Additive Manufacturing, also called 3D printing is a process of building parts layer by layer until the part is complete. The opposite of additive manufacturing is subtractive manufacturing; a traditional process of taking material off a block or billet to create a geometry.
Invented more than 35 years ago, the Additive Manufacturing process of building layer by layer is one that has a number of benefits; namely design freedom, a reduction in wastage and the removal of costly barriers such as set-up and tooling, which prevent experimental concepts coming to fruition. It is because of prototyping and low volume production that engineers can now iterate without risk and consequences of making inevitable mistakes.
Additive Manufacturing enables engineers to reduce the design life cycle of a project to bring products to market far quicker. The ability to iterate and ‘design out faults’ early in the process, enables costly mistakes which lead to product recalls to be significantly reduced, if not irradiated.
There are a number of technologies, Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), to name a few that enable parts to be Additively Manufactured. If you would like to explore the correct technology and materials for your application contact one of our engineers.