Numerous Impacts on metal manufacturing
In general, additive manufacturing opens new approaches for production strategies as well as systems and offers the following benefits.
Rapid prototyping, rapid tooling, rapid manufacturing, and rapid repair
Parts or items for real usage with high requirements towards material properties, strength, etc.. These tools can then manufacture components with the conventional machining methods.
Expansion of design possibilities: unprecedented weight and strength properties
The design is less restricted by manufacturing and material if a structure can be sliced into layers. This enables unprecedented weight and strength properties:
3D printing of metals enables unusual or complex geometries, maintaining stability while decreasing weight. Examples are: inner structures like load-optimized, bionic architectures (honeycombs) or inner channels for cooling fluids. Parts can be manufactured as one piece instead of as an assembly of components.
Near net-shape manufacturing of components and reduction of waste and energy consumption
3D printing creates near net-shapes layer-by-layer with a minimum of excessive material and has a double impact on the environmental footprint.
Direct impact in production: when considering the complete process chain, 3D printing is directly building up structures and saves energy. Furthermore, only the essential structures are built. This reduces the post-processing as well as waste.
Indirect impact in usage of 3D printed parts: these parts can be significantly light-weighted vs. conventially produced parts. For vehicles and aircrafts, weight reduction minimizes energy consumption. At the end of its life cycle a 3D printed part leaves less material to recycle or to dump.
Systems & Options
Different technologies in vacuum for optimized additive manufacturing