3D Printing technologies, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, are leading the way to a new industrial environment across the world. Some experts even believe that 3D printing might be responsible for a new industrial revolution, where producing new designs are faster, more efficient, and easier than ever before.
Although 3D printing started small, it’s quickly emerged as one of the most valuable additions to the industrial space. Today, the UK is a world leader in the 3D printing market, and the industry is rapidly expanding with new technologies and inspiring minds.
This year, the additive manufacturing space has grown bigger than ever, with companies from a range of backgrounds getting involved. BMW was able to 3D print 100 parts within 24 hours. HP introduced a Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing device to bring new materials to the sector. Everywhere, 3D printing is leading to faster evolution and innovation.
What is 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) Capable Of?
Using a combination of computer-aided-design software (CAD) and 3D object scanners, 3D printers’ direct advanced hardware to place material layer upon layer into precise shapes. Initially, the industry began with 3D printed shapes made out of plastic and recyclable materials. Today, we’re exploring the potential of new innovations like metal 3D printing.
The implementation of metal in the additive manufacturing process, combined with new functionality that allows machines to produce items in bulk, means that 3D printing has even more potential today than it once did. Now, we can discover the benefits of printing in almost any industry, from the automotive space to air travel. Recently, GE unveiled a new metal printer that allowed the company to create a record-breaking natural gas turbine in December 2018.
Unlike other manufacturing processes, 3D printing allows for quick innovation and ongoing testing. Companies can consistently try out new designs and update their operations at an agile pace. This means that new developments are prompt and reliable. For instance, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory created a new 3D-printing method that improves the microscopic grain structure of printed metal, making it possible to create components with double the strength of stainless steel.
Designing a New World with 3D Printing
When 3D printing first appeared on the market, we often saw people experimenting with small plastic parts and components. However, the capacity of additive manufacturing is growing. Today, it has the potential to change the world we live in.
In Moscow, a company designed and built a 400-square-foot home in a suburb using 3D printing technology. The project took less than 24 hours, highlighting the possibilities of additive manufacturing to create emergency shelters. Similarly, an entire two-story building was printed using concrete in Beijing, taking just 45 days in total.
High-end aerospace and car manufacturers are making their way into 3D printing too. BMW created its one-millionth component in a series produced for the BMW i8 roadster using an HP 3D printer. Today, the company estimates that it will produce more than 200,000 3D parts this year.
Additive manufacturing isn’t just making changes in our world; it’s also allowing us to explore the worlds beyond this one too. America’s new deep space rocket – the NASA Space Launch System includes 3D printed components to support the thermal protection of various intricate parts of the record.
3D Printing in the Manufacturing Sector
While various industries are now discovering the advantages of 3D printing, the manufacturing sector is at the heart of this technology’s continued growth. It’s innovative manufacturing businesses that are continually exploring new possibilities with AM technology. These organisations are constantly designing and prototyping new products to see what might be possible with the fast-paced and accurate nature of 3D printing technology.
According to recent reports, adoption for additive manufacturing is growing at an incredible rate around the globe. More than 70% of enterprises are now finding new applications for 3D printing technology in their environment, with manufacturing of tooling as a rapidly expanding area and another 60% are using reverse engineering.
There are even businesses experimenting with 3D printed power tools like saws and drills that work.
Our Work in 3D Printing
Here at Croft AM, we’re excited to be on the cutting edge of the 3D printing world, producing exciting new solutions with reverse engineering, low volume production, and design freedom. Our experimentations with design for additive manufacturing, and design to add value have helped us to create filters and complex crucial components to make machines lighter and more efficient than ever before. We’ve even been able to create things like the Vortex tube, which adds value to machinery by converting multiple parts into a single component.
Additive manufacturing allows us to create bespoke pieces for our customers, designed according to their individual needs and expectations. We can reverse engineer solutions to respond to unique problems and produce elements in bulk to keep costs to a minimum.
If you want to discover the possibilities of 3D printing for yourself, contact Croft AM today.
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