Stratasys Blog

Skate Where the Puck is Going: Toward Additive Manufacturing

Matt Hlavin of Thogus standing in front of a Stratasys built Fortus 900 production systemLast week Gardner Publishing, launched “Additive Manufacturing,” a quarterly supplement to Modern Machine Shop and its sister publication, MoldMaking Technology. A surprising move, since these publications are aimed at CNC and mold-making facility leaders.

By recalling hockey legend Wayne Gretsky’s secret to success, Senior Editor, Peter Zelinski explains why Gardner launched the publication. Gretsky said his secret was to skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been. It involves “seeing the motion of the game and forecasting where it will lead,” says Zelinski. “In manufacturing, the motion looks like this: “Engineers will demand increasingly complex parts in quantities smaller than mass production. Meanwhile, material costs will keep rising so that “subtracted” material (i.e. chips)…will increasingly be seen as an expense.” Zelinski asserts that these “trends favor additive manufacturing and suggest that additive processes are set to start seeing wider use.”

To illustrate the trend, the publication profiles injection molder Thogus and shows the many ways it benefits from additive manufacturing:

1. Supplying a model for the customer bidding process
2. Manufacturing short-run production parts
3. Creating plastic molds for medium length production runs
4. Making 5S shadowboards
5. Rapid prototyping
6. Producing custom end-of-arm tooling for robotic loaders
7. Making custom manufacturing tools, like jigs and fixtures

Few manufacturing tools are so flexible and can bring so many benefits.

View the entire cover story, Redefining Plastics Manufacturing.

Joe Hiemenz

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