After decades of hype and predictions surrounding additive manufacturing (AM), AM is poised to be on the brink of becoming the disruptive technology that many have long expected. Disruptive technologies are often deemed too costly, less capable or too niche to replace incumbent technology. But over time, many of these technologies reach a tipping point and rapidly replace these incumbents.
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Taking stock of a surprising and challenging 2016, a number of trends may point to a future where manufacturing output increases while continuing to decentralize.
Some in the medical industry are using silicone rubber molds made with a 3D-printed master pattern for low-to-mid production runs of cast polyurethane device housings.
Fabrisonic, Now 6 Years Old, Moves to Develop New Processes, Materials
The use of additive manufacturing (AM) in the medical industry is well established in making dental implants, artificial hip joints, and molds for invisible braces.
3D printing has become the medium of the new technological revolution as its applications diversify from printing food to weapons, from clothing to industrial products. It is also finding more uses in the medical space, including Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P).
Over its 140-year history, automotive manufacturing technology has evolved in parallel with progress in the vehicles themselves. Early automakers custom made individual “horseless carriages.” Later, standardized parts and moving assembly lines delivered mass-produced cars. Development of integrated transfer lines enabled part runs to extend for years.
Additive manufacturing needs to improve its quality and consistency as it assumes a bigger role in manufacturing, advocates of the technology say.
Aerospace is one of the main industries embracing additive technologies, and the large growth in industrial metal 3D printing over the past few years can be largely attributed to the A&D industry.
The partnership is intended to lay the foundation for the two companies to fulfill their shared vision of incorporating additive manufacturing into the traditional manufacturing workflow, helping it to become a universally recognized production practice which can benefit multiple industries, including aerospace, automotive, transportation, energy and industrial tooling.