Solutionology Podcast

Brian Douglass, DI Labs COO & Carl Douglass P.E., DI Labs CEO

Welcome to Solutionology! This podcast was created by DI Labs, an additive manufacturing and industrial 3D printing service bureau built by product development and manufacturing engineers. Our hosts, DI Labs Co-Founders Brian and Carl Douglass, are “solutionologists” who solve problems and create new opportunities for customers by leveraging their diverse and powerful fleet of cutting-edge additive technologies. They'll be using this platform to share a wide range of the most challenging product development and manufacturing problems they are tackling these days using additive technology and a mindset of solutionology. read less
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Episodes

Ep #24 | Using a Digital Mindset in Product Development & Manufacturing
Mar 25 2024
Ep #24 | Using a Digital Mindset in Product Development & Manufacturing
What is a digital mindset, and how does it add value to the product development, design, management & manufacturing process?In Episode #24 of the Solutionology Podcast Carl Douglass, P.E. and Brian Douglass from DI Labs dig into this topic. Brian starts by providing a simple definition of a digital mindset from the DI Labs perspective. "A digital mindset is a way for us to stay flexible throughout a process or project... so that we're not locked into a preconceived bias... it's the ability to create rapid changes and store them in a quick and lightweight format like digital..."Carl then quotes an article from the Harvard Business Review by Tsedal Neeley and Paul Leonardi called, "*Developing a Digital Mindset." Under the section "Change as a Constant" he reads:According to change management theory, organizations move from a current state to a transitional state and then on to a future state... In a digitally driven world, however, there is no endpoint to the transitional phase.This excerpt resonated with Brian and Carl due to the never-ending state of transition, which is a mindset they embrace. Listen to the full episode to hear more.**Find the full article here.At DI Labs, we've been applying a digital mindset for a long time and now help clients build it into their programs and products, leading us to what's next! Stay tuned to learn more about the custom-designed Solutionology Sessions we'll be offering to companies interested in mobilizing their teams with a digital mindset.More about DI Labs: dilabs.ccFind more episodes of the Solutionology Podcast on YouTube.
Episode #21 | When to Consider Additive Manufacturing for Production
Oct 11 2023
Episode #21 | When to Consider Additive Manufacturing for Production
In this mini-episode of the Solutionology Podcast, we’re addressing some of the most common questions we get about volume production using additive manufacturing. In fact, these questions were the driving force behind a technical presentation that Carl Douglass, DI Labs CEO, created and will be delivering at the Medical Device and Manufacturing tradeshow in Minneapolis. We’re just getting warmed up and hope to see you there! Common questions about volume production with additive manufacturing:What types of applications and projects are the right fit? What reasons should drive the decision to use additive?What reasons should drive the decision NOT to use additive?What does the production part approval (PPAP) process look like?Takeaways from Carl’s presentation:To successfully leverage additive for production, build it in earlyHigh-tolerance parts are possibleAdditive shouldn’t be considered the end-all-be-allAdditive can be a superpower if used in the right applicationsRelated Content: MD&M technical presentation detailsArticle in "Plastics Today" about the presentationChapters & Topics: 00:00 Intro00:15 Welcome00:40 MD&M presentation takeaways02:27 Go & yield applications for additive04:51 Organizational limitations05:34 Need a champion and stakeholders08:28 Keys for successful production09:27 Developing a production part approval process11:37 Validating biocompatibility for medical device 13:35 Biggest shortcomings in preparing for additive 14:06 See you at MD&MMore about DI Labs: https://dilabs.cc/
Episode #18 | The Impact of Rapid Modeling at Full Scale: Cirrus Fuselage
Aug 21 2023
Episode #18 | The Impact of Rapid Modeling at Full Scale: Cirrus Fuselage
Don’t miss this conversation with a favorite client and good friend, Mike Van Staagen. Mike is a renowned designer of aircraft, mobility solutions, products of all sorts, and a manufacturing engineer with an award-winning 30-year career. He currently serves as the VP of Advanced Design and Development for Cirrus Aircraft while also operating his own design firm. Mike's many accolades include helping to envision, design and lead teams for the best-selling Cirrus SR20/22 aircraft. He was also the creator and driving force behind the Cirrus SF50 Vision personal jet. In this episode, Mike explains the daunting challenge he brought to DI Labs during the design phase of a new Cirrus aircraft project. Our solution, which was delivered to Cirrus in just 30 days, was a full-scale fuselage prototype created using additive manufacturing. We printed over 130 thin-walled panels and developed a proprietary system of mechanical joints and assembly to build a 10' x 4.5' model that became the ambassador of Mike’s new design concept. Dimensional accuracy was critical in this project which is why it is a perfect example of Mike's theory that 1/8 of an inch can make all the difference.00:00 01:07 Welcome and introduction 03:32 Accomplishments at Cirrus04:30 Ideas behind the Cirrus SR20 & SR2207:14 Creating the best passenger experience08:07 Hand constructed full-scale fuselage of the vision jet11:12 The  ⅛’s of an inch difference12:11 3D printed full-scale fuselage shows ⅛’s of an inch14:22 An accomplishmentSee this project profile on our website: https://dilabs.cc/portfolio-item/full...Watch all the episodes on YouTube: Solutionology Podcast  Learn more about DI Labs: https://dilabs.cc/
