..... when the light suddenly goes on for someone!
Edward Machin from 'The Manufacturer' recently visited GKN and EADS on the same day. He blogged soon after. What he saw at EADS seems to have blown his mind. The following is just a snippet of what he wrote, but the full post can be viewed here: http://www.themanufacturer.com/uk/content/10276/We_are_the_dreamers_of_dreams
"Additive layer manufacturing (ALM) effectively ‘grows’ components layer by layer from a powdered material, be it plastics or metal....
Very simply, this stuff shifts the shifts that paradigms shift. Yes, these terms get tossed about like cheap orange frisbees at the first sign of a British summer, but genuinely, people, and to co-opt Lincoln Steffens, “I’ve seen the future, and it works.” Moreover, with its genesis in Rapid Prototyping’s underlying technology ALM appears to have found a soulmate in the direct manufacture of net-shape and high performance aerospace components.
The ALM project at Innovation Works, EADS’ research and technology production facility, is headed up by Dan Johns. A charmingly infectious chatterbox, he wastes little time in introducing me to a selection of structurally superior, ultra-efficient (with a percentage of raw materials reniserted into the stock in powder form) and aesthetically beautiful structures — in a way that carbon fiber-reinforced polymer seldom is. Did I mention drastically reduced lead times, to boot?
His team of technological merry pranksters, with breakdancing ecological evangelists and ex-national table tennis champions among their number, are perhaps more remarkable still. Now, I’ve never been one for sentimental blubbering, but the guys and dolls at Innovation Works truly live and breathe this stuff, and it shows. Heck, I’ll just say it; tis a beautiful thang."
Following on from the recent article in the Telegraph covering EADS Innovation Works, I also happen to know that the BBC are interested in what is going on at EADS too. In terms of proving the reality and not just the hype — EADS really is leading the way and taking it much wider than it has EVER been before.