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Supply Chain News: Engine Maker Cummins Doubling Down on 3D Printing


Company Says Binder Jetting Technology from GE can be Scaled to Produce Higher Volume Parts Quickly

April 17, 2019
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Cummins, the well-known maker of truck engines based in Columbus, IN, announced this week aggressive plans to adopt 3D printing capabilities to make component parts.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

Cummins will be co-located at the lab to work on technology development before the machines are relocated to one of its facilities later this year.

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3D printing has been slow to take off in many areas of manufacturing due to limitations in the use of metallic materials to make parts.

But Cummins says it is stepping up investing in a new, high-precision, high speed 3D metal printing technology called binder jet.

Binder jetting is a technology in which th print head moves across a bed of powder and selectively deposits a liquid binding agent in the shape of the section, bonding the areas together to form a solid part one layer at a time. Depending on complexity of the part or component, the technology can print an amazing 60 to 100 times faster than laser-based printing processes, according to a Cummins press release.

Cummins says the investment "is just the next step in Cummins' plan to revolutionize its manufacturing processes and accelerate the company's trajectory toward scaled production in additive technologies."

"By investing in 3D metal additive technologies from GE Additive, we are investing in Cummins and our customers,” said Tim Millwood, Vice President of Global Manufacturing at Cummins. "This technology has the potential to provide our customers with a quicker, lower-cost production method that ultimately uses less energy, which means we can better serve our customers and reduce our environmental impact."


Cummins says it recently sold its first additively manufactured metal part – a low-volume bracket without a current supplier – printed on a GE Additive Concept Laser M2, moving it a significant step closer to fulfilling the potential of additive manufacturing in production. With the addition of binder jet technology, Cummins says it will be able to 3D print medium- to large-sized complex parts, reliably, at high throughput and at a comparatively lower cost.

The company currently has two Concept Laser M2 DMLM machines; one is installed at the Cummins' Technical Center in Columbus, and the other, along with two other 3D metal printers, is installed at the large Cummins Research and Development Center in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

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With the addition of GE Additive Binder Jet printers, Cummins says itis now able to focus on its strategy for higher-volume production.

GE Additive says it is quickly scaling its binder jet technology, first into pilot lines, then into a complete, industrialized factory solution that it expects to be commercially available in early 2021. The effort with Cummins is part of a development partnership between the two industrial giants.

Cummins' binder jet machines are located at GE Additive's lab in Cincinnati, Ohio. Teams from Cummins will be co-located at the lab to work on technology development before the machines are relocated to one of its facilities later this year.

What's your take on the Cummins news? Is scalable 3D printing really near?   Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.



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