Is additive manufacturing ready for mainstream production, or does it remain mostly a method for producing prototypes and spare parts? This is the question that faced a panel of experts at the Pacific Design and Manufacturing show in Anaheim last month.
As you may or may not know, the Intelligent Layering, a proprietary technology developed by 3DEO, provides the best as-printed surface finish in metal 3D printing. Customers have compared our surface finish to a "very nice cast finish" in that it's matte silver and silky smooth. While it's good enough in the as-printed state for many applications, there are also a number of options to improve or change the surface post print.
By extending the boundaries of the on-demand production concept, additive manufacturing is changing supply chains in many industries.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of 3D printing over conventional techniques is flexibility. Because unit quantity, complexity, and labor inputs account for a relatively small percentage of final part cost, 3D printing facilities—especially in production—play by a different set of rules. Thanks to its flexibility, additive manufacturing can be reactive to business cases in a way that traditional methods just can’t. The adaptive, on-demand production of parts has the potential to reshape the way many manufacturers do business.
Suppliers take note.
Parts consumers are not the only ones benefiting from 3D printing. Metal parts supplier 3DEO makes precision-engineered metal components on demand with its proprietary 3D metal printers featuring patented Intelligent Layering technology. The company specializes in manufacturing low/medium volumes, including complex part designs, and is selectively accepting new high-volume orders.
Given the optimism that metal AM will continue to grow in relevance for series production, it's natural to focus on future potential and skim over the present. However, that forward-looking mindset obscures the exciting developments already taking place in 3D metal printing. The technology as a tool to be used in full production runs is not some distant possibility. It's already here. 3DEO's president Matt Sand details five current examples of how metal AM is changing manufacturing at scale.
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.
These five applications are proving that metal AM has a place in high volume production—and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.
Given all the industry optimism that metal AM will continue to grow in relevance for series production, it’s natural to focus on future potential and skim over the present. That forward-looking mindset, however, sometimes obscures the exciting developments that are already taking place in the world of 3D metal printing. The advent of the technology as a tool to be used in full production runs is not some distant possibility. It’s already here. Here are the five best current examples of how metal AM is changing manufacturing at scale.
From machining to MIM, metal parts buyers have a wide range of options for addressing their part-production challenges. The key in choosing from among them is to remember that each technology brings something different to the table, and every part has unique requirements.
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.
Production runs of small, intricate metal components have traditionally been addressed by metal injection molding or investment casting. Some manufacturers, however, are finding that advances in 3D printing technology can make it a cheaper and faster alternative.
The question of which manufacturing method is best suited to metal part production can be complicated. It’s not a decision that can be reached by weighing only a single factor. To arrive at the best decision, it’s important for businesses to consider many factors and prioritize.
No matter how you slice it, the spike in industry-wide 3D printing revenues over the past 5 years has been impressive. A close look at that growth, however, reveals something interesting: it’s been disproportionately driven a small handful of vertical markets. Of these select markets, none has been as influential as MedTech. Metal-based additive manufacturing (AM), in particular, has proven to be perfectly suited to meet a number of needs in medical and dental device production.