In an idealized setting, Additive Manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing are the most efficient processes in the industry. Picture this: dozens of machines whirring about, laying down material precisely to specification, with no downtime, lag, or delays due to human error. It’s this idealized view of what AM and 3D printing might one day be that can lead to too-high expectations for the current applications of the technology and/or manufacturer capabilities.
In and of itself, Additive Manufacturing is a revolutionary process that leads to a more efficient way of creating products across multiple industries. It has the potential to revolutionize how things are built and not just in the flashy examples that come to mind, like 3D printing a house in under an hour. Every product that humans use daily has the potential to be improved and produced more cheaply. The long-term implications of seeing Additive Manufacturing succeed and reach a sizable share of the market are significant. This technology has the potential to save billions of dollars in production costs, while providing a more sustainable alternative to the current standards.
Additive Manufacturing has yet to explode and fully revolutionize the manufacturing industry, however, but its day will come. There is too much emphasis on sustainability and getting lean for it not to. As the industry prepares its full arrival, the question remains, “How to increase efficiency of our processes?” This applies entirely to the operation and management of AM processes and businesses. In a vacuum, AM is more efficient than traditional manufacturing, but getting to that point is the hard part. Businesses need to hire the right people, find the right equipment and source materials, and keep their floors running smoothly. It’s not easy to do.
When it comes to increasing efficiency of Additive Manufacturing shops, at the top of the list is implementing a dedicated MES/QMS combination geared specifically toward AM. Many shops that work in Additive Manufacturing have become frustrated with the lack of MES/QMS options. Because many AM operations are smaller, service-based businesses, it doesn’t make sense to use systems meant for larger manufacturers in different industries. This is where Bluestreak | Bright AM’s innovative MES/QMS software enters the picture. It’s the leading platform for Additive Manufacturers and was designed exclusively for them.
How to increase efficiency is at the core of Bluestreak | Bright AM’s capabilities for a production setting. The software collects and processes real-time data from the floor and tracks every step of the build. Bluestreak | Bright AM can increase efficiency with improved scheduling and managing of personnel, providing real-time feedback to catch missteps in production and identifying preventive or corrective measures to avoid downtime, wasted material, and delays.
Bluestreak | Bright AM’s intelliPlan is one of the software package’s highlights, especially when it comes to increasing efficiency. With intelliPlan, manufacturers can store employee information and training and develop safety plans and protocols or equipment maintenance schedules. These are typically time-consuming tasks, but with Bluestreak | Bright AM, they can be automated. The program’s statistical process control is another standout feature that will increase efficiency by generating real-time data that can be compared to a control plan. Bluestreak | Bright AM SPC will help you spot an out-of-control process (cutting down on wasted material and maximizing productivity), limit the number of manual inspections required, and ultimately, end up with happier customers who receive a better finished product.
Entering the Additive Manufacturing sector is an aggressive move, especially in the midst of the current economic situation. That aside, however, the long-term opportunities in this space cannot be denied. Additive Manufacturers need a guarantee that they are getting the most out of their systems and not wasting time, materials, and money on inefficient setups. Increasing efficiency even a few percentage points could be the difference between becoming a leader in the field or going out of business.
Having a leading software suite from Bluestreak | Bright AM will create a more efficient shop floor and make sure companies are capturing all the advantages layered into the decision to invest in Additive Manufacturing. Knowing how to increase efficiency is one of the biggest reasons to make the push into AM, but without the right support, there is more room for error and lost revenue.
Additive Manufacturing can make the leap from fringe or futuristic technology and become a major part of the American manufacturing sector, but companies need to feel that the investment is worthwhile. The technology and power are there, but support from experts and software developers is required to take it over the top and let it flourish. Winners and losers will be decided by which company can build the most efficient production floor, and a cutting-edge MES/QMS package like Bluestreak | Bright AM could be what tips the scales.
If your service includes Additive Manufacturing, we provide specific solutions in our Bright AM software. To request an Additive Manufacturing software demo, click here!