Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, has advantages and has gained momentum by achieving benefits for manufacturers who want to produce parts of complex geometries, small series, or fully customized. It should be clarified that the term additive manufacturing usually refers to the industrial field, while the term 3D printing is used more generally in consumer goods.
The advantages of additive manufacturing are several, and although there are companies that still have doubts about AM, the market is ready to grow significantly.
Advantages of additive manufacturing that can make it the future of manufacturing
1. Affordable cost of the machine
The cost of equipment has historically been quite high for most companies, but constant developments in this technology have made the cost of entry into additive manufacturing production much more affordable, with industrial application equipment available from 3,000 or 4,000 euros.
And because additive manufacturing offers the ability to reduce the amount of capital needed to scale a business without making significant changes in the future, it’s possible for manufacturers to increase the speed and profitability of their operations.
2. Extensive training possibilities for designers and manufacturers
Many manufacturers did not adopt additive manufacturing because it does not make much sense if, due to the perceived cost, you could not have the equipment or machine and the employees were not trained to use it. But nevertheless, a wide variety of training programs are currently offered for designers and manufacturers, from basic to advanced levels.
- Training on manufacturing tools and technology.
- Technical training to enable employees to use additive manufacturing.
- Training on material handling and management and post-production processes.
3. Reduction of material waste and reduction of energy cost
Additive manufacturing works by adding material layer by layer instead of removing material, so only what is needed is used. Consequently, additive manufacturing can reduce material costs and waste by up to 90 percent.
In addition, many products or items produced by additive methods are being used to replace traditional disposable items.
Another related advantage is that using less material inevitably means reducing overall energy costs. Additionally, the ability to make modifications to parts through additive processes allows those previous disposable products to be reconditioned using only a percentage of the energy that would be required to manufacture a completely new part.
4. Design freedom
Additive manufacturing enables the kind of design innovation that companies could only dream of before. It gives rise to creative freedom at the forefront without the time or cost constraints to allow innovation to be unleashed. Moving away from static designs allows engineers to produce multiple versions of a design in a cost-effective process.
Additive manufacturing can be customized. It gives manufacturers the possibility to offer a tailor-made service, customizing designs for individual customers.
It is used in many sectors, including petrochemical and energy, food and beverage, automotive or pharmaceutical industry, and can be used for the manufacture of items tailored to specific needs and with short production runs.
Additive manufacturing allows the manufacturer to print several prototypes before committing to production, leaving less room for error in the overall process.
In addition, changes to the original specifications can be made digitally, reducing the expense of traditional design modifications.
7. Faster product to market
Additive manufacturing drastically reduces production time. Not only does it accelerate production, but companies don’t have to spend time researching how to justify investments in tools, tools, or molds, or waiting for them to be produced. The difference may be that instead of taking months to reach the market, they may take only a few days.
In conclusion, companies have already begun to glimpse the advantages of additive manufacturing With the option of ordering on demand and without the need to store large quantities of stock, the future looks bright for companies that are prepared to adopt additive manufacturing and enjoy the many benefits it offers.
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