Manufacturing Automation: Additive manufacturing moves into production
by Jacob Stoller
The rapid evolution of 3D printing technology for both plastics and metals is creating new opportunities, however finding solid business cases remains a challenge
The phrase “my kid could make that” is now literally applicable to millions of plastic shapes, thanks to the wide proliferation of consumer-grade 3D printers.
The apparent ease of printing a finished product directly from a digital model with no moulds or tooling, however, has caused many to underestimate the challenges and the costs of applying the technology in production environments.
This is particularly problematic in AM (additive metal) manufacturing, where the barrier to entry is much higher than it is for plastics.