December 10, 2015
Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is getting a lot of press lately. Why? Lower equipment costs have made it affordable for manufacturers of all sizes while advancements in the technology, such as the development of high-performance polymers and metal-based systems, make the production of end-use parts a reality.
Although AM is not expected to replace traditional manufacturing processes anytime soon, companies are beginning to incorporate AM into their operations. In fact, a 2014 PWC survey found that 11% of manufacturing companies had already switched to production of 3D-printed parts or products.
In our previous blog post on additive manufacturing, we discussed why manufacturers should consider adding AM and how to get started. Now, let’s take a look at some of the ways this technology is being utilized.
How is Additive Manufacturing Being Used?AM is being employed in a variety of applications such as:
- Today, AM is used primarily for making prototypes as part of the product development process. The ability to quickly and cost-effectively produce complex shapes with virtually unlimited design flexibility make AM the perfect solution.
- Custom Tooling / Parts
- AM is becoming increasingly attractive as a tooling fabrication method as new materials and processes equal quality standards of traditional methods. In particular, it can eliminate expensive up-front costs associated with design changes since AM tools and parts are faster and less expensive to produce.
- Machining, assembling, and inspection
- Jigs and fixtures
- Finished Products
- Mass customization and one-off small-batch production runs are a game changer for an industry that relies on scale, standardized design, and high volumes.
Innovative Examples of Additive Manufacturing
Companies off all sizes are finding ways to incorporate AM into their operations. Here are a few examples:
- Croft Additive Manufacturing (CAM) uses 3D printing to manufacture for various industries filters that do not capture bugs or bacteria that is common with standard mesh filters. For complete details, check out this 3dprint.com article.
- Bi-Link currently uses 3D printing to produce injection mold tooling and sample parts. Find out why Bi-Link’s molds can stand up to both pressure and heat with no degradation in this 3D Systems article.
- Robert Seuffer GmbH & Co use 3D printing to create sample parts and injection molds. Check out this quick video to learn more.
- Ohio-based pharmaceutical company Aprecia recently received approval from the FDA for a 3D printed drug. 3D printed pills allow for drugs to be customized based on specific patient needs, instead of a one-drug-fits-all approach. For more information, read the full Guardian article.
Discover How Central Ohio Manufacturers are Using AM
Join Us for an exciting 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing Forum!!
Manufacturers in Central Ohio have successfully incorporated 3D printing into their operations. How did they do it? How are they using 3D? Better yet, how can you use 3D to improve your company? The best individuals to ask are the manufacturers just like you who are currently, successfully using 3D printing.
PolymerOhio and OH!Manufacturing are gathering a panel of manufacturers in one place, at one time, to tell you what they have done and to answer your questions.
Ready for AM?
PolymerOhio works to Accelerate Growth, Competitiveness, and Innovation in Ohio’s Polymer Industry. If you are interested in integrating AM into your operation, PolymerOhio is here to help. We can connect with the right resources to make your journey in additive manufacturing a smooth one. Contact us today!