Additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file by laying down successive thinly sliced horizontal layers of material until the object is created.
Complex Materials or hardware can be manufactured by 3d printing using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.
There are different types of 3D printing and each type uses different materials to manufacture objects.
• Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) uses a material called Thermoplastic. This method is used mostly in making filament Electrical housings. Though it provides the best surface finish to the object, it is brittle and it is not sustainable to make mechanical objects
• Stereolithography (SLA) uses Photopolymer resin material and it is commonly used in making Jewelry (investment casting), Dental applications and Hearing aids
• Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) uses Thermoplastic powder material to make functional parts and Complex ducting (hollow designs)
• Material Jetting (MJ) uses Photopolymer resin in making Full-color product prototypes, injection mold-like prototypes, and medical models
• Binder Jetting (BJ) uses sand or metal powder or silica in making functional metal parts, full-color models and sand casting.
• Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) uses metal powder of aluminum, stainless steel, titanium in making functional metal parts for medical, dental, aerospace, automotive industries. Objects manufactured by DMLS method are strongest when compared to other methods.
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Increased Speed and Functionality
With the widespread availability and adoption of high-speed 3D printing, making mechanical parts, prototyping and production tooling is easier and cost effective. Commercially available, cost-effective 3D printers can print around 40 times faster than the average 3D printer.
The AI-enabled 3D printers allow faster optimizing which increases scalability and efficiency while consuming less energy and enhancing both form and function of the object created.
Advancements in artificial intelligence deliver the capability for engineers and designers to monitor a finished 3D-printed part in the field in order to determine how it performs over its lifespan. The ability of 3D printing to uniquely peg each part with a unique serial number will improve the design configurations.
Effect on Supply Chain
3D manufacturing will enable faster and easily deployed manufacturing supply chains that can avoid international shipping tariffs which will lower consumer costs and save time. 3D printing enables the automotive industry to innovate faster, flexible manufacturing and renovate its supply chains.