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3DPrinterAdditive manufacturing (AM) technology is developing rapidly, with an expanding range of capabilities and applications. The technology is attracting a tremendous amount of attention as exciting new applications stirs the imagination.

According to the Wohlers Report 2015, “the market for additive manufacturing, consisting of all AM products and services worldwide, grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35.2% to $4.1 billion in 2014. The industry expanded by more than $1 billion in 2014, with 49 manufacturers producing and selling industrial-grade AM machines. The CAGR over the past three years (2012–2014) was 33.8%.”

Why Consider Adding AM?

Referred to as “The Next Manufacturing Revolution”, additive manufacturing is positioned to become a key component of manufacturing in the future. Although, rapid prototyping is still the primary use of additive manufacturing equipment, other applications such as creating production jigs or spare parts are also making an impact.   In certain fields, it is even gaining acceptance as a method of production.

How Do I Get Started?

Additive manufacturing is driving innovation and growth for manufacturers of all sizes. It allows companies to increase customization, reduce costs, and improve processes. The key is figuring out how to apply additive manufacturing to your business.  While equipment suppliers are an excellent source of information.   At times, the best approach is utilizing an expert resource that can reveal a wide range of alternative technologies and solutions.

For example, these two resources illustrate the types of assistance you can access:

The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) operates a comprehensive facility aimed at reducing product development cycle cost and time.

Capabilities include:

  • Reverse engineering of existing products via 3-D digitization and geometric analysis
  • 3-D printing of actual hardware and prototype models
  • Computer design and optimization of molds and tools to manufacture newly developed products

Applications include

  • Consumer, industrial, or military products manufactured from plastics, polymer composites, or metals
  • Tooling for all types of plastic molding processes, composite curing techniques, and sheet metal stamping

Tangible Solutions provides solutions for AM applications including developing new products, rapid prototyping and manufacturing.

Materials include:

  • Engineering-grade thermoplastics
  • Simulated overmolds
  • Multiple durometer rubbers
  • High quality metals.

Ready for AM?

PolymerOhio works to Accelerate Growth, Competitiveness, and Innovation in Ohio’s Polymer Industry. If you are interested in learning more about these services to help you integrate AM into your operation, PolymerOhio is here to help. We can connect with these and several others resources to make your journey in additive manufacturing a smooth one. Contact us today!

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