Each year, users the world over—and some in outer space—discover new ways to put additive manufacturing (AM) to work. AM contributes to product improvements, increased efficiency, green initiatives, global partnerships, material developments, and groundbreaking innovations.
Compared to machining and other traditional metalworking processes, additive manufacturing (AM) is a newcomer. Most industry experts trace its birth to 1987, when Chuck Hull of 3D Systems fame introduced the first commercially available stereolithography machine, the SLA-1.
The 3D printing of polymers has been around for over 30 years. And as Patrick Dunne, vice president of advanced application development for 3D Systems Inc., Berkeley, Calif., put it, there are significant applications across many different industries.
One thing that’s certain in developing the most cost-effective solutions for part-off and grooving applications is that there is not just one way to approach the problem and meet basic process requirements for chip evacuation, tool life and surface finish.
Manufacturers must avoid costly machine errors that cause catastrophic damage to both machine tools and expensive workpieces. Even a minor error in, say, a titanium aerospace component can be a major expense.
By Patrick WaurzyniakContributing Editor,SME Media
Honeycutt Manufacturing, Mukilteo, Wash., a job shop that serves the aerospace, marine and general industrial markets, made a major investment recently in a Grob G550T five-axis universal machining center.
Gassed up your car this week? If so, you might want to thank Conroe Machine LLC. That’s because among the many parts machined by this specialty job shop in Conroe, Texas are most of the components used to build downhole positive displacement motors (PDMs.)
While it’s still considered early-stage, metal additive manufacturing/3D printing (AM/3DP) is an important part of the growth in the global additive manufacturing market as it helps manufacturers produce stronger and lighter parts, improve efficiencies, reduce waste, lower emissions, and increase speed to market.
Steve George - Business Intelligence Manager, SME
In 1984, Charles Hull invented the first 3D printer, which used stereolithography to build up a plastic product layer by layer. Over 35 years later, additive manufacturing (AM) is drastically altering a range of industries, from manufacturing to the medical sector.
John Young - Asia Pacific Director, EU Automation
Simulation software has traditionally been used to predict the behavior of a product or system before designs are finalized and to understand the cause of failures after they have happened so that they can be avoided in the future.
Paolo Guglielmini - President and CEO , MSC Software