Metal 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing or AM, is one of the latest processes to take hold in the manufacturing sector. The technology, which is constantly advancing in terms of scale, speed and quality, is touted by many as the future of production. Now Materialise wants to help everyone learn more about it by releasing a free guide to benefits & applications of metal 3D printing, as originally reported by 3DPMN’s sister website Replicatore.it.
Metal 3D printing, which builds up parts by fusing metal powder particles together layer by layer, offers a number of advantages over traditional manufacturing processes such as machining, casting or molding. Notable benefits include increased design freedom and reduced production speeds and costs.
Because metal 3D printing uses a layer-by-layer production method, the design constraints of many other manufacturing processes do not apply. In other words, additive manufacturing can produce parts with complex geometries, both internal and external. This freedom, which effectively shifts complexity-based cost calculations to volume-based ones, gives designers and engineers the opportunity to explore new avenues in product design and optimization.
With metal 3D printing, design freedom is closely coupled with production flexibility, which is the key to reducing manufacturing speeds and costs. And since metal AM does not require any additional tooling during the production process (as opposed to most conventional manufacturing methods), users can easily and cost-effectively prototype parts and manufacture small-batch components.
As a result, prototype designs can be tweaked and updated without significant turnaround, and manufacturers have more incentive to leverage customized and on-demand production.
With the current state of metal 3D printing technologies, many manufacturers still face the big challenge of knowing exactly how to exploit metal 3D printing within their own sectors. Is it to be used strictly as a prototyping technology? Which parts can benefit from redesign or reengineering? The questions only begin there.
Fortunately, industrial 3D printing service Materialise Manufacturing has put together a comprehensive application guide for metal 3D printing to help businesses know where additive manufacturing can have the biggest impact in their production process.
In the guide, Materialise experts lay out eight key applications for metal 3D printing. These provide a solid foundation for understanding the potential of AM adoption across a range of manufacturing industries. They are:
- Heat Sinks
- Spare Parts
- Structural Components
- Medical Devices
- Food Processing
- Fashion & Design
- Industrial Automation
To learn more about Materialise’s eight key applications for metal 3D printing and how additive manufacturing can help transform the manufacturing sector, download the full Application Guide for Metal 3D Printing for free here.