3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing) is a process by which a 3D design file is transformed into a physical metal object by selectively fusing the metal powder in successive layers. One key benefit of this process is the elimination of any tooling, thereby reducing the cost of development.
Another benefit is the ability to manufacture complex shapes which would otherwise be "impossible" to manufacture. An example is the direct integration of conformal cooling channels into mold inserts for application in plastic injection molding manufacturing, resulting in increased productivity and shorter cycle time.
The advantages of 3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing) can be summarized as:
- Increased design innovation - Create new ideas and shapes with quick turnaround for a physical part to gauge, test, look and feel.
- Shorter time to market - Make idea-to-prototype cycles much quicker. Necessary adjustments made more rapidly. Design iteration can be tested easily.
- Reduced development cost - Use less materials. No requirement for tooling. Multiple design concepts can be manufactured at the same time.
- Reverse-engineering - Obsolete parts without drawing can now be scanned and reproduced easily.
- Allows smaller batch production - Low volume production (less than 1,000pcs per year) can be manufactured.
If you would like to find out more details regarding 3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing), please check out these white papers and guides here.