Tag Archives: AMUG

Met-L-Flo President, Carl Dekker Is Interviewed by Advanced Manufacturing Insight

We are thrilled to share a Q&A Session with Carl Dekker and Advanced Manufacturing Insight. With their permission we are sharing it.

Carl at AMUG
Carl at AMUG

Interview with Carl Dekker, President of Met-L-Flo and Chair of ASTM’s F42

Carl Dekker of Met-L-Flo examines the challenges and opportunities posed by advanced manufacturing – the need for standards to create fluidity in the process of meeting customer needs.

Carl Dekker has served as the President and Owner of Met-L-Flo since 1991, and currently serves as the Chair of ASTM’s F42.  At Met-L-Flo, he has been actively involved in research and product development using current technologies and innovative methods of manufacturing.  He has served as Chairperson of SME’s Rapid Technologies and Additive Manufacturing community (RTAM), and currently serves as Chair of the Direct Digital Manufacturing Tech group of RTAM.  As Chair of ASTM’s F42, he is directly involved in the development and distribution of standards for the additive manufacturing industry.

AMI:   Could you quickly sketch out for me your company’s experience and involvement with additive manufacturing?

DEKKER:   I got into additive manufacturing back in 1989 when it was called rapid prototyping. In 1991 I joined Met-L-Flo and in 1995 we were servicing a lot of the service bureaus at that point in time, kind of behind the scenes.  We had enough contact with OEMs to justify bringing on our own equipment and we started developing services from there.  We are active in a lot of the different promotional activities if you will, different boards and things like that, trying to help get the word out there properly and correctly. We have just been trying to help develop standards at the same time because we are a service bureau and our motto is to be able to accept orders from our clients, produce parts and have them meet their specs when they get in there without having to go through an extensive amount of interpretation and understanding.

AMI:   What would you consider the biggest technology challenge facing your company’s activities in the additive space today?

DEKKER:   I suppose it would come down to an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system that is functional for additive manufacturing.

AMI:   Is that something you would need for your internal purposes or for your customers to have?

DEKKER:   Primarily for internal purposes but obviously portals could be designed in also for purpose of customer interaction.  The key to it is the rate of information exchange and change is so fast that keeping it fluid, current, accurate and up to date from the client’s point of change or communication all the way through to the proper people on the floor is a very cumbersome area where there is always room for interpretation and miscommunication.

AMI:   Why is the situation so fluid?

DEKKER:   Because many times we’ll have customers that come through and tell us that piece did not pass the test they were running and now it has to be changed or modified. Or production comes back with something that they tried to build it to the client’s specs and are finding issues. They have suggested solutions that require interaction and dialogue with the client. Right now qualifying a part for additive manufacturing or a process to produce a part is a very lengthy, drawn out, years-long process.

AMI:   Can I ask what industrial sectors or verticals you have as your customer base?

DEKKER:   We primarily target additive manufacturing for end part application. A lot of it is primarily aerospace or defense related products, along with some industrial components, which are obviously far simpler from the stand point of qualification.

AMI:   Do you do health care? I have heard a lot of people say that’s an area where there is a lot of additive activity.

DEKKER:   We do so, but we’re not as big into health care as some of the other operations are. It’s just the nature of our client base.

AMI:   3 to 5 years in the future what do you think will be your biggest technology challenge?

DEKKER:   Probably management of process enhancement and repeatability controls.

AMI:   What do you find the biggest business challenge facing your company in this space today?

DEKKER:   Misperception by customers or potential customers. It’s the “print me a Stradivarius” “print me a firearm”. Printing firearms with 3D printed PLA materials or ABS materials should not even be under discussion. Any engineer would understand that the material science behind that is a recipe for disaster. But you start getting the publicity and the popularity that the term 3D printing has been given recently and all of a sudden everybody thinks that if somebody else could print a gun then anybody can print a gun and they all work, although that is not true. So there is many times when the funding that is authorizing the go ahead on programs may not necessarily understand what they are authorizing.

AMI:   In 3 to 5 years do you have any thoughts of what might be the biggest business challenge then?

DEKKER:   Probably scalability and process control or manufacturing repeatability.

AMI:   What do you wish that the companies that interact with your firm, I suppose either as suppliers or potentially as customers, understood better about the nature or constraints of your business?

DEKKER:   Very likely the fact that we probably handle a factor of 10 on the number of geometry and applications compared to what an engineer developing a product or a customer would be dealing with. Therefore common sense is not so common when you apply that broad of a brush to it. It starts getting difficult to get the interpretations clear, correct, and concise, and the communication as a consistently clear communication is a constant challenge.

