What does manufacturing look like in the final frontier?

In the not-so-distant past, there were times when much of the technology we embrace today was written off as science fiction. Smartwatches, tablets, and VR headsets are now part of everyday reality, the additive manufacturing sector is constantly buzzing with new ideas, products, techniques, and machinery that help improve and enhance businesses as well as general quality of life.

But what happens when 3D printing is literally taken to new heights?

Just ask Made In Space, a group of entrepreneurs, scientists, and developers who helped NASA launch the first 3D printer into space earlier this year.

“Manufacturing in space has been something that has been a given in science fiction since time immemorial,” said Made In Space President Andrew Rush in a recent interview with TCT. “By having a manufacturing facility stationed in space, we can save thousands of dollars and cut the time significantly.”

Founded in 2010, the company strives to “enable humanity’s future in space” by developing new technologies designed to operate in microgravity environments. AMF, an elaborate and permanent 3D printing system used on the International Space Station, is already making a splash with projected improvements in costs and lead times.

But why is important to have a 3D printer in space?

According to NASA, it takes over 6 months and costs roughly $10,000 to send a pound of payload into orbit. Many items also have to go through lengthy and expensive certification processes, which causes substantial problems if a crew member needs a tool or replacement part. However, Made In Space produced a total of 25 parts in a 28-hour period when an earlier model of their Zero-G 3D Printer was sent to the ISS in 2014.

“We proved that if things go awry on a mission, we can fix it with 3D printing,” Rush told TCT.

Made In Space’s recent successes form only a fraction of the company’s larger goal, which is to create technology capable of building complex structures – like satellites and space stations – prior to launching them into orbit.

Back on Earth, however, we are constantly looking for opportunities to bring this innovative technology to Northeast Ohio. Over the last 25 years, MAGNET engineer Dave Pierson has worked on projects for hundreds of manufacturers, many of which have seen substantial improvements after additive manufacturing was introduced to their business plans.

“Companies need to keep up with emerging technologies if they want to succeed,” Pierson said. “There are so many great things to learn about in additive, and we will see excellent results once these ideas are implemented on a more widespread basis.”

Want to know how additive manufacturing can revolutionize your operations?
Call MAGNET at 216.600.1022 or email linda.barita@magnetwork.org to schedule a consultation!

For updates on Made In Space and its ongoing projects, follow Andrew Rush (@rushspace) on Twitter.

MAGNET is a part of Ohio MEP, part of the NIST-MEP program.

Print
Posted by Liz Fox in Additive, Innovation

Most Recent

Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations

December 13, 2017 by Gwido Dlugopolsky

One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes.  The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910).  It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or gwido.dlugopolsky@magnetwork.org

Complete ANY Changeover in 10 Minutes or LESS

December 11, 2017 by Gwido Dlugopolsky

Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED           A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.

Coffee is STILL for Closers: 3 Things Needed to Close Any Sale

December 07, 2017 by Sam Wasylyshyn

The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for