Summary and outlook

The outstanding feature of all AM techniques is their capability to produce parts of high geometrical complexity which cannot be manufactured by any other production technique. This works because of the tool-free layer-by-layer approach of all AM processes. Parts are produced based on 3D-CAD-model-data without any tooling needed.

The number of available materials is still limited compared to other processes such as milling or injection moulding, but the number of materials qualified for polymer and metal based processes is growing.

Many AM techniques offer part qualities which are comparable to those resulting from conventional manufacturing methods. The AM produced parts can be used and post processed (milled, drilled, coated) like any other standard industrial part. Especially in metal, AM produced parts often exceed some of the mechanical property values of those machined from standard bulk material.

Another benefit is the outstanding material efficiency of most AM processes. Scrap rates for AM parts are usually below 5%, compared to scrap rates of more than 90% with many complex milled parts. With a decline in available raw material and rising costs this material efficiency will remain a major advantage in the long term.

Looking to the future, it can be confidently predicted that AM is set to achieve an increasing market share of production processes, helped with the introduction of faster systems with more powerful lasers and larger building chambers. A significant number of materials will be qualified for AM and over time multi-material systems for many of the processes will become available.

 

> Next page: Case study – Vacuum calibration sleeve

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Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 168-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Metal Additive Manufacturing and the new Space Race: The inside track with Launcher and AMCM
  • Falcontech: The journey from materials engineering to large-scale metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Strategies for advancing the automation of metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Machine Learning and Additive Manufacturing: What does the future hold?
  • System 3R: Bridging critical gaps in the Additive Manufacturing workflow to enable serial production
  • Metal AM in South Africa: Research and commercial initiatives bring the benefit of AM to the African continent
  • CFD simulation for metal Additive Manufacturing: Applications in laser- and sinter-based processes
  • > More information

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