AMI:   We have heard that computer aided design tools, because mostly they have been developed implicitly for other forms of manufacturing, really just don’t work well in this area. Do you agree with that statement and does it aggravates some of the problems you’ve talked about with communication?

DEKKER:   No, I think a lot of technologies are in place for manufacturing in the design space. There are enormous amount of design-enabled communication tools with the amount of data – not just physical representation of the file but how much can be attached within that file and the other digital representation of parts. If you process and send it in a very simple file like STL file format then you lose a lot of that data, and yes it becomes complicated but the bigger issue is making sure that information actually gets communicated across. I think that is a problem strictly because so many companies have different procedures for how they transmit and how they process and handle data. Not all of them are necessarily as savvy as others and sometimes a little piece of information can be missed and an email doesn’t quite communicate it very well.

AMI:   Is that one of the constraints, the need for great deal of clarity and exactly what you’re asking for?

DEKKER:   That’s part of it, whether that gets addressed by standards or it gets addressed by embedded data or addressed by open lines of communications. Right now it is still something that people need to consider before you just send the file and press print.

AMI:   Is there any segment of the whole ecosystem of additive manufacturing that you would like to understand better in the sense of what are their plans, goals, wishes, initiatives and possibly constraints and obstacles that would help you service them better?

DEKKER:   I would have to say a lot of it is the equipment manufacturers. I can completely respect the right and the need for patents and the protection that they provide, however, it also creates a very diverse set of capabilities that no longer becomes uniform to any one technology. A lot of these companies are not major, they are not Haas, they are not that size of manufacturer where they can go through and develop everything. So their resources are limited and the ability to interact and move their own technology forward is held by that. I think as their technology moves forward that will be a huge enabler to put the constraints that are needed for process repeatability and reliability for standards to develop and for buyers to procure products with less confusion.

AMI:   You spoke earlier about the development of standards and that you’re active in that. Are there any other areas like standards, i.e. areas where some kind of group action by multiple organizations in the space would speed the adoption and commercialization of additive technology?

DEKKER:   Workforce development training. Also process repeatability and reliability, and process control; followed by standards that can support and embrace that process control and repeatability.

AMI:   With any industry that’s growing as additive manufacturing and its allied services, the pace of innovation and development would generally require heavy amounts of capital. Do you agree with and if so where do you see this capital coming from?

DEKKER:   Yes I agree with that. It is a capital intensive environment. I see this capital probably coming from a lot of investment organizations and groups. I don’t necessarily mean start-ups but growth ventures, joint ventures and then again their used to be a lot of that growth that comes through maturation of the industry which would encompass and include mergers and acquisitions and things like that as well organic growth.

AMI:   Some people seem to anticipate something of a wave of consolidation so that bigger companies would be able to essentially foot the bill for various advances that need to take place. Do you agree with that forecast or you just think it will be more opportunistic as people achieve synergies?

DEKKER:   I think there are going to be some roll-ups but there will also be people looking to get out and people looking to get in. 5 years from now and, 10 years from now will it be as visible? I suppose that depends on where the prospects are, where the maturation level is and where the ability to move things forward is. I think we’ll see continued rate of change to some degree in the industry and a lot of that is strictly because of the fact that a lot of very good technologists – creative and inventive people – will come up with ideas and there will be others that have the funding to be able to make those ideas move to the next level. We’ve seen a lot of that before, it hasn’t been quite as visible and as public, but I don’t foresee it stopping.  Of course there are always people who will think they can jump on and take a quick ride. I guess you can have all measures in the spectrum but I see continued movement in the market if you will.

AMI:   There has been a good deal of discussion in the technology press about the problems that additive manufacturing may pose for intellectual property.  Are you or your organization concerned about any of this?

DEKKER:   It’s not our approach to target intellectual property or opportunities to engage in and leverage or develop our own internal intellectual property. We do develop a lot of our own processes and procedures and technologies to move things forward but not from the stand point of what can we do to secure intellectual property. I feel that the people who do have a lot of intellectual property invested in this arena or market space may very well have some issues.  While I think that’s one part of it, I think the designers and the intellectual product properties or intellectual property related to product, not specifically additive manufacturing, is the problem. The problem is the fact that you can now take and copy almost anything with just a scanner, some software, and a couple pieces of equipment. Buy one, make a hundred of them. How that intellectual property is going to be controlled, supported, and protected, is a much larger question than I can answer.

