L6S approach help streamline additive manufacturing processes and improve efficiency?
AM has been tremendously beneficial to the development of personalized patient healthcare options. Custom treatments, prosthetics, surgery solutions, implants and more are now possible with additive manufacturing. However, implementing AM into a hospital setting compounds the challenge that already exists, too much data. Combining large, digital patient data with AM is a nightmare for most doctors and physicians. It’s cumbersome, complicated and inefficient.
Trim the fat. Cut your losses. Eliminate Muda.
I am writing a short series of bites about the importance of implementing Lean Six Sigma methodology in Additive Manufacturing. It not only drives efficiencies and increase output, but it can improve quality levels as well.
I will open up the first bite with the background of what L6S is in traditional manufacturing and some of my experience.
Bite I : What is Lean Six Sigma and AM Combined?
Continuous improvements for any department of an organization are paramount to the successful growth and adaptation of a business. In our hyper competitive commercial and industrial marketplace there is no excuse for downtime, so what steps are you taking today to maximize organizational or production efficiency?
Lean Six Sigma is a managerial concept born from the combination of lean manufacturing and Six Sigma aimed to identify operational weaknesses, expose variation and make adjustments for continuous improvements. While each concept was used separately during the 1980’s and 90’s primarily for automotive and electronics manufacturing, it became a joint idea during the early 2000’s and has since transformed manufacturing. With the ultimate intention to identify weaknesses and improve operational efficiency, Lean Six Sigma has become a significant tool across many different industries and professions. In my own experience at General Electric, L6S was a part of our culture, our DNA. I had the privilege to work with a Lean Sensei, who helped us learn and apply methodologies in our manufacturing plants. We made real improvements by identifying ways to remove unnecessary steps in our workflow and eliminate muda (waste). With my knowledge of Lean Six Sigma and a decade of implementation experience, I’m turning my sights towards additive manufacturing. What needs to be done in order to fully optimize AM and the future of manufacturing? Can L6S work in additive manufacturing?
The additive manufacturing (AM) industry is relatively young. However, there are countless hardware, software, technology and material companies popping up everyday and making significant impacts. For reference, the AM market is expected to exceed $20 billion by 2023. Alternatively, the CNC market was valued at approximately $7.87 billion in 2020, further indicating that AM is certainly here to stay. But we haven’t figured out all the kinks yet.
L6S is about efficiency. AM has already proven itself as a viable prototyping and production unit but what steps can be taken to truly maximize utilization? While 3D printing is a revolutionary piece of hardware technology, the brains and machine connectivity within a machine shop or manufacturing space is average at best. Smart manufacturing relies on actionable information collected through key data points and must be driven by intelligent systems. For example, contract manufacturing service providers in the US have grown significantly and are desperate for a software platform that allows them to digitally view the production floor, assign projects, and proactively identify problems (failed builds, predictive maintenance, equipment downtime). Simply put, how can we make additive manufacturing smarter? Check back in next week for our next installment of L6S-AM when we address the challenge of combining conventional manufacturing methods and what that means for certain industries.
Feel free to share comments, your experience and where you think it’s headed.
Duke University is home to one of the largest 3D printing networks in US academia. Over 120 3D printers are accessible by an entire student body enabling the prototyping and production of countless ideas and inventions. Applications vary with interest but it ranges from anywhere between entrepreneurial engineering to architectural modeling and beyond. Duke’s Fab-Lab has found a way to democratize 3D printing by adopting cutting edge hardware technologies and combining it with sophisticated workflow software solutions that make 3D printing simple and approachable for all academic disciplines in their campus. We sat down with Chip Bobbert, CoLab Architect and Senior Technologist, to learn more on how they are managing their 3D printing network maker spaces.
Bobbert, former Command Center Specialist for the US Marine Corps, began working at Duke University in 2013 after spending two decades as a media technology engineer. His experience in conventional machining, media technology, 3D printing and education drives his ability to manage and improve the Duke CoLab.
What is so special about the Duke 3D printing network? “Duke is a geographically large campus, approximately 3,500 developed acres. We have three maker spaces, consisting of approximately 80 printers, while our sister labs are assigned to specific programs located in multiple locations. With over 120 total printers on campus, we have found a way to simplify 3D printing and enable access to over 2,500 students year-over-year. Our maker spaces are predominantly filled with a range of Ultimaker 3D printers and our collective network is powered by 3D Control Systems’, 3DPrinterOS software solution. These complementary technologies enable Duke students from any discipline to access the printer network and build parts.”
