Technology has been reshaping our lives for a long time now. In a never-ending unfolding of new capacities, it keeps making our actions easier, taking away the complexities and replacing it by objects that are increasingly easier to use. Thanks to additive manufacturing solutions, it also enables designers to create more complex objects, even in extra-large formats, which are safer and more efficient. Here are some of the benefits of additive manufacturing solutions.
How does it work?
Those who work in this industry sector know that metal additive manufacturing solutions have been revolutionizing the way objects are created since they were commercialized more widely in the 1990s. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that subtract material to create an object, 3D printing is an additive process that progressively adds material layer by layer to construct a finished product.
One of the most used technology in this field today is called powder bed fusion (PBF). This process involves melting layers of powder on top of one another to create a three-dimensional object. It starts by laying a thin layer of metal powdered material onto a build platform. The design of the object has been uploaded into the software of the machine, so that it knows precisely where to melt the powder to grow the object. It is the laser that scans and melts the powder in this pre-determined pattern, fusing it together to create the first layer of the object.
Once completed, the build platform is then lowered, and another layer of powdered material is applied. The process starts again, adding another layer to the object, and it continues this way until the object is finally completed. One of the most important advantages of the powder bed fusion process is that it can be used with a wide range of materials. However, the use of powdered materials requires specialized safety measures, such as proper ventilation and protective equipment.
What are the benefits of Metal Additive Manufacturing Solutions?
As we mentioned in the title, what metal additive manufacturing solutions have done for designers of parts around the world, is to provide them with the capacity to draw more complex structures, which can be produced entirely through this 3D printing process. In traditional manufacturing, many of them would have required the creation of different objects, which would have had to be connected together afterwards, in order to build a single part. In other words, the original process took time and was costly. This precise customization has enabled companies to innovate and to take their distances from competitors, like never before.
When you are looking to create a part or a full object, you need to build a prototype first, which will tell you if the reality turns out to be exactly like the object that you had in mind when you drew it. You also have to make sure that it can function as it should. Before, in order to create such a prototype the manufacturing plant needed to create a mold first, which took time and was invoiced to the client at a high cost. If a second prototype was required, the whole process had to be done again. It was complex, costly, and it wasted a lot of time.
Thanks to metal additive manufacturing solutions, a company can proceed to the creation of the prototype as soon as the design is completed and inserted into the machine. There is no need for the creation of a mold. If the part or object doesn’t come out as imagined, a new one can be completed as soon as the drawings are revised, and prototypes can be made until it comes out perfect, at a much lower cost and as rapidly as revisions can be made.
Finally, it is important to mention that additive manufacturing solutions are much more environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing methods. That is because it reduces waste greatly. Before, the manufacturing process left a significant amount of scrap material behind. Thanks to the additive manufacturing process, only the material needed to create an object is used. In a world where we need to save on resources and energy, it provides a green solution for companies to use.
As we have shown in this article, additive manufacturing solutions are helping to create more complex objects in a single action. It also enables companies to produce prototypes rapidly and at a much lower cost, while reducing waste as well. There can be no doubt that applications for additive manufacturing will continue to expand, leading to new and innovative objects being imagined by designers in the future.