3D printing versus injection molding: Are we near the tipping point? Discuss

Tipping pointFor the mass production of plastic parts and products, injection molding has no compare and will remain the technology of choice for the foreseeable future. But as 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) continues to make strides in material options, cycle times, part quality and scalability, many analysts believe that it will compete with injection molding in applications where quantities are limited or where mass customization is desirable. In fact, it’s already happening.

For example, did you know that the Airbus A350 contains more than 1000 3D-printed parts?

You may have heard that Adidas teamed up with Silicon Valley–based 3D-printing technology company Carbon to develop its Futurecraft 4D athletic shoes. The firmness or softness of various areas of the shoe’s midsole can be easily customized thanks to Carbon’s 3D printing technology. Adidas expects to be able to produce more than 100,000 pairs annually by the end of 2018.

And seemingly each day, 3D printing produces a new medical marvel because it allows the fabrication of products designed for patient-specific anatomies.

Where will it end, and how will it affect the injection molding sector? Those and other questions will be tackled by experts in each of these fields during a panel discussion at the co-located PLASTEC and Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) event in Minneapolis next month. The panel session—“3D printing vs injection molding: Are we near the tipping point?"—will be held at Center Stage on the show floor on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 1:45 PM.

Meet the Panelists

  • Scott KraemerScott Kraemer is the Directing Manager of New Technology for PTI Engineered Plastics (Macomb, MI). He has more than 27 years of experience in manufacturing. Kraemer is deeply engaged in the development of additive manufacturing and its role in the future of product development and production. His current role at PTI enables him to explore new technologies and develop innovative ways to incorporate them into modern manufacturing.
  • Dana MaCallumDana McCallum began her career in injection molding and 3D printing, eventually joining 3D-printing technology company Carbon (Redwood City, CA) in May 2015 as Business Development Manager. Now Head of Production Partnerships, McCallum leads Carbon's partnership program for design firms, service bureaus and contract manufacturers who produce end-use parts for their customers. 
  • Greg Thompson, Proto LabGreg Thompson is Global Product Manager, 3D Printing, at Proto Labs, a rapid manufacturing company headquartered in Maple Plain, MN. He has held product leadership roles at General Mills, Polaris and Andersen Windows, and has run his own successful product consulting business. Thompson holds a BS, MS and MBA in engineering and finance.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Shana Leonard, Vice President, Content & Strategy, Advanced Manufacturing, at UBM (Santa Monica, CA).

PLASTEC Minneapolis and Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) Minneapolis, along with four other co-located events dedicated to packaging, automation, design and manufacturing, and embedded systems, make up the Midwest’s largest advanced manufacturing event. It will welcome more than 600 suppliers and thousands of attendees to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Nov. 8 and 9, 2017. Go to the event website for more information and to register to attend.

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