Episode #17 | A CFO's Perspective on Innovation
Jul 6 2023
Episode #17 | A CFO's Perspective on Innovation
This episode of the Solutionology podcast is unlike any other we've done. Our guest is Todd Buness, the CFO and President of Prinsco, a long standing product development client of DI Labs. In this conversation we do a deep dive into the business and finance side of product innovation from his perspective. It's a topic that takes us away from the technical details of additive manufacturing and highlights how the benefits of additive support innovation with speed, rapid learning, and flexibility to iterate. Todd is a great storyteller and shares specific examples of how this has played out in companies he's worked for such as Cargill, Heraeus, and Prinsco. He describes himself as a "manufacturing guy" and not a typical CFO because of his strategic focus on bringing together the functional units of an organization to drive success. He talks about understanding customer needs, designing the right thing, getting something into customer hands as soon as possible for feedback, getting to market quickly to start a revenue stream and building a partner relationship with clients. It's a long-term, solutions-based way of thinking that is very aligned with our approach at DI Labs which is why these types of conversations are so much fun for us! Enjoy!00:00 Intro05:02 Inside the episode07:42 Bringing together engineering, manufacturing and sales08:30 Heraeus contract manufacturing approach10:21 Medical component example14:18 Not a typical finance guy15:35 Shifting the customer perspective at Cargill16:49 First ever customer solutions strategy18:25 Converting a commodity business into a solution model19:36 Beer barley examples22:21 Helping customers shift their thinking25:57 Story of shifting from commodity vs solution customers29:53 Scarcity mindset to opportunity mindset31:55 Enlarging the pie vs getting the lowest price33:04 Classifying customers to service them correctly34:19 Challenges of managing a program37:30 Advice to your younger self39:46 Getting the commitment to get programs launchedhttps://dilabs.cc/
Episode #15 | PAEK: The Superhero of Ultra-High-Performance Materials
May 8 2023
Episode #15 | PAEK: The Superhero of Ultra-High-Performance Materials
Do you have experience with ultra-high-performance PEEK materials? Come from an industrial application with harsh chemical & thermal conditions? Robert McKay & Silvia Berretta of Victrex have extensive experience with PEEK and have been instrumental in launching PAEK, an ultra-high-performance option to PEEK with increased printability & more flexible processing window. In fact, VictrexAM™ 200 PAEK is now a Stratasys validated material. We've experienced challenges printing with PEEK & believe the processing ease & flexibility offered by PAEK could vastly accelerate the adoption of additive across applications like aerospace, defense, medical, heavy industrial & electronics. Learn how PAEK is an additive manufacturing superhero!00:00 Intro01:52 PEEK material & challenges05:26 Intro to Victrex, inventor of PEEK06:04 PAEK is the true superhero06:30 Meet Robert McKay & Silvia Berretta09:33 Victrex & PEEK designed for injection molding10:35 Evidence of PEEK’s use worldwide11:25 Victrex manufacturing12:20 The AM world in Victrex13:26 PEEK support group?14:07 PAEK pulled by trends15:50 Relationship between PEEK & PAEK16:21 Misconceptions of PAEK18:42 PAEK molecular differences & crystallization speed21:39 PAEK lower viscosity & wider processing window23:00 PAEK soluble supports & a sweet spot of crystallization26:25 Victrex & the Stratasys OpenAM program28:55 OpenAM Beta & first part using AM 200 PAEK34:36 Acceptance and success of PAEK36:47 PAEK qualified for aerospace flight uses38:28 Defining certifications to achieve39:36 Higher chemical resistance45:34 Reinforcement additives48:25 Requests for fiber-filled filament49:45 Specifying materials for additive51:21 Drivers of carbon fiber 53:02 Advice about exploring PAEK55:22 Confidence to align PAEK with PEEK applicationsPAEK at DI Labs
Episode #12 | The Two-Week Effect: A Friendship that Shaped Our Culture
Feb 17 2023
Episode #12 | The Two-Week Effect: A Friendship that Shaped Our Culture