What are the challenges with having such a vast printer network? “First, we needed to determine how the program itself would work — would students pay for parts? What does scheduling look like? How would we manage it? Having printers located throughout campus is great but we quickly realized that a middleware management software system would allow us to delegate rights to users and manage the flow of files from a centralized platform. We were shocked to find that not many software options like this existed, considering that there are countless 3D printers on the market, we thought this was rare.
Of course, the platform needs to function properly but we require an identity management capability that allows us to authenticate users from anywhere and be monitored from one location.”
How did Duke solve this challenge and what does access look like today? “After searching for a software platform and even creating our own, we decided to try 3DPrinterOS. The printer management functionality is good but the real benefit is user management. There are thousands of unique users every year so we need software that would integrate into our system and accommodate that type of turnover. Let’s face it, designing for 3D printing can be complex but the printers themselves are typically low IQ systems that require a boost for ultimate connectivity and user optimization. 3DPrinterOS helps us accomplish that and now, we are expanding access to 3D printing way beyond the engineering department. Inventioning is possible for designers, architects, sculptures, artists and more.”
What is the future of 3D printing at Duke? “Convenience is key. How can we make 3D printing as simple and easy as 2D printing? The software platform is a powerful tool that democratizes access to the 3D printer network but we need to get closer to printing something with a single click of a button. Nobody cares about the printer, they care about their designs and parts. As a 3D printer evangelist, I understand this and believe that if we continue to simplify the process then it will become much more convenient and accessible. 3D printing has the ability to unlock so many new opportunities for bespoke manufacturing, medical applications, and beyond. I want non-engineers, scientists, doctors, and anyone else to have the ability to get parts in hand.”
Learn more about Duke University, Ultimaker, and 3D Control Systems’ 3DPrinterOS platform for managing makerspaces.
After receiving users feedback, 3DPrinterOS sports a fresh, new design that looks even more professional and user friendly. We’ve reorganized information in a clearer format, updated the color palette, and designed processes that use fewer clicks. The ultimate goal for 3DPrinterOS is to give a superior customer experience.
What we’ve improved
We’ve used cutting-edge technologies to decrease page loading speeds by more than three times which helps our customers innovate faster! Our aspiration is to continue to be the #1 3Dprinter management platform in the industry.
Our main focus is to keep the core functionality consistent, while giving the platform a cleaner look. We’ve decreased the number of buttons significantly, which will streamline your workflow.
We’ve also developed a smart system for choosing the right slicer for your 3D printer. The system will now know which slicer you’ll need, based on your current 3D printers and the last used application (Magic Fix or STL Editor).
We’re also happy to announce the Analyze feature in the STL Editor (Layout). This will help you analyze if the model’s first layer is touching the build plate, if supports are needed, infill recommendations and if there are any mesh holes.
You can now toggle ‘’Show hosts’’ in the Printers tab. This will help you by clearing the extra information from your screen, when it’s necessary.
Go check out the new experience and don’t forget to leave us feedback through the snippet on the right side of the screen.
Here’s some feedback from one of our longtime customers Chip Bobbert, the Digital Fabrication Architect at Duke University:
‘‘It’s extremely important to our lab and the industry at large that 3D printing be easy and accessible. The new 3DprinterOS user interface simplifies access and removes clutter. Users can now access printing resources with fewer steps.”
If you have any questions on how to run your organization like Harvard, Columbia University or Google does on 3DPrinterOS, then feel free to reach out to us from HERE.
3DPrinterOS, a 3D Control Systems Solution
Part of the fun in building 3DPrinterOS is testing our 3D Printer operating system with the many printers available in the world. Even though we are around a wide variety of 3D Printers every day, we still get excited every time a new one makes it into the office and gets tested.
Aaron picked up a MakerBot Replicator 2 yesterday and documented the unboxing to printing process at his home in New York.
1518 Pershing Drive,
APT F, CA 94129,
San Francisco, USA
49 Wyckoff Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11237, USA
Mektory Innovation Center building
Raja 15 , Tallinn,