Obviously there are still some economic issues behind this. Just because you can print a cell phone cover doesn’t mean you will run out and buy a piece of equipment and then go see what free files you can get off the web to feed to this computer so that you can get a few thousand dollar cell phone cover case. That said it’s not that you couldn’t do that. The situation is more like the automotive manufacturers, they all buy their competitors’ vehicles and they tear them apart and see what they can find. Reverse engineering is a lot more feasible with 3D printing.

AMI:   We have heard that a lot of the innovations and techniques and approaches and materials come from all over in the additive manufacturing space, and that health care is a dynamic area. Are there any other industry verticals that you are particularly interested to track developments in?

DEKKER:   I think health care has an enormous potential. When I say health care I’m not talking products as in electronics and components and things like that. I’m talking more so of the variety of different devices that are patient specific and the number of different types of implants or dental devices, or anything that’s customized towards patients is an enormous market. So as you start taking into consideration those different avenues it is a huge opportunity and that’s not even going so far as to entering into the surgical rooms or any sort of procedures specific devices.

We’re looking into some of it but it’s not necessarily a specific area that we are targeted towards. We don’t have the certifications for health care type products, and we don’t have the procedures and everything for that so it’s not an area that we have made a focus of ours.

The key areas that we have mainly targeted are areas where direct manufacturing has an easy opportunity to fit and those being aerospace, military-type programs where you’ve got a low volume, high value added components.

AMI:   I’ve also had a lot of comparisons between adoption of additive manufacturing and the adoption of composite technologies by aerospace, do you think that’s a reasonable comparison?

DEKKER:   No, I think there will be faster adoption of additive manufacturing than composite.

AMI:   Are there other technologies whose history might serve as the better model?

DEKKER:   I’d like to say that computers somewhat with the technology advancements. I think we’re kind at the ground floor here still with what the total potentials are but I see an enormous amount of things converging on this from the ease of communication of information, the speed of processing power, the ability to define representation and electronic space, manipulation of that data, ability to apply calculations and formulas to optimize that data. There is a huge number of things that can really cause some explosion that are all coming together but how quickly they are going to come together is hard to say. The first computer took up an entire huge building. I think it was IBM that came out and said that nobody will ever want to have one of these things in their home. Now you can’t walk around without one in your pocket.

**This interview was originally published on Advanced Manufacturing Insight. It was also featured on Robotics Tomorrow.

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Met-L-Flo, Inc. Newsletter – June 2014

Header pic Met-L-Flo Trivia Section
Everyone needs a little fun in your workday! Here’s our trivia section to add some fun and competition to your day. We look forward to your responses.
America the Beautiful
1. What day did most of the signatures take place on the Declaration of Indepence?

A. August 2, 1776
B. July 4, 1776
C. September 8, 1776
D. July 19, 1776

2. What US President was born on 4th of July

A. Ronald Reagan
B. Calvin Coolidge
C. Dwight D. Eisenhower
D. John Adams

3. How many other countries celebrate the 4th of July? (Bonus points if you can name them)

A. 8
B. 4
C. 1
D. 6

4. What year did congress vote the 4th of July a paid federal holiday in the US?

A. 1938
B. 1941
C. 1976
D. 1921

5. How many US Presidents have died on the 4th of July? (Bonus points if you can name them)

A. 4
B. 6
C. 3
D. 7

Please send your guesses/requests for the correct matches to:
newsletter@met-l-flo.com
Answers from last trivia:
Ready for Spring?
1. Who coined the phrase, “April showers bring May Flowers”?
Thomas Tusser
2. What is the meaning behind “April showers brings May flowers”?
Patience
3. How did spring cleaning come about?
Coal that was used to heat the home during the winter got every where, and needed to be cleaned
4. When is the cut-off time for planting summer flowers and food, for the midwest?
End of May
If you’ve got an idea for a great trivia teaser, please submit it to the email above for possible inclusion in a future addition.


Met-L-Flo Spotlight:
Met-L-Flo is stepping up our presence in social media. It’s a great way to keep up to date on new technologies and developments within our industry and others. We look forward to interacting with our followers, sharing company events and information, interesting industry news, and plenty of photos. We hope you’ll add us to your social media network.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and our WordPress blog.

facebook twitter wordpress pinterest googleplus

 


 

Tippy the turtleTips from Tippy the turtle:
It’s time for Fourth of July celebrations – fireworks, a backyard barbecue, maybe a trip to the beach. Whatever you have planned, Met-L-Flo and the American Red Cross want you to enjoy your holiday. Here are some steps they can follow to assure the safety of your family and friends.

FIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, they should follow these safety steps:
• Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
• Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
• Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
• Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
• Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
• Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
• Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Wondering if fireworks are legal in your state? Follow this link to find out… http://blog.usa.gov/post/54109217133/are-fireworks-legal-in-your-state

GRILLING SAFETY Every year people in this country are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. Follow these steps to safely cook up treats for the backyard barbecue:
• Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
• Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area.
• Make sure everyone, including the pets, stays away from the grill.
• Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
• Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.

BEACH SAFETY If someone’s visit to the shore includes swimming in the ocean, they should learn how to swim in the surf and only swim at a lifeguarded beach, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. Other safety tips include:
• Keep alert for local weather conditions. Check to see if any warning signs or flags are posted.
• Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
• Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
• Protect the neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
• Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
• Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.
Additional water safety tips are available at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety

SUN PROTECTION Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply sunscreen often. Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight. Protect the feet – the sand can burn them and glass and other sharp objects can cut them.
During hot weather, watch for signs of heat stroke—hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. If it’s suspected someone is suffering from heat stroke:
• Call 9-1-1 and move the person to a cooler place.
• Quickly cool the body by applying cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin (or misting it with water) and fanning the person.
• Watch for signs of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP Another thing you can do is download the free Red Cross first aid app which puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at your fingertips. The app is available for direct download from the Apple or Google Play for Android app stores.
http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app


Met-L-Flo’s Show Updates:

AMUG:
Additive Manufactures Users Group (AMUG) is an industry-wide users group that provides its members with a forum for learning and establishing professional connections. MET-L-FLO has been participating in AMUG shows for close to 20 years
and would like to extend the invitation to you. Anyone who is involved in the additive manufacturing industry is always a welcome addition. Next year’s AMUG is being held in Jacksonville, Florida April 19 through April 22, 2015.
AUVSI:

An Exhibitor list that included Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman along with 600 international companies and an attendance of over 6,000 helped make the 2014 AUVSI show in Orlando, FL a great success for Met-L-Flo…..so much so, that we’ve already reserved our spot for the 2015 show in Atlanta, GA! Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is a non-profit organization focused on unmanned systems and robotics. The advancement in prototype materials has opened the door for use of AM materials on flight hardware. It’s no surprise that “drone” was the buzzword of the show this year as everyone was talking about what’s out there now and what will be available shortly. Hopefully we’ll see you there in 2015.

Rapid:

The Rapid conference took place in “The Motor City” this year and Met-L-Flo wouldn’t miss it! Met-L-Flo has been involved with the Rapid Conference for many years and it seems to get better every year. The attendance is great and the many different sessions are extremely informative. There are always new machines being unveiled and talked about at this conference, so if that’s what you seek…….get over to the Rapid Conference next year in Long Beach, Ca!


Ramping up for the Rapid:
One of the most anticipated events at the Rapid conference is always the “puzzle”. For several years the conference has sponsored a 3D printing contest for students to design a part that can be broken into several pieces and then assembled by the attendees of the show.

This year’s contest winners were Western Illinois University students, Scottie Waldhaus and Darren Walker. After their design was chosen it was validated by Met-L-Flo and the pieces were assigned to 9 different show exhibitors to produce in various processes encouraging attendees to engage exhibitors in order to discover who has the pieces at their booths. This year’s collaborating exhibitors were American Precision Prototyping, C-Ideas, Envision TEC, Harvest Technologies, Materialize, Rapid Prototype + Manufacturing, Roush Manufacturing, Stratasys and Met-L-Flo. Pieces were created in the SLA, SLS, PolyJet, and Photopolymer processes. Here at Met-L-Flo we all got in on the fun…


Up Coming Events:
MET-L-FLO has always worked toward facilitating education by presenting industry intelligence at conferences, schools, client visits, and on the web. Now we are looking to make that education more personal and closer to home, so close that we are holding a open house lunch and learn right here at our own facility. Our first open house will be the 1st of August here in Sugar Grove!
This open house will have educational presentations and tours. The presentations will be tailored to differing levels of expertise as defined by the audience. We will be asking registrants for what information they would like to hear. Watch for a Save the Date annoucement later this week.
We will be including a collection of items to help communicate and illustrate the talking points. We will also be doing a drawing for door prizes and gift cards. Hopefully you will be able to join us for this exciting event. If you have special requests, please let us know and we will try to address them as well.