In this episode, we brought our great friend and team member, Justin Hildebrandt, into the podcast studio during his annual stint at DI Labs. You see, Justin has spent two weeks a year for the past ten years as a DI Labs Solutionologist. Why only two weeks? Because the rest of the year he's a highly skilled pilot as part of his family's agricultural aviation business in Colorado. Justin is a lifelong friend of Brian, Carl, and Sean Douglass. He's also an avid learner and a passionate problem solver, which is why he spends time at DI Labs each year doing everything from repairing complex technologies, to building dye stations, to installing robots. During our discussion, Justin shares his unique perspective on our Solutionology culture. He describes witnessing significant, generational technology changes over the years paired with an incredible consistency in focus and customer-centered problem-solving.1:10 Welcome2:27 Justin’s background3:48 Crop dusting is like golf4:46 An introduction to precision6:06 Being an aircraft engine mechanic 7:24 Not a fit for the auto industry 7:59 Hunger to learn & high precision9:51 Two weeks a year for 10 years10:48 Modeling solutionology 11:31 Generational change and consistency13:14 Justin's definition of solutionology15:25 Advice to customers or team members16:27 Always hungry to do something new or better17:19 Evolution of the way we think18:31 Why DI Labs exists20:07 You make us betterLearn more: https://dilabs.cc
Episode #11 | Supporting Transformational Innovation in Medical Device
Jan 26 2023
Episode #11 | Supporting Transformational Innovation in Medical Device
This Solutionology episode is inspired by our work serving the medical device industry, which makes up over 50% of our business. We dig into the details of medical device applications but the takeaways apply to product innovation in many high-end applications where a manufacturing process that supports tight tolerances, exacting quality, unique geometries, design flexibility, and sealed surfaces is absolutely critical to success.You'll hear our take on the ways additive manufacturing currently serves medical device applications and the opportunities it has to create transformational innovation when considered earlier in product development cycles. It's an important topic as we prepare to attend the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) Tradeshow in California which will initiate all kinds of problem-solving and exploratory conversations about additive manufacturing with medical device innovators. Find us at MD&M: https://www.linkedin.com/events/md-mwest7022977598309748737/  Schedule a 1:1 engineering consult with Carl Douglass at MD&M:https://calendly.com/dilabs/am-eng-consultEpisode Topics: 01:08 Welcome02:13 Phases of medical device development03:14 Driving change toward additive03:32 Materials04:11 Functional aspects05:15 Process controls and traceability06:12 The speed of evolving technology06:54 Types of medical device we can support07:29 Cardiovascular applications07:54 Enclosures for medical device components08:15 Internal structures for medical device08:54 High mix low volume09:19 Applications in the operating room09:38 Analogue or digital10:50 Entire system - greatest advancement for additive12:11 Benchtop trials and iterate in weeks instead of months12:24 Design validation and clinical trials in months rather than years12:42 Supporting the switch from traditional manufacturing to AM13:40 Opportunities in concept phase for DFAM and components14:19 Design validation - adapting legacy design to AM15:22 Early-stage opportunities vs late-stage opportunities16:34 Ground zero allows for innovation and timeline advancement17:13 Supporting transformational innovation 18:04 Reducing timelines is our focus18:20 Full-color printing for enclosures can build confidence20:10 Enhancing the user experience20:50 Parts we'll have at MD&M21:42 Functional anatomical models23:46 Consistently high tolerance production 24:26 Visual CMM for dimensional analysis and quality control25:59 Preproduction analysis & predictive modeling27:26 Misconceptions about what it takes for consistency28:34 Quality is a core foundation30:14 Bring us your pain points at MD&M - connect with CarlFind us at MD&M: https://www.linkedin.com/events/md-mwest7022977598309748737/Schedule a 1:1 engineering consult with Carl Douglass at MD&M:https://calendly.com/dilabs/am-eng-consultListen to the Solutionology Podcast on...Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4p0F0SQHsTl5oXjFcy1x6zApple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/solutionology-podcast/id1667349314Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5idXp6c3Byb3V0LmNvbS8yMTA4NDM1LnJzcw==
Episode #10 | Discovering the Power of Additive: Phytec's Journey
Jan 12 2023
Episode #10 | Discovering the Power of Additive: Phytec's Journey
In this episode of the Solutionology Podcast, we talk with Serah Peterson, engineer and project lead at PHYTEC America, and learn about her experience working with DI Labs to solve a problem so many innovative companies face: bridging the gap between a new product and its final application so customers can connect more deeply with it, see its potential and appreciate its value.PHYTEC is an industry-leading provider and integrator of System on Modules (SOMs) which are core components of an embedded processing system. In 2022, they developed a software and chipset for EV chargers that included Texas Instrument components. When they contacted DI Labs, they had been displaying their new product in a fabricated acrylic housing that was functional but not at all reflective of the industry they wanted to serve. Join us to learn how Serah discovered additive as a potential solution and how DI Labs was able to design and manufacture an EV charger housing that would change the game for the launch of PHYTEC's innovative new product.The final PHYTEC solution delivered by DI