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Jason B. Jones, PhD


2016 Chair, SME Additive Manufacturing Community SME Member Since 2012


SME SPEAKS GUEST EDITORIAL Will 3D Printing Touch Your Life? A


dditive manufacturing, popularly known as “3D printing,” has captured the mainstream media spotlight like few if any manufacturing techniques


in recent decades. Hopefully you have heard something about it; or perhaps you fi nd continual reference to this next “industrial revolution” tiresome, particularly if you haven’t seen any impact to you or your business yet. As the media hype wave washes past additive manufacturing, the remaining question for many is: “will this technology make a difference to my life?”


If you use a hearing aid…or if you have opted for clear braces…chances are that it already has. If you need or will need a hip implant, chances are that it soon will. Did you know that most hearing aid shells in the US and Europe are now 3D printed? Are you aware of clear al- ternatives to metal braces made from 3D-printed molds customized for each patient? Have you heard about hip implants that achieve a superior joint to the bone thanks to special 3D-printed textures (trabecular lattices added to acetabular cups), which are on their way to becoming mainstream? How about customized running shoes, earphones, wearables, printed clothing…all of these topics are in the early stages of commercializa- tion enabled by additive technologies. For these and a myriad of additional applications, the question is not whether 3D printing will touch you or a loved one; the question is simply a matter of time. Many are surprised when they learn that 3D print- ing systems were fi rst launched commercially in the mid-late 1980s and are well established as enabling technology for a variety of industrial applications from aerospace parts to jewelry. Industrial adoption of metal 3D printing began more than a decade ago, with accelerated adoption during the last fi ve years. The capability of producing parts in more durable


materials (such as metal, ceramics and composites) has sig- nifi cantly expanded applications into manufacturing of durable end-use parts, hence the formal adoption of the term “additive manufacturing” in 2009 by ASTM.


Since 1993, SME has been home to the largest profes- sional 3D printing community worldwide. SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community have made a tremendous impact on the fi eld since then, including most notably the foun- dational work that culminated in broad-based standards development initiated as the Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing Technologies.


Advisors for SME’s Additive Manufacturing Community were recently on hand at SME Headquarters for a strategy meeting. Pictured from left to right: Jeff DeGrange, Colleen Wivell, Jung Lowe, Vesna Cota, Jason Jones and Denis Cormier.


If 3D printing has not yet touched your life, I recommend that you experience it now. Membership with SME gives you access to a treasure trove of resources collected by its Addi- tive Manufacturing Community to help get you started includ- ing a library of dozens of webinars from the fundamentals to customized medical implants and many industrial implemen-


May 2016 | AdvancedManufacturing.org 11


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