As with any other kind of manufacturing, industrial-scale additive manufacturing requires a well-defined process. But what does such a process actually involve? Is it simply to invest in a 3D printer and associated equipment, hire or train personnel, secure the material supply and post-treatment, and start the production?
Or do you need to invest in a complete set of machinery, set up material and product qualifications, implement digital end-to-end capabilities (such as PLM, PDM, or MES), acquire cybersecurity solutions, provide continuous training and process optimization, interconnect every step of the supply chain, and establish departments handling production, customer relations, and more?
It's not always easy to know where to start or how extensive the industrialization process needs to be. What is certain is that existing standards and regulations must be taken into account. However, the extent is ultimately determined by the organization's capabilities and the customers' requirements for products, information, and traceability.
Due to the lack of standards concerning additive manufacturing, there are several challenges associated with scaling up the manufacturing process. This absence of standards and defined qualification procedures often results in customer- and application-specific solutions that need to be verified, validated and certified every time. This is of course a big hurdle as it is labor intensive, time consuming, and costly.
Today, it is rather difficult to find the expertise you need to set up a complete and qualified infrastructure. The knowledge and capability are typically only found within companies that have already undergone an industrialization phase and learned through that process. This is also what sets apart the leading players in the industry, as they have gained an advantage and strengthened their competitiveness through their established additive manufacturing capabilities.
Continuous collaboration between certifying bodies and stakeholders along the supply chain is essential to establish standards and accelerate the adoption of the technology across various industrial sectors.
When implementing a new manufacturing method, whether on a small or large scale, it is crucial to consider occupational health and safety. New processes, materials, particles, chemicals, and machinery create new occupational risks that you may not have needed to consider before.
RISE addresses both the physical and organizational work environment. The physical work environment encompasses ergonomics (for the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders), climate, lighting, safety (mechanical and electrical hazards), as well as exposure to chemicals, particles, noise, and vibrations. The organizational and social work environment involves factors such as leadership and management, participation, autonomy, staffing, and distribution of tasks.
RISE offers three occupational health-related services connected to additive manufacturing. The approach is proactive, as to avoid discomfort, illness, and accidents.
In work environment and safety, RISE offers expertise in the following areas, where the offer can be adapted to challenges in additive manufacturing.
Please contact us if you interested in understanding what industrialization means for your organization and what an uptake of the technology would involve.