Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been in existence since the 1980’s. In its earliest form, the technology was limited to mostly prototyping applications. Today, however, industrial manufacturers across the globe, from aerospace to education, are adopting AM as a viable means to influence every stage of the product lifecycle. Gone are the days were AM was used for proof of concept verification tool. With the advancement in process technology, materials technology and, 3D printing machines, AM is fast becoming a viable consideration to replace traditional manufacturing.
AM’s value truly lies in looking beyond initial costs and manufacturing. Some fundamental questions, such as these below, need to be addressed to fully realize the potential benefits of AM:
- Does it provide better product performance?
- What does it mean to the end customer?
- How does it affect the supply chain through reduced inventory and on-demand manufacturing?
As more and more industries begin to adopt AM, key elements of the traditional manufacturing processes are being transformed, beginning with the basics of how parts are designed. Watch the short video below to get an overview of AM, key application areas and how design freedom comes with design constraints.
Fast and seamless 3D printing begins with solid 3D models. In Part 2 of this series, we will explore some of the best practices in SOLIDWORKS for 3D printing. Watch the full, five-part series by clicking here or the below banner.