- The nature of work is changing
- How can we remove the constraints on design that traditional manufacturing processes impose?
- What are the major catalysts for disruption that we are seeing?
- There is a convergence of new technologies in manufacturing and our goal is to make these available to everyone
- Our prediction: “As designed” will become “as built” with the push of a button
At the 2018 edition of the North American Manufacturing Excellence Summit, Greg Fallon, Autodesk’s VP of Generative Design and Manufacturing Products, gave a breakfast briefing on Push Button Manufacturing. Afterwards he sat down for a follow up interview on this important new trend.
The full transcript of the interview is below, or you can download a PDF version.
You gave a talk today, a breakfast briefing. What was the subject of your presentation?
The briefing this morning was about our vision for Push Button Manufacturing.
Push Button Manufacturing is a simplified version of where we see manufacturing going in the future. The simplified analogy that we use —and I don’t mean this to be insulting to manufacturers because it is very simplified— but if you think back to the early days of desktop printing in the 80s and 90s the idea is that you would design a document, you would essentially write a document that you would see on your screen, and then you would go to print it and what came out on the printer was often not what you had in mind.
In a way that’s a nice metaphor or analogy for manufacturing, because it’s very hard to make what you’re manufacturing look like the design intent, and that’s the problem that we’re trying to solve.
It’s how do you automate different steps in the process so that what comes out of the manufacturing line matches what the design looks like without a lot of work going on in between.
In the past five years or so, Additive Manufacturing has grown into its own and matured. It is now being used in real world applications. How does that fit into the larger topic of Push Button Manufacturing?
It’s perfect because Additive Manufacturing gives the end user a lot of flexibility. You can customize every design and you can go from design to print much faster than traditional methods, like machining where you have to do very complex tool pathing and understanding the tools you’re working on and the tools you’re working with.
Whereas, Additive Manufacturing gives you a ton of flexibility. You can print a shoe one minute and an engine block later that day with a lot of changes.
There’s also tremendous change in the types of designs that you can print versus designs that you can say machine or cast. Printing gives you access to geometric complexity that was not available before.
An example I like to talk about is the redesign of an F1 cylinder head that we worked on with another company. To think about how Additive Manufacturing would change that cylinder head, we came up with a bunch of different design changes and manufacturing changes.
Traditionally the cylinder heads are cast and machined, so changing that to Additive Manufacturing changes that particular paradigm. Once you’re 3D printing a type of cylinder head, you don’t have to worry about all the excess material that exists in the original cylinder head, so you can use things like lattices to reduce the volume of the cylinder head.
You have a lot less excess or unused material. The whole concept of waste is very different with 3D printing. The amount of waste material might be 5% of what you would have with another method.
Once you start to do things like latticing the design, you get things like weight reduction inherently in the design. In this case, this is important to a racecar.
In addition to that, you get things like enhanced heat transfer. Because you’re using these lattices, the amount of surface area on the engine available to cool it goes up by many orders of magnitude and that allows you to get more heat out of the engine, which allows you to operate at higher temperatures and pressures, which improves the performance of the engine overall.
So, there’s this avalanche of benefits that comes out from simply changing the means of production.