Additive manufacturing (AM) has made an impact on the manufacturing world, with many industries finding it to be a simple and cost-effective option. While many organizations have taken the steps to transition to additive manufacturing, there are plenty of people who still have questions about the method or have been provided incorrect information.
Keep reading to find answers to some of the questions that people regularly ask about this innovative method of manufacturing and to find out why it’s had such an effect around the globe.
What Is It?
Generally, when it comes to manufacturing, you have a larger component — made of metal or some other material — that gets chipped away or has material taken away from it in order to produce a final part or product. This is not the case with additive manufacturing. AM, also often referred to as 3D Printing, constructs 3D parts by adding and binding layers of material on top of itself to create an end product. It doesn’t subtract material, it adds it — hence the name.
How Does It Work?
This method of manufacturing utilizes computer-aided design software, as well as printing machines. The software is used to create a 3D diagram of what the machine will print. The software then sends the design to the printing machine, which layers the preferred material — plastic, metal, carbon fiber, or other materials — on top of itself and then uses heat to bind the layers together.
It is oftentimes a much quicker process overall than traditional manufacturing methods and has the ability to produce small, lightweight, durable parts. AM lends itself to rapid prototyping, saving manufacturers time and money.
What Industries Benefit?
A wide variety of industries have adopted and benefitted from additive manufacturing. The healthcare industry uses it to create sterile and accurate surgical tools in great quantities. Because of the durability of the parts, the automotive and aerospace industries find the method to be useful. The sky is the limit when it comes to AM.
What’s the Price Tag?
This is dependent on the types of materials you are building with, as well as the cost of the machines you use. While the initial investment of the printing machines can appear steep, manufacturers find that it is worth it for the quick and high-quality results. The method saves time and materials which, in turn, saves money. The great end-products that AM produces keep customers coming back, increasing earnings. Hundreds of gauges, templates, and fixtures can be printed, which leads to a 60-90% cost reduction, according to discoverspace.org.
To learn more about 3D printing and how it could benefit your company, reach out to the professionals at Paradigm Manufacturing. Our 3D printing company has the tools and know-how to give you the high-quality 3D printing experience you deserve.