*This Editor’s Note will appear in the October Edition of ECN.
Without a doubt, one electronics industry trend that’s recently caught everyone’s attention has been 3D printing. From aircraft and automobiles to medical applications, the ability of printing parts in various shapes and sizes has given companies greater manufacturing flexibility, while enabling them to drastically cut prototyping time. 3D printing is better enabling companies to meet stringent time-to-market demands while reducing production costs.
This month’s ECN takes a close look at the challenges and advances in 3D printing. Our Issue Focus piece on p. 8, “3D Printing Shortens PCB Prototyping Cycle,” by Simon Fried of Nano Dimension, discusses how 3D printing is enabling prototype parts to be produced in as little as a day. That’s because the process can be brought in-house, and make it easy to perform design changes on-the-fly in real time.
Our Tech Focus features, beginning on p. 10, delve into the applications and processes for 3D printing. “3D Printing Drives Advances in Automotive Manufacturing,” by Greg Thompson of Proto Labs, examines how 3D printing is allowing vehicles to be made lighter and with fewer parts, with faster time-to-market. “Process Advances Bring Metal 3D Printing into the Mainstream,” by Cullen Hilkene of 3Diligent, looks at the techniques used to achieve metal 3D printing.
“3D Printing’s Present and Future Impact on the Supply Chain,” by Kent Firestone of Stratasys, presents a detailed observation of bottom-line business advantages for 3D printing, including reduced inventory, customization flexibility, and on-demand production. “Stereolithography Answers Challenge of 3D Manufacturing,” by Union Tech’s Jim Reitz, describes how 355-mm laser-based stereolithography is evolving to meet 3D printing needs. Lastly, “3D is Changing the Face of Multiple Industries,” by Dennis Spaeth of Cutting Tool Engineering, summarizes the diverse applications where 3D printing is gaining influence.
Speaking of ongoing advancement, you’ll want to take note of this year’s ECN’s IMPACT Awards winners, which can be found on p. 7. Annually, ECN recognizes design excellence in nearly 14 categories, including several special recognition categories. The winners will be honored and learn their respective ranking (First, Second, and Third Place) in each category at a dinner and awards event the night of October 22, at Loew’s Chicago O’Hare Hotel, coinciding with the ECIA Executive Conference. We can’t wait to reveal this year’s new rankings process. Hope to see you there!