Manufacturing in the 21st Century

By Ashley Eckhoff

Charles H. Duell was the Commissioner of US patent office in 1899. Legend has it that Mr. Duell said “Everything that can be invented has been invented!”* This is a common trope that comes around quite often. Someone says, “We’re done here,” only for them to be proven wrong as the world keeps moving. The manufacturing world is no different. Things keep evolving even after we get a handle on a technology and think “We’re done here”.

Additive Manufacturing part
A turbine blade that has been 3D printed

Which brings us to additive manufacturing (AM), otherwise known as 3D printing. While many companies have been satisfied with their production using legacy methods (“We’re done here.”), additive manufacturing has steadily gained capability. While the overall concept behind 3D printing has been around for decades, the use of AM has rapidly expanded in the past 5-7 years. In that time we’ve seen an explosion of additive use cases in industry.

At Siemens, we have built our additive manufacturing expertise by printing parts for use in our own products. Our medical, transportation, and energy divisions routinely print high-quality parts. We then bring knowledge about that process back into our software design.

Optimization for additive manufacturing
An optimized additive manufactured part

Speaking of software, the tools for designers and manufacturers of AM parts have also been evolving over the past few years. We’ve seen the rise of systems for optimizing parts, the ability to simulate the print process for “first time right” printing, innovative tools for creation of lightweight structures, and software to drive an ever expanding array of 3D printing hardware.

In this blog space, we intend to not just feature what Siemens is doing with additive manufacturing, but also what our partners and customers are doing with additive. Over the past few years, we have featured some exciting additive manufacturing stories, both from within and outside Siemens. This new technology is pushing the envelope, bringing manufacturing into the 21st century and Siemens will be there every step of the way.

* No record of Mr. Duell actually saying this has ever been found.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at