AMUG2015 – Best in Show
Kyle Maxey posted on May 06, 2015 |
With AMUG 2015 in the rear view mirror it's time to take a look at the speakers and techs that wowed...
So it’s been a few weeks since AMUG2015 wrapped up, and I’ve been thinking about the talks and technology that were most engaging and potentially transformative. While AMUG is definitely a conference that promotes networking, and learning about the additive manufacturing from people who use the technology on an everyday basis, there are also some very interesting talks that spark the imagination and fuel new ideas. So without further ado, here are the five best things I saw at AMUG2015.

1.  Neil Hopkinson and High-Speed Laser Sintering

We all know that if AM is to truly make its mark in the manufacturing landscape, it’s going to need to be able to compete with injection molding and casting. While new technologies like CLIP are making that look possible for SLA (at least on a small part scale), the University of Sheffield’s Neil Hopkinson is forging another path with his high-speed laser sintering systems.

In a brief 30-minute talk, Prof. Hopkinson wowed a packed room with the speed at which his machines can build parts, and their potential to scale to production-grade printers. If these machines ever make it to market in a fully-refined form, they might just rival traditional plastic manufacturing for many applications.

2. Ed Herderick of GE

Ed Herderick is a self-proclaimed AM evangelist at GE. But aside from his title he’s also one of the most thoroughly knowledgeable people that I heard speak when it comes to using AM effectively within a large corporation. 

Surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges that AM is facing today isn't its capabilities, it's actually figuring out how to successfully integrate AM into a large corporate structure. Guys like Ed (and many others at AMUG) are at the forefront of solving this problem. Next year, whenever he’s speaking, I’ll be there to listen.

3. Andrew Graves on Running a Service Bureau

From my experience alone, I can tell you that running one or two systems in an AM lab isn’t all that difficult. However, if you’re going to run a massive, in-house prototyping lab you’re going to have to find some way to manage and maintain your machines while also doing print QA reviews.

Andrew Graves helps runs one of Solid Concepts’ facilities and keeps more than 30 machines alive and kicking as they churn out parts on a nearly 24-hour basis. His insight into how to best manage machines is outstanding.

4. The Promise of HP’s New System

Everyone attending this year’s conference was wondering whether HP would actually show off their new machine, or at least give us a sneak peak this year. Unfortunately, no machine showed. However, that didn’t really dampen my feelings about the tech giant’s new machine as HP showed off many impressive models that were both high res and also contained extremely small features.

During HP’s talk about their Multi Jet Fusion process they mentioned a number of things that piqued my interest. Most impressive was the ambition with which HP is pursuing this project. While its first iteration will be a grayscale machine, color printing will follow soon thereafter. But once you get past color, HP’s vision becomes very interesting and includes the notion that within a short while Multi Jet Fusion might be able to print materials that have complex surface finishes, user-definable strength and even electrically conductive properties. 

5. Yves Hagedorn on Laser Sintering of Metal Parts

You really don’t know anything about laser sintering until you have a laser-studying PhD like Yves Hagedorn throw down some knowledge. Yves was kind enough to walk the showroom floor with me and we stopped at a Concept Laser machine that he had to know more about. 

Yves was more than happy to explain all of the inner workings of Concept Laser’s machine in detail, but he even gave me a heap of insight into the actual physics that are going on when a laser builds a part. To me, that conversation was eye opening and incredibly valuable.

If you weren't at AMUG this year, but you’re using additive manufacturing at your company (or even if you’re thinking about using it), this conference should be on your to-do list. In my opinion it might be one of the most important events of the year. I’ve been twice now, and I feel that I have an even deeper knowledge of how to maximize AM’s potential than I did before.

My last words: Attend AMUG2016

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