President’s Message:
Summer is always an excellent time to get together with family and friends. Here at Met-L-Flo we look forward to those times as well. We hope that you will be able to make precious memories this summer that you can carry with you for a life time.
May all of your travels and outings be safe and enjoyable. We look forward to sharing stories so all the memories may keep you warm even in those unpleasant cold months. Best wishes for a safe and memorable summer!
Carl Dekker
President
MET-L-FLO Inc.


We’d love to know what other subject matter would be beneficial for you in future editions. Please send your ideas and suggestions to newsletter@met-l-flo.com

MET-L-FLO INC. 720 Heartland Drive Unit S Sugar Grove, IL 60554
Telephone 1-800-MET-L-FLO 630-409-9860 Fax 630-409-9869
Email: support@met-l-flo.com

 

 

 

 

 

Met-L-Flo, Inc. Newsletter – April 2014

Met-L-Flo Trivia Section

Everyone needs a little fun in your workday! Here’s our trivia section to add some fun and competition to your day. We look forward to your responses.

Ready for Spring? Here are a few questions to get you geared up for the season!

Who coined the phrase, “April showers bring May Flowers”?

A. Jimi Hendrix
B. Thomas Tusser
C. George Washington
D. Janis Joplin

What is the meaning behind “April showers brings May flowers”?

A. Need for change
B. Mother Nature is crying
C. Patience

How did spring cleaning come about?

A. Warm temperatures excite people to clean
B. Coal that was used to heat the home during the winter got every where, and needed to be cleaned
C. People had nothing better to do

When is the cut-off time for planting summer flowers and food, for the midwest?

A. End of May
B. Middle of October
C. End of March

Answers from last trivia:

How well do you know holiday movie trivia?
1. Who was the voice of the mailman in the 1970 claymation story of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.
Frank Sinatra

2. What is Clark Griswald’s brother-in-law’s name in the movie “Christmas Vacation”?
Cousin Eddy

3. In the 1994 rendition of “Miracle of 34th Street” what is the name of the department store Santa saves with his new marketing campaign?
Cole’s
Please send your guesses/requests for the correct matches to:
newsletter@met-l-flo.com
If you’ve got an idea for a great trivia teaser, please submit it to the email above for possible inclusion in a future addition.

Industry Activity:

ASTM Intl F42 Update

As of February 2014, eight Additive Manufacturing industry standards have been or are in the process to be published by the ASTM Intl. Two of the eight standards are being published with the support of the International Standardization of Organization. These combined standards are one example of the global support and impact this committee is having on the Additive Manufacturing and 3-D printing industry. Continuous growth and development is essential to the evolution to continue to be successful, this is due to the very dedicated members. It is Met-L-Flo’s pleasure to support ASTM F42 group, not only as a member, but also with our very own President, Carl Dekker as an elected Chair Member.

An update on these activities was presented on Wednesday, April 9 at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group presentation. Task group meetings will be held at RAPID 2014. The next committee meeting will occur following the RM Conference in Nottingham, UK on July 10th and 11th.

Contract revisions and their importance:

Why does Met-L-Flo review revisions in your Terms and Conditions on purchase orders?

Contract revisions are very important to Met-L-Flo to guarantee our customer’s orders are successful.

Your contract revisions allow Met-L-Flo to be updated and informed on any changes made to your Terms and Conditions. When a customer of Met-L-Flo has a revision change; such as changes for shipping procedures, legal disclaimers, or certificate of conformance it is our responsibility to review and verify that the new requirements are consistent with the data on file. Most importantly we want to make sure Met-L-Flo is going above and beyond to satisfy our customers’ needs by following the practices set forth and defined by our customers’ Terms and Conditions.

If you have any questions or concerns please ask your Program Manager or Account Manager for more information.

 

Met-L-Flo Process Spotlight:

The Next Generation of SLA Material
Now introducing Accura® Xtreme™ White-200, known as one of the toughest and most durable SLA material available today. This material creates solutions to some of rapid prototyping’s biggest challenges. Accura®ᵒXtreme™ White 200 offers high elongation at break of 14-22%, high impact strength of 7540 – 10300 psi with the rigidity and strength of ABS plastic. Best of all, parts built in this new resin showcase a stunning white finish.

This material is perfect for form, fit and functional prototypes, including assemblies that must withstand harsh environments. Some examples include snap fits, consumer electronic components, automotive parts, and devices that need to be bolted together.

