"We’re not going to see design for additive or scale of a lot of manufacturing technologies until the platforms are reliable enough to become trusted."
A group of engineers walk into an additive manufacturing (AM) trade show.
Through their work in the semiconductor space, they’re used to scale, speed, accuracy, and options. Five to ten years ago, they leave disappointed.
And then, at another conference, they get talking to a company working to bring better performing materials to the additive market, one backing extrusion technology since it is deemed to best retain the properties of polymer chemistry. They share the same gripe, that extrusion AM technology, as it is, can’t perform to the levels required in the most demanding manufacturing environments.
“As we looked at the marketplace for printers, when we did a survey of the extrusion machines out there that could address the factory floor, there was nothing. I mean nothing,” Blake Teipel, CEO and co-founder of Essentium, reckoned. “When our guys walked around at AMUG two, three years ago, most of the printers to them didn’t even look like they were on. They were moving, laying down material, and they would go up to them and say, ‘why are these moving so slowly?’ That’s our team. Our team is incredulous: ‘Why do you even consider this acceptable? This is not acceptable.’ It’s their whole mindset, because in [the] semiconductor [industry], you’ve got to make a thousand laptops a day and a million iPhones every week and a half to hit your iPhone targets, so speed is a whole different mindset.”
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