To put it in simpler terms, AM can be also referred to as 3D printing. It is a transformative approach to industrial production that enables the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems.
Reputable engineering schools began training the next generation of engineers for additive manufacturing because of its rapid viability in mass production, which means that graduate students entering the workforce need to understand how to use and design for this technology in particular and push the limits of their creativity.
How Does Additive Manufacturing Work?
The technology uses 3D object scanners to direct hardware to deposit material, layer upon layer, in precise geometric shapes. As its name implies, additive manufacturing adds material to create an object. The process basically creates a physical object from a digital design.
Even though it’s not a popular knowledge, this technology has been around for decades and has been proven to have three very important added values of improved performance, complex geometries and simplified fabrication; which leaves endless opportunities for those who make use of it.
What Materials Can be Used in 3D Printing?
Where Can it Be Applied?
- Aerospace: by producing parts with weight-saving and complex geometric designs that are still stronger than regular parts.
- Automotive: formula 1 race car teams are using 3D printing to print parts of the vehicles, which takes them 10 days to produce instead of the average 5 weeks.
- Healthcare: by creating custom, on-demand 3D printed surgical implants for patients.
- Product development: allowing the creative potential of designers to develop faster as they get to re-imagine once difficult to execute concepts. A proof of this progress and application would be the DeVinci Fablab.
Latest AM Trends and Technologies
Industries like dentistry and medical devices are rapidly adopting 3D printing to produce final parts that conform to unique patient profiles; however, one interesting sector that’s been keeping up with this technology is fashion. 3D printing will be combined with other manufacturing methods, producing the most critical and highly-customized parts of the product and leaving other parts to traditional, cost-effective fabrication processes.
Moreover, the healthcare sector will get more involved in 3D printing because it is no longer categorized under the label of “prototyping technology”. How exactly? In the long term, researchers hope to use 3D-printed organs to meet the demand for organ donations. With the potential of bio-printing, many medical teams and labs will soon be able to develop an organ production system that is viable and could help support many cures and treatments.
What’s next in the world of additive manufacturing? Keep an eye on ESiLV’s news section to find out!