FREMONT, CA: Earlier additive manufacturing (AM) focused on forging small, complex items with plastic polymers. Today, AM holds the potential to unlock production capabilities and sophisticated design concerning industrial companies. It enables producers to manufacture customized products and ensure faster parts delivery. Though AM is driving the companies to experiment more with the technologies, there are a few challenges that must be addressed:
For the movement of additively-manufactured safety, critical parts from the design phase to commercial or military aerospace use, approval from the regulators is mandatory. The certification process for AM products is rigorous than the conventionally manufactured parts. The conventionally produced parts are at an advantage with years of knowledge in the manufacturing process. Therefore, it’s essential that the manufacturer demonstrates to the authorities that the additive manufacturing products meet the specified design.
The best way to tackle the challenge is to adopt a physics-based analysis and understanding of the process and testing the methodology on the aerospace component of varying complexities.
Additive manufacturing enables the engineers to use novel organic shapes while designing that can result in a lighter and more efficient end product as compared to their conventional counterparts. The use of the right tools and methods are crucial to leveraging this design freedom. However, there are limitations in the part sizes and the type of features. Additionally, most AI parts need post-build machining operations. Incorporating the requirements can also minimize design experimentation.
The best approach is to build an end-to-end tool that addresses the entire AM stream, such as part design, build quality, and process-specific constraints.
It is challenging to recruit fresh talents and retrain the existing workforce as the AM industry is still maturing. Younger engineers are relatively more receptive to the technology as they may have used 3D printing tools in schools. Experienced engineers will require additional training as they are more accustomed to a traditional setup.
The problem can be addressed with the help of a third party that offers AM training programs and certificate courses.