October 4 is a US Annual National Manufacturing Day, when manufacturers and industry groups recognize both the importance of manufacturing to the present United States economy and the possibilities and promise of the future.
We’re happy to take a minute to recognize the ingenuity and hard work of America’s manufacturers. As the celebration continues, we know that additive manufacturing has an increasing role to play in the factories and production facilities of the brands we love and depend on. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) is funding projects that will bring 3D printing to manufacturers of all sizes.
“Additive manufacturing technology is becoming more and more accessible, and poised to usher in an era of new opportunity for manufacturers in the U.S.,” says Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “Manufacturing is at the center of our national conversation, and it is innovation and technological advancement that will keep it there.”
Stratasys is proud to be a part of this national conversation as it relates to additive manufacturing. The changes to design, prototyping, production of end-use parts, and the supply chain due to 3D printing have made a big impact in the past two decades. These transformations to how the United States manufactures products has caught the attention of the National Association of Manufacturers and leading producers in the automotive, aerospace, consumer products, defense, education and biomedical fields.
“Additive manufacturing or 3D printing can fundamentally change many aspects of the manufacturing process,” explains Stratasys CEO David Reis. “It brings new agility and efficiency and can help manufacturers keep production at home.”
Additive manufacturing fits the needs of businesses both large and small, using materials that are familiar and necessary to manufacturers, such as thermoplastics. As 3D printing becomes more popular and affordable, the expectation is that more manufacturers will adopt its use. In addition to creating new ways to design and make products, 3D printing technology will “complement how a good portion of manufacturers are delivering products to market in a more efficient and customized way,” says Jon Cobb, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing at Stratasys.
The Future is In Our Stars
Where is the future of design and production for manufacturing? It starts in the schools. Capturing students’ imagination with the potential of 3D printing and then teaching them the necessary skills, such as CAD, will create even more opportunities for additive manufacturing growth. Stratasys is involved with education programs such as STARBASE, which uses aerospace as an exciting vehicle to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) education to young learners.
For the tenth consecutive year, Stratasys is sponsoring the Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge. Students ranging from middle school to graduate school have the opportunity to reimagine and reshape a product for the better using additive manufacturing. This contest highlights the connections between creativity, engineering, product design and 3D printing.
Looking ahead, 3D printing can also help level the playing field for smaller manufacturers. "Small and midsize businesses may use 3D printers as a way to create more efficient production processes and reduce the associated heavy investment in capital equipment to more effectively compete with larger manufacturers in their industries,” concludes Jon Cobb.
On the US National Manufacturing Day, Stratasys is honored to acknowledge the achievements of the past while strengthening our efforts for the next generation of manufacturing innovation.