There is a divide in the market for additive manufacturing (AM)/3D printing. On the one hand, there is a community of users that employ entry level, often relatively inaccurate printers for a range of applications, usually associated with hobbies. The extensive time consumed attempting to get these printers to work anywhere close to consistently – and their high print fail rate – is off-set by the low purchase cost. On the other hand, there is an established and growing base of users employing AM as a true industrial manufacturing tool. This latter community often requires high-end, expensive and often difficult to use AM platforms to produce the high quality AM parts that industry demands with repeatability and reliability.
Aad Janszen describes the fluxes in the AM sector and explores how one pioneering firm is approaching opportunities in this market in a compelling way
The Struggle For Additive Manufacturing
The struggle continues for AM to truly find its feet in a production setting. For sure, there is uptake, there are successes across numerous industrial sectors, but the real opportunities that exist for AM are not to replace traditional manufacturing processes such as injection moulding and machining, but instead to be incorporated with and work alongside these traditional processes in an efficient and innovative way. They need to complement and integrate seamlessly into existing product development and manufacturing processes.