The use of Additive Manufacturing


Can Additive Manufacturing advance your business forward?

MaterDome Additive Manufacturing Services

By George

   As we started exploring how Additive Manufacturing for development is one of the major pillars for creating extraordinary structures. In that first part, the main concern was how to exploit the requirements and induce them into the original structure.

   Watching closely the advancements in the field of manufacturing we could not stop using our curiosity to improve the performance of everything we are building. Thus, we started experimenting and introduce the use of ergonomics.

   As anyone can learn throughout the internet, ergonomics is an applied science aiming at the coordination of design for devices, systems, and physical working conditions according to the capabilities and requirements of the worker. So, each product must be different for each person as well as for each use.

   Throughout a product’s life-cycle there are more than one stages of use, and according to industrial designers these usually are:

  • Stage of building the product
  • Stage of using the product
  • Stage of the maintenance/repair the product.

   To further support the interest on ergonomic products, there is the official definition of the “International Ergonomics Association” (IEA) which states: “Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.”

   Thus, every professional who tries to apply an ergonomic mentality, has to contribute to the design and evaluate the tasks, the jobs, the products, the environments and the systems in order to create compatibility along the needs, the abilities and the limitations of each person.

Reaching the point of explaining the major categories of consideration:

  • Physical

   Consist of every human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics relating with physical activity.  Some examples are: working postures, repetitive movements, work related musculoskeletal disorders, workplace layout, safety and health.

  • Cognitive

   Includes everything related with mental processes like perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, and the way that affect interactions between humans and the system. Examples are decision-making, skilled performance, human-computer interaction, human reliability, work stress and training as these may relate to human-system design.

  • Organizational

  These are concerned with optimizing sociotechnical systems, including their organizational structures, policies, and processes. Including communication, work design, design of working times, teamwork, participatory design, new work paradigms, and quality management.

   The first and most vital part of Additive manufacturing use is to determine the requirements of the product, starting with the basic concepts such as the amount of strength, flexibility, working conditions, temperature etc. Then, when everything is figured out and written down, the designing process is ready to begin. In MaterDome, the design process is starting by considering the scope of utility. We need your product to be robust, easy to use and with outstanding performance while design is up to your preferred taste and the marketing research from your audience base.

   This workflow may seem unconventional and disturbing for most companies that rely its sales on design & appearance. Although, using Additive Manufacturing makes extremely easy to work independently on engineering, industrial and product design.

   Separating these points of our manufacturing focus is easy to identify how different is the engineering design process from industrial and product design. The engineering part of the development is all about parametric design, exact measurements and the appropriate mechanisms or additional components that will ensure the best performance of the final product. In addition to engineering, industrial design focuses on craft design and ergonomic shape while the product design ensures that the final outcome is well communicated, visualized and analyzed in the best possible manner.

   Thus, the technology of Additive Manufacturing help us work separately on each of the product development stages and incorporate them in the manufacturing process.

“Can Additive Manufacturing and Ergonomics can lead the creation of the products of the future?”

Why Ergonomics is valuable?

   The need of using ergonomics is that lots of people are suffering due to the incompatible conditions at work and home with their needs, abilities and limitations. These circumstances affects the safety and welfare of these people, as well as, that of organizations and societies. The use of high-end technology can ease our lives and create a more efficient and exciting environment. However, obsession with technology and ambitious business expectations can lead us to overlook human factors and risks. Disregarding these kind of risks will cause serious effects on manufacturing, supply chains and service enterprises. Thus, ergonomics and human factors are very important in our era where technology starting to be part in every aspect of our lives.

The benefits of ergonomics and 3D Printing

   Despite the fact that there are lots of barrier of the general consuming audience to create effective structures and products. There are distinct and actual benefits from using 3D printing, some of the dominant are:

  • The physical visualization of concepts for validating functionality and design.
  • Create impossible shapes unlike the traditional manufacturing techniques.
  • Mass customisation.
  • Reduced waste.
  • Rapid production compared to traditional manufacturing techniques.

And minor benefits like:

  • Print in color or different materials.
  • Cost reduction.

The Impact of Additive Manufacturing

   Although, Additive Manufacturing is coming to maturity as a manufacturing process, the impact upon the way of concept creation and manufacturing poses as a major factor. The main benefits that stated earlier show us that Additive technologies can help into:

  1. Making faster iterations for concept design. 3D prototypes can be part of the user-centered design process. Introduce a faster innovation mentality as rapid prototyping decreases the time of concept to production design. As early use of 3D printing during concept design phase, allows greater user interaction, resulting in better products, faster than used to.
  2. The use of 3d printing is a massive boost to Mass Customization that will eventually become the normal. In the future, you will be able to buy fully customized products with your exact specifications through 3D printing, delivered straight outside your doorstep. The use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) modeling and simulation programs with databases or laser scanning it is feasible to automatically create alternate designs that suit your physical dimensions, ergonomic needs or even your unique taste.

   As 3D printing technology is maturing, the materials are going to be better, specialized, advanced and easy to be combined with other printable materials. These new materials exhibit features or properties previously unavailable.

Implement Ergonomics and Additive Manufacturing

   Reading all that we can say that the tools and products of the future will be specifically created for each individual with short prototyping cycles. Sounds Awesome! Although, in order to manage and reach at that point there is a lot of work to be done. There are some key manufacturing pain points.

   First of all, each product and tool has its own requirements, starting with the physical ones like strength, flexibility, thermal compatibility and chemical resistance. Which are vital because we need the manufactured tools or parts to withstand during the use they are built for.

   Furthermore, the design must be created in such a way that is easy for the user to handle and use it. And as you can see in industrial or architecture design the items that are made usually are not destined to do what was supposed to do. Every person has a different opinion about a product’s use.

   Finally, each manufacturing process has limitations and so does Additive Manufacturing. Although Additive has fewer limitations, has also a great advantage over the traditional processes. Additive Manufacturing gives freedom to the designer to create complex structures and shapes in order to create the optimal tool for each and every human on the planet, in the same manufacturing cycle.

Final Thoughts

   Concluding, will Additive Manufacturing and Ergonomics can lead the creation of the products of the future? We can definitely say there is lots of potential in ergonomics and Additive to create the environment of mass customization for the public. Although, in order to achieve that you need deep understanding of both ergonomics and Additive, use the materials, structures and reinforcement in order to combine them in a seamless way. Gain advantage from the individual advantages to create magnificent products.

   Of course there also additional processes that have to be taken into consideration regarding the business and logistics parts of a company, but we will have a whole new article about them.

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