The NEDME team was thrilled to have Dylan Oliver—FATHOM’s General Manager at its Seattle-based production center—as the keynote speaker for this year’s OctoberBest, the 15th Annual Northwest Electronics Design & Manufacturing Exposition. Oliver’s keynote, Factory of the Future: Merging Additive Manufacturing with Legacy Technologies, focused on FATHOM’s core competency: 3D printing in manufacturing.
“As 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies increasingly influence designers and engineers across all industries, the way in which industry-leading companies approach product development changes significantly. Learn how this affects your business growth and schedule.”
NEDME interviewed Oliver for a newsletter in advance of the show—check it out below! For more information on Oliver’s keynote, click here.
Tell us about a change you see coming in the industry, and a way in which companies should be positioned to meet it.
Something I find very evident about additive technologies is that it isn’t going away and 3D printing will only get better. Enterprise level customers are seeing the value in a big way, many of which have been using the technology for decades. New software tools, ever improving computing power, and continually advancing technologies and materials will bring about rise in design that leverages the innate advantages of additive manufacturing because the main benefit will be the freedom of complexity. This is a unique feature of additive platforms in advanced manufacturing today. Typically, if a design is complicated, it will be much more expensive to make. When production is approached with additive manufacturing in mind, a whole new attitude about what is possible comes to be.
I feel the most disruptive changes will come from Generative Design, Biomimicry, and Microstructures; all of which exploit and optimize complexity to solve a problem through improved performance, reduced weight, minimized costs, and accelerated manufacturing lead-times. In order to take advantage of these new possibilities, companies need to learn when additive is appropriate and why, as well as how to identify where the biggest benefits can be gained by changing their own processes for one that is additive driven. These technologies truly complement the legacy manufacturing techniques of the past and should be recognized as another tool in the shed, a powerful one, at that.
What is one thing that you hope people will take away from your keynote?
I hope people will come away from the keynote feeling inspired. It is my aim that everyone will learn something new about the state of the industry and how today’s technologies are changing the way things are made. More than anything, I want to encourage all attendees to approach the future of additive manufacturing with an open and optimistic mindset. The future is very bright, but we need to stay grounded in reality when setting expectations. What “will be” is going to be exciting without a doubt, however, what we do have today is also very exciting because of the many ways the technologies are being adapted now.