Brad Kuvin Brad Kuvin
Editorial Director

Ramping Up—Key Factors for Leaders to Remember

May 12, 2020

While it’s disappointing that the additive manufacturing (AM) industry will not gather in person in 2020 for industry events such as AMUG and Rapid + TCT, AM’s unwavering momentum continues to build. There’s no stopping the rapid pace of technology development and integration, and 3D Metal Printing magazine remains committed to keeping our vast audience of readers in the medical, aerospace, automotive and other key industry segments informed. And, we join all of you in recognizing the numerous contributions that AM companies continue to make in the global fight against COVID-19.

There are numerous examples of this activity, the latest of which has ExOne collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh to develop 3D-printed reusable metal filters for use in respirators. The filters, printed from copper or Type 316L stainless steel, fit into a specially designed respirator cartridge developed by the Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science department in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.

“The advantage…is the ability to utilize the porosity of the printed part and then fine tune it during the high-temperature densification or sintering process to achieve optimum filtering and airflow performance,” says Markus Chmielus, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the Swanson School.”

But let us also focus on day-to-day life as our manufacturing facilities begin to ramp up operations, and on the critical role that shop owners and their top-level managers will play in this successful reboot. Merely having a compelling vision or plan is not enough; leaders must demonstrate their commitment to employees. Managers, for example, should spend plenty of time on the plant floor, donning masks and gloves, to exemplify the company’s commitment to safety. Chat with workers—at a distance of 6-plus ft. Nod, wave and make eye contact (over the mask). It’s important to be seen, to instill confidence in your workforce that you are doing the right things.

Employees will see through any insincerity or lack of leadership commitment. And, at the end of the day, our manufacturing companies are comprised of people. Work to win their hearts, to fully embrace your vision of the organization and to embrace the new norm, for however long it continues.

Finally, here’s some more practical advice, recently released by OSHA:

  • Establish flexible work hours such as staggered shifts, if feasible.
  • Where possible, discourage workers from using other workers’ tools and equipment. To the extent that tools or equipment must be shared, provide and instruct workers to use alcohol-based wipes to clean tools before and after use.
  • Practice sensible social distancing and maintain 6 ft. between co-workers, where possible.
  • For work activities where social distancing is a challenge, consider limiting the duration of these activities or implementing innovative approaches, such as temporarily moving or repositioning workstations to create more distance, or installing barriers (e.g., plexiglass shields) between workstations.
  • Train workers on how to properly put on, use and wear, take off, and maintain protective clothing and equipment.


See also: ExOne

Technologies: Management


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