With additive manufacturing (AM) becoming an established part of many companies’ product development and manufacturing processes, there has been a growing understanding of the technology’s technical and business advantages. With that, more users at all points in the value chain are benefitting from lighter and more durable parts, increased design freedom and on-demand part production.
Metal fabrication does not lack for depth as an industry. No fewer than 6 distinct — and commonly used — techniques exist for the manufacture of metal pieces and parts in 2018. Each can be considered the “best” option given certain conditions. For this reason, it’s often tough for an organization looking to outsource a specific production run of components to decide just which method is right for them. The list of options is long, and it’s growing more nuanced by the day.
3DEO is a small business based out of Gardena, CA, about 15 minutes from LAX airport in Los Angeles. The company uses proprietary metal 3D printing technology to manufacture production components, primarily for applications in the aerospace, automation, defense, industrial, and medical industries. Production components, not prototypes. Right now, the company has eight of its proprietary metal 3D printers in a 13,000-square-foot facility, but the space could accommodate another 42 printers to meet demand.
While metal AM provides a host of positive advantages, it’s important to understand the realities of as-printed surface roughness. This understanding will help valve design and engineering teams understand the costs associated with bringing 3D printed parts to a suitable finish.
Product development can be a lengthy, complicated process with a broad spectrum of outcomes. According to Engineering.com, “Taking a product from concept to reality is an intricate, expensive and time-consuming process. It’s not easy and there is a high degree of risk involved.”
These five applications are proving that metal AM has a place in high volume production—and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
Overview of Intelligent Layering®
The first metal AM technology competitive with traditional manufacturing
Intelligent Layering® is the only metal 3D printing technology that beats traditional manufacturing in cost, quality, and turnaround. Buyers struggle to source small, complex metal parts due to high up-front costs, long lead times, and locked-in designs. 3DEO’s patented technology solves this by competing on price and quality with no up-front costs, short lead times, and unlimited design freedom.
In case you missed it, 3DEO recently presented on the economics of metal 3D printing and showed off its production capabilities for metal 3D printed parts at RAPID 2018. Get the full story here:
Overview of Material Jetting in Metal 3D Printing
Material Jetting is relatively new and similar to binder jetting, with one key difference -- instead of a binder being jetted through the printhead, a metallic material is jetted. This material is jetted onto the build tray directly using either a continuous jetting or Drop on Demand (DOD) process. The jetted metal is deposited on the build tray in the cross section of the part for that layer. This process continues as it builds up layer after layer. The resulting part still needs to be sintered in a furnace to achieve final part density. Previously, material jetting was limited to plastics and polymers, but recent advances have seen new companies attempting to commercialize the process for metals. XJet currently shows the most promise for material jetting with its patented NanoParticle Jetting technology and recently shipped its first commercial machine to a customer.