Labs included product design, prototyping, and low-volume production using HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, Nylon PA12 material, Vapor Smooth finishing, and dyeing.Watch the full episode on YouTube!https://youtu.be/Ppak_YUXBb4 Episode Topics01:12 Welcome, PHYTEC02:53 Project details03:46 EV charger reference design: Rev 0 06:28 Framing the problem: the fish tank08:43 New product development process09:26 Initial sketches and translating10:57 You don't know what you don't know11:41 How DI Labs did it16:06 Working with electronic files16:49 Final design17:20 A housing to connect with customers19:24 Learning about SOMs21:30 PHYTEC's customer base23:07 Saving years getting to market24:10 Enabler for the advancement of technology25:02 Solving supply chain issues25:54 PHYTEC accelerates action27:40 Appreciating embedded systems28:04 Serah's journey to additive 29:22 "We have to injection mold, right?"33:00 Parallels of DI Labs & PHYTEC35:56 Bridging the gapMore about DI Labs: https://dilabs.cc
Episode #9 | The Journey Behind Our Mass Customization Use Case
Jan 12 2023
Episode #9 | The Journey Behind Our Mass Customization Use Case
There's lots of buzz about mass customization, but how do you actually apply it from a product development and manufacturing standpoint? In this episode, we dive into the details of our two-year journey using mass customization to develop our own direct-to-consumer brand called Threedom. It's a behind-the-scenes conversation about the challenges we faced creating the complex digital workflow necessary to scale one product design to nine products and over 30,000 SKUs. We talk about the opportunity we discovered to build an ever-expanding platform of unique products that connect with customers in a whole new way and you'll also get ideas about how to apply the concept of mass customization to functional or industrial parts.Watch the full episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ufsomEV1vbU Episode Topics01:03 Welcome02:35 Challenge of injection molding04:18 Speed to market and increased market share05:19 Difference in capital investment06:00 Uses of mass customization07:35 Visual personalization09:04 Serving unique market segments10:01 Business model innovation10:50 Our use case for mass customization14:50 Nine products15:15 38,500 digital files for 9 products17:24 Getting real-time feedback from customers19:55 Initial vision for tailored products20:32 Managing SKUs21:28 Building on demand & inventory management22:00 What we've learned23:21 Time investment in digital workflow24:24 It's really hard25:00 Competitive products26:16 One design became a product platform26:54 Applying it to functional or industrial parts28:28 Version control30:19 Surface textures31:39 Manufacturing process to manage complexity34:25 Defining key constraints35:01 Multi Jet Fusion36:01 Lessons after 2 years37:47 Apply our experience to your project38:52 Business model innovation vs part costs39:14 Perceived value of the product40:58 Powerful brand that connects with consumersLearn more about Threedom: https://dilabs.cc/portfolio-item/threedom/ Learn more about DI Labs: https://dilabs.cc/
Episode #8 | Additive Hype vs. Additive Reality
Jan 12 2023
Episode #8 | Additive Hype vs. Additive Reality
On this episode, we address an edgy topic that has caused more than a little frustration among customers and industry peers - “Additive Hype vs. Additive Reality.” To gain a broader perspective, we invited Kyle Harvey, Additive Manufacturing Business Unit Manager at Extol, to join us. He’s a self-proclaimed “recovering engineer” and outspoken educator in the additive space. Extol is a manufacturing technology company that provides plastic assembly technology, custom automation, and engineering services.Don’t miss this conversation! Here are the timestamped highlights:3:00 GUEST INTRO: Kyle introduces Extol and how they are working to shift the focus from parts to products5:52 HYPE: Additive offers high value within a business for functional prototypes and end-use production (i.e., it’s easy) REALITY: No one offers a game plan for making the value real (i.e., it’s difficult) 9:00 HYPE: You can buy a printer, push print, and catch the money as it prints out (i.e., it’s plug & play)REALITY: The additive adoption process is full of hidden costs for design, downtime and scrap (i.e., it’s expensive) 19:11 HYPE: The value of additive manufacturing is low-cost parts (i.e. it saves money)REALITY: Companies are offering below-cost pricing which is a race to the bottom (i.e., low cost = low quality) 22:52 HYPE: The fall of Fast Radius proves the additive industry bubble is bursting (i.e., it’s not as valuable as promised)REALITY: Additive has long-term value when done sustainably, but we’re seeing business model failures driven by unreal expectations. (i.e., success requires a wholistic approach)34:40HYPE: Printer manufacturers focused on selling “all the latest” hardware will drive success for our industry (i.e., more technology = more success)REALITY: Education about successful additive adoption must be pushed upstream to equipment suppliers and downstream to additive customers. (i.e., success can’t happen without education)38:38OUR ADVICE: Kyle, Carl & Brian offer words of advice to those getting started with additiveWatch the full episode on YouTube! https://youtu.be/ImahP5gcGYE More about DI Labs: https://dilabs.cc/