As a team we have been building and testing the durability of this resin firsthand on our SLA machines. Met-L-Flo agrees, Accura®ᵒXtreme™ is the “Gold Standard” of SLA materials! We are very excited to offer this solution to our clients.

Tips from Tippy the turtle:
Earth Day is coming up and garden season is underway as well. Here is a tip to help you get into the spirit of the season. Composting is a great way to reduce garbage and amp up your garden. When starting a compost, you will need a compost container found at your local hardware stores. Assemble your compost container directly on the ground. Next, you will want to build a couple of layers in the composter container using items easily found in your house and back yard. Start with a layer of 2-3 inch thick sticks; this will help your compost to breathe. Next, you will add essential components that will make your compost dirt. The materials need to be a ratio of 1/3 nitrogen material and 2/3 carbon material. Nitrogen materials, also known as wet materials, include your leftover vegetable peals, used coffee grounds, and freshly cut grass clippings. Carbon materials, also known as dry materials, include shredded paper, eggshells, and dried leaves. In a few weeks’ time, the nitrogen material will decompose with the carbon material creating optimal dirt for your garden, all the while recycling materials around your house. Here’s to a green thumb this season!

 

Met-L-Flo’s exhibits this year!

Shows Update!

Please read the details below to find out how to be our guest!
AMUG:
Additive Manufactures Users Group (AMUG) is an industry-wide users group that provides its members with a forum for learning and establishing professional connections. MET-L-FLO has been participating in AMUG shows for close to 20 years, and would like to extend the invitation to you. Anyone who is involved in the additive industry, please contact us for information about attending this show. Next year’s AMUG is being held in Jacksonville, Florida from April 19th through April 22nd.

AUVSI:
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is a non-profit organization focused on unmanned systems and robotics. The advancement in prototype materials has opened the door for use of AM materials on flight hardware. The conference is taking place at the Orange Country Convention Center May 13th-May 15th in Orlando, Florida. MET-L-FLO would like to invite you as our special guest for free. Please use the link provided to register. http://www.auvsishow.org/auvsi2014/public/Content.aspx?ID=1429

Rapid:
Rapid is an event managed by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) which showcases Rapid technologies and Additive Manufacturing processes. We feel that exhibiting and attending this show is crucial to ensure our staff is on the cutting edge of 3-D printing and Additive Manufacturing techniques. Please contact MET-L-FLO to receive your free pass as our guest! The Rapid show is being held in Detroit, Michigan from June 9th-June 12th.

We look forward to seeing you there!

President’s Message:

I was recently invited to a local junior high school career day which caused me to reflect on communication. When asked, ‘what does an average day look like?’ I found the question to be enlightening. The answer was not full of the fun things I typically express about the parts we produce. An average day is filled with meetings, e-mails, conference calls, some more meetings, and reports. All of the tasks on the daily agenda surround the objective of clear communication.

While working in new products industry, the importance of clear communication is the key to being successful. When a new concept from one person’s mind develops, the idea then needs to be clearly communicated to an individual as well as a team who is responsible to produce the idea into 3-D. This can present some challenges, and has lead us to one of our key philosophies ‘work closely with customers at all times; before, during, and after a program’. We strive to get a clear understanding of our client’s requirements, so we are able to produce the correct output in the required time.

Many factors can impact the scope of work a program will require. Some examples include items in the contractual requirements, data handling, shipping, and invoicing. Much of this does not affect the manufacturing process of the product, but can be very troublesome when keeping relations open for ongoing programs. In addition, some of the challenges our team will stumble upon are part of the process in producing what the customer wants, or more importantly needs. Finding a way to communicate properly and effectively of how and what resources it will take to get the job completed can be a challenge to overcome.

During the career day event, I was able to communicate how 3D Printing, or Additive Manufacturing is applied in our world, yet there was not enough time to communicate how difficult some of the samples were to accomplish. To help the team and I get through these challenges, I always remember advice that was given to me on my first contracting program. The advice came from a sub-contractor, he said “Choose good subs, ask for their input, and trust that they know what can be done.” This is not to say trust openly, but once you have trust and most importantly communication, it can make all the difference for a successful project.

Have a great and productive 2014!
Carl Dekker
President
MET-L-FLO Inc.

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MET-L-FLO INC. 720 Heartland Drive Unit S Sugar Grove, IL 60554
Telephone 1-800-MET-L-FLO 630-409-9860 Fax 630-409-9869

Email: support@met-l-flo.com