Additive Manufacturing Is Advancing Toward Production, in Higher Quantities

The September issue of Additive Manufacturing magazine illustrates success stories and future potential for 3D printing in production applications.

How do you bring additive manufacturing into production of end-use parts? Manufacturers are finding various routes to get there, some of which are illustrated in the latest issue of Additive Manufacturing magazine

On the metals side, companies are investigating solutions for higher production quantities coming into the market, such as the recently announced Metal Jet platform from HP. This 3D printing system holds great promise for scale production in target materials such as iron and steel.

Others, like California startup 3DEO, are developing their own technologies for production 3D printing. In 3DEO’s case, keeping the process internal has allowed for faster commercialization; instead of marketing and selling 3D printing equipment, it is free to focus on manufacturing quality parts that can compete on price with those produced via metal injection molding, EDM and CNC milling.

In either case, pursuing production metal AM represents a significant investment, and one that should be approached strategically. GE Capital shares considerations for companies that are thinking about taking this step with 3D printing.

But metals are not the only materials for production. On the polymer side, manufacturers are also finding printers suitable for making parts that can compete with injection molding. The Technology House, an early adopter of Carbon’s CLIP process, is now capable of turning out about 1,500 parts per day that are comparable to molded ones in both cost and quality.

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