Since ‘Industry 4.0’ became part of our vernacular at the start of the decade, many manufacturers have found themselves at a crossroads: one route continuing tried and trusted traditional factory processes, and the second route offering the challenge of fully embracing the ‘digital factory’.
For many manufacturers, staying with their traditional processes might have appeared to be the best path. After all, the processes have been fine-tuned over a hundred or more years to achieve repeatability, part durability, efficient workflows and low operational costs.
While there is an advantage to maintaining this continuity, traditional processes are also challenged by high labour costs, errors leading to less than desired time-to-market, significant up-front production costs in the form of tooling and assembly costs.
With many manufacturers facing new marketplace demands for increased speed and agility, additive manufacturing (AM) gives an opportunity to transform manufacturing workflows, reduce supply chain issues and deliver a new competitive advantage.