The Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference, or AMUG, is an annual meeting of professional additive technologies users, researchers, and equipment/materials manufacturers involved with industrial AM applications, who gather each year for the purposes of "advancing additive manufacturing technology for rapid manufacturing and prototyping."
AMUG's 2017 event took place over five days, March 19th to 23rd, in Chicago, Illinois, and featured a global audience of engineers, designers, managers, and educators engaging in presentations, workshops, technical sessions, and the AMUGexpo exhibitors hall – a completely sold out conference for both attendees and exhibitors. This year was the first time Ultimaker has participated as an exhibitor and sponsor, a development triggered by the expanding number of enterprise and industrial customers and applications we have seen for our professional desktop 3D printer models over the past several years.
In particular, our Ultimaker 3 printers have proven very popular in the industrial additive manufacturing space over its first six months in the market, and our team was eager to engage in AMUG's commitment to the free exchange of "expertise, best practices, challenges, and application developments in additive manufacturing" to even better serve this large influx of new use cases.
Desktop 3D Printing Hits the Enterprise for Prototyping, Tooling, Production
One of the ways that Ultimaker shared its industrial and enterprise experiences with the AMUG community was through a series of case-study presentations: "Desktop 3D Printing Hits the Enterprise for Prototyping, Tooling, Production" given by John Dulchinos, Vice President of Digital Manufacturing for Jabil, and Ultimaker North America president, John Kawola. The Jabil Digital Manufacturing team have been purchasing pallet after pallet of Ultimaker professional desktop 3D printers for the purpose of deploying them in a factory or manufacturing context – and this was an opportunity to detail a number of the promising results of their past experimentation, as well as granting AMUG attendees at first glance how they are installing racks of Ultimakers into their factories, and those of their customers.
In this talk, Kawola provided details about the noteworthy developments in Ultimaker's recent history – and explained our full ecosystem, which has led to the popularity of clusters of our desktop printers as a cost-effective, efficient solutions for enterprises, before introducing Dulchinos and Jabil.
Jabil is an international supply chain management and electronics manufacturing company with 200,000 employees worldwide, that provides customers across industries with global supply chains and product development services. It has even been featured in Fortune's World Most Admired Companies list for the past 3 years. "We're the only 20 billion dollar company that people haven't heard of," Dulchinos joked. "And that's actually for a good reason... because we make products for the world's best brands. And I'm sure many of you are carrying things in your pocket, or on your wrist, that have Jabil products in it."
Dulchinos went on to introduce their recent, fruitful experiments with Ultimaker printers in their factories. "We've been using 3D printing for many years," he said. "But about two and a half years ago my boss came to me and asked me to set up a group to focus on driving this technology into manufacturing. To really drive the use-cases that can make us a much more efficient manufacturer. So I'm going to talk today about how we think about it for manufacturing aids, or fixtures, or tooling, or jigs, and I'll talk about the journey we went on with Ultimaker."
Dulchinos gave examples how Jabil is incorporating this approach in their enterprise, and as a result saved significant cost and numerous days of production time. "What really interested us in the Ultimaker solution," Dulchinos said, "Was low upfront costs, performance, and an open platform that would allow us to be able to drive efficiency out of the technology – and allow us to get to cost models that we could scale in our factories."
AMUGexpo: Ultimaker Platinum Sponsor Booth
In addition to the speaking opportunity, the Ultimaker team had a booth on-site within the AMUGexpo, offering AMUG attendees a chance to observe for themselves our latest Ultimaker 3 printer in action, along with a demonstration for how our water-soluble PVA support material can be easily removed for faster post-processing of complex designs.
Other exhibitors at AMUGexpo ranged across the entire spectrum of AM technologies, and the Ultimaker team conversed with professional AM users and other exhibitors who have been closely observing the rapid development of the professional desktop 3D printer market over the past three to four years. It was a satisfying chance to gauge how well Ultimaker has delivered on its commitment to "Professional 3D printing made accessible."