What is Quality?
There is a problem in metal 3D printing today. The 3D printing industry doesn’t hold itself to the same standards as traditional manufacturers. When you order a part from traditional manufacturing, you expect the parts to be exactly as you ordered them.
What is quality? To 3DEO, quality means that whether it’s the 10th part or the 10,000th part, they’re all the same. The parts are the same dimensionally, with the same surface finish and ultimately when you put that part into your machinery, it functions exactly the same. 3DEO stands behind our quality and we know your business is dependent on our parts.
What You Order Is What You Get
We’ve all heard the story — a customer gets their first articles and loves them. They are perfect and they can’t wait to start production. But once the production parts arrive, they are completely different from the first articles.
With 3DEO, the first articles are the production parts. The machine printing the first article is the same used in production. With engineering drawings and models, we work with you to establish a mutual understanding of our ability to produce your part to your standards.
3DEO takes pride in having a fully traceable manufacturing process. But why is traceability important? Because traceability means accountability. To 3DEO, traceability is data driven. It comes from a closed loop feedback control from our machines and dozens of sensors tracking information in real time. We can pick up any part and identify what machine and powder lot it came from, what the humidity levels were, who cleaned the part and more. We can catch anything that happens and ensure that no part leaves 3DEO without meeting our customer’s specifications.
Our Measurement Process
Our measuring process starts with the customer. We closely review drawings to understand which features are critical to the component. Using the same measuring system as the customer, we eliminate any doubts and work hard to establish trust.
3DEO has an array of state-of-the-art tools available such as an optical measuring system, calipers, gauge pins and more. Our automated processes allow us to measure every single part and ensure they all meet spec.
Material specs are very important. We hold ourselves to the highest standard so our customers can trust and rely on our products. We have developed in-house characterization capabilities to test and measure mechanical, environmental, metallurgical, and chemical properties of our parts. We also collaborate with several accredited 3rd party testing labs, as well as academic research labs.
3DEO uses process controls to track the quality of the part before it is completed. This allows us to catch and reduce–in real time–any variability that may occur. By watching these process controls, we can understand the predictability of performance and can take corrective action if necessary. It is important to minimize part-to-part and machine-to-machine variation.
Predictability of performance is critical to our ability to scale our operation. We monitor our production to ensure that it’s in control and quality stays consistent over time. Establishing methodologies for predictability allows us to hit nominal specs.
Unlike other metal additive manufacturing technologies, 3DEO does not have degrading processes. This allows us to achieve predictability of performance and ensure high quality production for our customers.
Marty McGough is an innovative operations executive and process improvement professional with more than 20 years of hands-on experience applying Lean 6 Sigma techniques to manufacturing, product design, cost reduction, system enhancement, and customer satisfaction problems for high-tech companies. He has personally introduced more than 31 products that generated over $1.1 billion in sales with gross margins of up to 45%. He has engaged in five successful scaling or turnaround efforts with companies of various sizes.
In the metal 3D printing industry, Marty led a Lean 6 Sigma Transformation for 3D Systems that reduced product costs, improved on-time delivery and supplier quality, decreased product cycle times, and increased customer satisfaction.
Over the last two decades, 3D printing technologies have become infamous for lack of quality control. Great for prototyping and one-off production, additive manufacturing struggles to achieve dimensional control and process capability that traditional manufacturing techniques have achieved.
If you missed Marty’s webinar, you can access the recording here: From Powder to Product: Quality in Additive Manufacturing.
3D printing is a new technology in a rapidly developing industry. While the industry undoubtedly has a promising future, the new manufacturing technology lacks a standardized quality control system that traditional manufacturing industries have.
The industry as a whole, particularly when it comes to moving from prototyping to production, has identified that quality control is the major limiting factor to 3D printing today. Click here to read more.