If you missed Matt's webinar, watch it here: Pros & Cons of 3D Printing Metal Components
Like any manufacturing technology, metal 3D printing has pros and cons.
There are four secrets to success in production with this exciting new technology:
- Realize the general pros and cons of metal 3D printing vs. traditional manufacturing
- Understand the different metal 3D printing processes and their advantages and disadvantages
- Understand which applications that are ideal for which processes
- Be able to build a winning business case that can carry the project into production
Let’s break down each and take it in turn.
Realize the General Pros and Cons of Metal 3D Printing
There’s a lot of hype behind metal 3D printing, so it can be hard to realize the true value being created by the breakthrough manufacturing technology. In general, the benefits of 3D printing fall into four main categories:
- Cost savings on complex or traditionally impossible geometries, especially in low volumes
- Faster development cycles lead to much more innovative and productive engineering teams
- New, previously impossible design possibilities
- Dramatic supply chain implications—manage less inventory and order parts on demand
Understand the different metal 3D printing processes & their advantages and disadvantages
There are MANY different processes to print metal parts. The processes are as varied as CNC machining is to investment casting, and they can’t be grouped into one category. The main metal 3D printing processes are:
- Intelligent Layering®
- Powder Bed Fusion
- Binder Jetting
- Metal Extrusion
- Directed Energy Deposition
- Material Jetting
Each process has pros and cons associated with it. For example, Intelligent Layering boasts excellent surface quality, low cost structure, and the ability to print very fine features. Powder Bed Fusion has proven itself successful in printing larger parts for high-value aerospace applications.
Understand Which Applications Are Best for Which Technologies
The applications are where the rubber meets the road in metal 3D printing. Previously we looked at the advantages and disadvantages of each process generically. Applications and case studies show success stories of the various technologies in the real world. There are many applications that are achieving success, and it’s helpful to analyze why each was successful so we can apply these lessons to future projects.
In the webinar, we’ll review several recent success stories from a variety of industries including aerospace, medical, and defense. Sign up for the webinar here
Build a Winning Business Case
With an understanding of pros and cons of each process and successful applications, it becomes possible to build a winning business case. In production, metal 3D printing has to compete on cost and value created. It’s critical to be able to dispassionately and quantitatively measure the value the selected metal 3D printing process is bringing to the table.
Measuring this value includes:
- Product / component pricing
- Cost of production including material cost, machine time, labor, and secondary ops
- Supply chain savings including less inv
- Innovation surplus generated by getting better products to market faster
- Development costs associated with moving metal 3D printing to production
There are a number of other key financial metrics that factor into building a winning business case. The webinar will come with a worksheet handout to participants so they can calculate the business case to see if it can succeed in production.
To get the worksheet and learn more about the four secrets to success, sign up for the webinar now.