If you truly love making things, then you also love making things in the best way possible to achieve desired results. This inherently means learning new methods, studying them, and becoming proficient in them. In turn, making things not just a better way – but the BEST way.
Two years ago, Stratasys entered into a partnership with Boom Supersonic – the Colorado-based company building what’s expected to be history’s fastest supersonic airliner. Their XB-1 is planning to hit the skies in mid-2020.
I have had the privilege of watching with amazement as Boom incorporated Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) into the normal everyday toolkit. Boom has done this faster than any other aerospace company I’ve worked with. You could argue they’re a small company and agile when incorporating new technology, a luxury many companies don’t have. But this is not it.
Boom was founded on the principle of making something better. It’s not to be innovative, it’s not to be rule-breakers or pioneers – it’s to take a collection of all the better ways of manufacturing and putting them together to build the best supersonic commercial transport aircraft.
Signing a seven-year production-focused extension with Boom is a compliment to Stratasys that cannot go unnoticed. The design and manufacturing teams are not experimenting, they are building. The entire Stratasys team supporting this partnership is beyond excited to work with Boom on upcoming technical development projects – all of which focus on putting the proven Stratasys F900 AIS to work.
So, what’s different about how Boom accelerated their use of additive?
First, Boom doesn’t treat FDM as a special project. It is treated as a potential solution – subject to the same considerations as other technologies to meet requirements, cost and schedule. When printing a part is a better way of manufacturing a geometry, it gets 3D printed.
Second, Boom took the time upfront to get comfortable with the technology by pushing it, failing with it, and succeeding with it. They learned additive in action on the production floor, transparent to anyone in their hanger. Boom gave widespread access to use 3D printers and demanded teams work smarter; and if that meant using the Stratasys F370 or F450 3D Printers to get something done, then they did it.
Third, they’re staying focused on the primary goal – finding and focusing on all the ways to manufacture a better aircraft.
What is your organization’s goal? If you’re struggling to get additive incorporated, my advice would be to stop focusing on additive and start focusing on doings things better.
Spend some time getting educated on the capabilities of additive, and then move forward with the best solution.
This process will likely bring you to additive – and to Stratasys…But only when it’s appropriate to do so.
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