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Neal Shah
Carpenter Additive Case Study

BACKGROUND

Supplying the world with specialty alloys for over 130 years, Carpenter has earned its reputation as a premier specialty materials manufacturer. To meet the needs of their customers, Carpenter’s continuous innovations lead to the creation of Carpenter Additive in 2019. Serving the automotive, aerospace, and energy industries, Carpenter Additive has utilized Link3D to refine project management efficiency and team communications.

CHALLENGE

Carpenter Additive’s team of world class metallurgists and additive manufacturing experts support their customers with end-to-end metal AM solutions, including specialty alloys atomization, powder lifecycle management solutions, and end-to-end manufacturing services focused on materials data generation and qualification to help customers accelerate applications of AM. With a wide set of capabilities under one roof, from powder production to hot isostatic pressing (HIP) and heat treatment, Carpenter faced a real challenge–data consolidation.

Image courtesy of Carpenter Additive

“We have a mixture of R&D requests as well as customer requests coming in to support materials development, and it’s been tricky for us in the past to make sure that data is gathered in a convenient way and then to set up the workflow consistent with that,” says William Herbert, Director of Technology and R&D at Carpenter Additive. “The challenge is having to manage a large number of variable requests and project inputs across the whole team, from the people on the shop floor to project managers.”

SOLUTION

Carpenter Additive integrated Link3D into their daily workflow to create a strong backbone for a centralized digital thread. This digital thread aggregates information from builds, scheduling, and jobs, and overall streamlines operations through a centralized information hub. “Link3D gives management and our commercial team a tool to keep tabs on work order progress without micromanaging,” Will states. ”One of the really impactful things was the ability for any of us to log on from anywhere and understand the latest project status. We don’t have to ask or phone for information. We can just log on and see all the multiple moving pieces. This was especially helpful during 2020 when the pandemic forced the majority of our team to work from home.”

Machine operators also began using Link3D with tablets on the shop floor. Will shares that “operators now follow work instructions on iPads as opposed to pieces of paper that have to travel through the shop and result in analog data (lots of handwritten sheets).” In an industry like additive manufacturing where every build can be different, clear work instructions are paramount.

Image courtesy of Carpenter Additive

RESULTS

By creating a connected, centralized data hub with Link3D, Carpenter Additive:

- Gained 14% first print quality improvement

- Attained 22% productivity improvement at manufacturing centers

- Saved 12+ hrs / week in project management efficiencies

"I think every manufacturing company is going to have to have a digital transformation or be left in the dust. For Carpenter, a one hundred and thirty year old specialty metals manufacturer, additive is a new area that can blaze the trail for digitally enabled manufacturing and workflows. Implementing Link3D in our group shows what’s possible when enabling a digital thread type approach.”