Huntsman join the Direct Manufacturing set

Published 10 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: rapid prototyping, direct manufacturing, hunstman digitalis

Huntsman Advanced Materials, a long time supplier of materials to the prototyping industry (it has the RenShape and Aralidite brands) is going to launch a rapid manufacturing machine which “significantly reduces production times and costs.” In a press release that says a lot, but gives away very little indeed, Huntsman claims to have “this new technology with pinpoint accuracy and speed which will make mass customisation a reality.” There’s also very little sight of the press release actually online either.

The machine is to be branded as the Araldite Digitalis and is based on a new polymeric additive fabrication system capable of manufacturing “at speed large numbers of parts simultaneously with previously unattainable accuracy.” The only details that are made available are that the system is based on entirely “new” micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS).

The release also claims that the system is “different from the light reflecting MEMS technology used in 3D printers. At the heart of Araldite Digitalis is the MLS MicroLightSwitch, a radical new exposure system operating via a computer controlled micro-mechanical shutter system which enables a large surface area of radiation curable resin to be selectively exposed in a single step. There is fast uniform exposure with high accuracy.”

While Huntsman provides very few additional details, reading between the lines, it sounds like the system is similar to that found in the Envisiontec machines, which are based on consumer level DLP micro light switching/reflecting devices. Huntsman expects Araldite Digitalis to be in commercial use later in 2009. If you want to have a look, wait for them to update the web-site or check ‘em out at Stand No J164, Hall 8.0 at EuroMold 2008.

I am puzzled about why they would choose to name a product that’s “easy to use and maintain” after a plant that’s pretty much entirely poisonous.

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Autodesk post Fluid for Jesus Phone

Published 10 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: autodesk, multi-touch, ipod touch iphone, autodesk fluid

Everyone except me has an iPhone it seems (yup, I love my blackberry to death. its own death usually) and I’ve finally got an excuse to get one, or at least an iPod Touch. Autodesk has just released its first (as far as I’m aware) foray into the world of the multi-touch device. Yes, it has been demoing all manner of large scale multitouch goodness for some times, but this is the first demo that’s available for a decent, consumer level product. If you’ve got an enabled device, look here or more details are here.

This technology has been around for some time, but this is still very very cool. Its a fluid simulate, activated and interacted with by multi-touch. What I really want is a motion and multi-touch senstive version of the Chameleon.

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Bass breaks the bad news

Published 06 November 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: autodesk, carl bass

Carl Bass, president and CEO of Autodesk has admitted they are feeling the pinch of the global financial crisis, as demand for products fell throughout October.

“The sharp downturn of the global economy is substantially impacting our business. Demand for our products fell dramatically in October in all geographies as the financial crisis worsened,” said Bass, blaming the downturn in the global economy for customers delaying projects.

Profits for the financial quarter ending in October were in the range of $604 million to $607 million, having previously been forecasted in the region of $625 million to $635 million. As a result, forecasts for the next financial quarter have been greatly decreased.

“Our third quarter net income will include the benefit of some reductions to previous cost estimates. In addition we have begun to take actions to reduce our cost structure,” added Bass, without elaborating on what these would include.

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Chair made from WEEE

Published 05 November 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: solidworks

A chair made the recycled plastics of redundant video game consoles is helping reduce the amount of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) from our nations gaming habit heading to landfills.

The design of Sprout Design, the REEE chair incorporates the plastic from 9 Playstation2 consoles, each chair preventing 2.4Kg of plastic entering our already crammed landfill sites. Using Solidworks to tweak individual components and construct the final design, the team at Sprout expect to ship 3,000 chairs (equivalent to 7.5 tonnes of recycled plastic) in the next year.

Engineer Guy Robinson, said “The final design is quite complex, though each component by itself is fairly simple. There were a lot of details to get the geometry and ergonomics right, such as how the stiffness and flex of the ribs responded to the body, and how to make the clips tamperproof yet easy to disassemble, etc. Solidworks allowed us to tweak the design of the individual components while showing how this affected the whole product to get it right. We would have abandoned this concept early on if we didn’t have that flexibility.”

The chair is the brainchild of Christopher Pett, founder of sustainable product development company Pli Design Ltd. Sprout used SolidWorks SimulationXpress to ensure the chair would be strong enough to support sitters without over-engineering the amount of plastic in the seat’s ribs, reinforcing the sustainable design theme. Both Pett and Robinson hope the Reee Chair sets a precedent for electronics manufacturers around the world.

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Wicked article on EOS DMLS

Published 04 November 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: prototype, rapid prototyping, eos, direct manufacturing

I’m trying to work out how much designers and engineers are aware of rapid prototyping and direct manufacturing processes and stumbled across this article by the team at MindTribe’s blog. Check it.

What I’m pondering is whether users are aware of the new techniques, new processes, new materials and such that are rapidly coming out, advancing and developing and how they can both be used as part of existing design processes or used to create something new, something exciting? Leave a comment and let me know what YOU want to know, how and what.

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Sloppy Marketing #2: SpaceClaim pull another one

Published 28 October 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: spaceclaim, sloppy marketing

You have to love it when a 3D company gets all comfortable and happy. Silly things start to happen. Last time I posted about SpaceClaim was to talk about its somewhat foolish crediting and usage of imagery on its web-site, which was at best misleading to say the least. I was pointed back at the web-site with the words “what’s going on?” What’s all the fuss about? well, simply, the company is claiming to be the “first 3D Direct Modeling system.”

Now, I get that marketing is often about stretching things a touch, but do the powers honestly believe that people are going to buy it? Yes, SpaceClaim is a Direct Modelling system, but claiming to be the first? Seriously? The new CEO (Chris Randles) sold MathCAD to PTC. PTC also own CoCreate, one of the handful of Direct Modelling applications out there. There’s also IronCAD and CADkey.

SpaceClaim is an impressive system, but the complete and utter lack of clarity, and to be honest and more increasingly, lack of truth surrounding the product, is doing it NO favours whatsoever.

Just thought I’d add Blake’s (one of the founders of SpaceClaim) comment to the front page:

As I mentioned on SpaceClaiming, “this mistake was caused by an overaggressive search and replace on a recent web site update and has been corrected. Thanks for keeping us honest, Al! We are well aware that SpaceClaim is not the first direct modeler, but we are confident that we are the fastest and most capable.”

Thanks again,
-Blake

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Shortfall shown in PLM user group activity

Published 28 October 2008

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: plm

As the time of year for surveys crashes upon us, some interesting figures are showing that only six per cent of PLM user group cooperation actually taking place.

Subsequently, 39 per cent of PLM user groups are now defunct, with fewer than 10% of the remainder having any activities planned. The survey from the Product Lifecycle Management Interest Group (PLMIG) offers reasons for the decline that include the workload placed on unpaid officers, and the lack of relevance and interest in the agenda.

A spokesperson for the PLMIG, said: “This represents a major lost opportunity for PLM implementers, because the more significant and intractable problems in PLM can be resolved only by effective exchange of ideas and methods between experienced users.”

In response to their findings the PLMIG are conducting a two-day user forum in Reading on 13-14 November, giving delegates the opportunity to present an overview of their own PLM environment as input to the discussions and generate the common material they need.

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