Revolution: Additive Manufacturing
The first manufacturing revolution has already crept in, and the leading industry authorities have declared it as Additive Manufacturing. Gone are the days when manufacturing would start with a solid block of material and then proceed to cutting away the excess to create a finished part. With inception of Additive Manufacturing, a part is build up layer by layer from geometry described in a 3D design model. This addition of material is responsible for the etymology of the word, “Additive”.
Additive manufacturing technology first emerged in 1980s and was used to print plastic objects with a technique known as Stereo lithography (SLA). The two most commonly known methods available for commercial use today are “Powder Bed Fusion” (PBF) and Powder Fed “Directed Energy Deposition” (DED) systems.
This building up process is advantageous over the subtractive method in terms of enhanced flexibility of design, improved performance of end product, lower manufacturing cost, lower material waste, reduced time to market and extended product life.