10/6/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Additive Manufacturing and Cost per Kilogram

How much is weight savings worth to you? Additive is being embraced in applications where the answer to that question is high.

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Where will the adoption of additive manufacturing advance as the price of using it comes down? One of the key advantages additive manufacturing delivers is weight reduction—growing parts with organic forms that maximize the strength-to-weight ratio by employing only the amount of material needed. In a presentation given by Stefan Ritt of additive manufacturing machine maker SLM Solutions (at the most recent AMUG Conference), Mr. Ritt noted the different costs that different industries are willing to pay for weight reduction:

  • Satellite and spacecraft: $10,000 per kg of weight reduction
  • Aircraft: $1,000 per kg of weight reduction
  • Automobile: $10 per kg of weight reduction

He actually gave the figures in euros, but the approximations are loose enough that either currency works. The order of magnitude is what matters. The numbers make clear why additive manufacturing is already being embraced for both space-related and aircraft manufacturing. But in the automotive industry, even though a key topic is lightweighting, additive likely still has to make significant price and efficiency gains before it could be embraced.

(Still, to extrapolate along this line of vehicles, it is worth noting that weight savings is already the reason why one bike manufacturer has turned to additive.)

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