6 MOST POPULAR INDUSTRIES TO USE METAL 3D PRINTING
Will you disagree with me if I say that the long-term success of any society is highly dependent on its manufacturing? I hope you will not. Every society needs a very strong and vibrant manufacturing base. There is a well-known saying that 'If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you have always got. This clearly states the significance of development and automation in the manufacturing industry. Additive manufacturing is fundamentally changing what we can do. There are three key elements to effectively utilize the additive manufacturing process. Additive thinking, accessible processes and cost are those elements which provide the most efficient solutions to the hindrances in the additive manufacturing sector. Metal additive manufacturing is the one that requires special mention here. Let us understand the concept, types, and major metal additive manufacturing applications.
What is Metal 3D Printing
Metal 3d printing, also known as metal additive manufacturing is one of g fastest growing technologies in the manufacturing industry. It is the most heavily invested technology in industrial and business applications. Any technology that creates metal objects layer by layer with sintering, melting and welding could be called metal 3D printing. Metal additive manufacturing stands as an umbrella term for several families of AM technologies. The application of metal 3d printing is boundless when manufacturing objects with complicated geometry. 3D printing is highly recommended for intricate parts where other types of manufacturing are inefficient or difficult to use.
Types of Metal 3D Printing
For a better understanding of the types of metal additive manufacturing, one should differentiate between powder-bed welding and deposition processes such as laser deposition welding. In powder bed welding, a slider is used to apply a thin layer of metallic material onto the building platform. Then a laser or electron beam cuts out the desired shape. Then the installation space is lowered a little and the next layer of metal powder is pushed over the object. In this way, the component is created layer by layer. The methods of metal 3d printing are categorised into four namely Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electron Beam Melting (EBM), Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) and Metal Powder Application (MPA). SLM technology uses a bed of powder with a source of heat to create metal parts and includes Selective Laser Melting (SLS), which is also called Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or Laser Metal Fusion (LMF). EBM is a type of additive manufacturing where the raw material is placed under a vacuum and fused from heating by an electron beam. LMD is a laser-based DED technique that selectively adds metal material onto a base workpiece in a layer-by-layer process. In powder-based LMD, a nozzle aggregates metal powder onto a workpiece, where a fibre laser melts both the powder and the workpiece into a melt pool. MPA involves blasting a fine metal powder at a target using a custom-designed nozzle.
3D Printing in Automobile Industry
3D printing has greater scope in the automobile industry. Metal additive manufacturing can be used to make moulds and thermoforming tools, and also in manufacturing grips, jigs, and fixtures. This allows automakers to produce samples and tools at low costs and to eliminate future losses in production when investing in high-cost tooling. With 3D printing, automotive designers can quickly fabricate a prototype of a physical part or assembly, from a simple interior element to a dashboard or even a scale model of an entire automobile.
3D Printing in Medical Industry
Medical 3D printing is highly in demand in both clinical and research-based healthcare activities. It involves the creation of physical replicas of anatomical structures using additive manufacturing processes. The application of 3D printing in medicine can provide many benefits like the customization and personalization of medical products, drugs, and equipment; cost-effectiveness; increased productivity; the democratization of design and manufacturing; and enhanced collaboration.
3D Printing in Aerospace Industry
In the Aerospace industry, metal additive manufacturing is used to manufacture metal brackets that perform a structural function inside aircraft. 3D printing services produce interior aircraft components such as cockpit dashboards and door handles. 3D printed prototypes enable designers to refine the form and fit of finished parts. Because component precision is a critical factor in aircraft design, 3D printers are used in the aircraft industry to provide extremely high accuracy in parts and components.
3D Printing in Architecture Industry
3D printing will simplify the process in architecture. It can render highly detailed physical models from a range of materials and colours based on a CAD model. It is an efficient process that lets architects turn out models quickly and more accurately. 3D printing allows architects to design and develop everything ranging from buildings, townships, and cities right down to terrains, landscapes and fauna with fine detail and full colour. Well-designed 3D-printed architectural models can help architects create a lasting impression on their clients.
3D Printing in Defense Industry
The additive manufacturing technique is widely used by the defence sector worldwide. Considering that speed, lighter weights, and lower costs are all paramount in this sector, additive manufacturing certainly has a role to play. 3d printing provides new ways to 3D print replacement parts on demand, whilst reducing production costs and enabling new design engineering possibilities in the defence industry.
3D Printing in Tooling Industry
Tooling is any part manufacturers use to make other parts. 3D printing provides new opportunities for different business sectors to enable easier prototyping. It could directly form the part or like a pattern for a mould that manufacturers would then use to cast a different part. It gives them the ability to create designs that are way too difficult to produce with other methods. It also allows manufacturers to build high-quality products rapidly.
Some new frontiers with 3D printing technology
A new frontier for 3D printing develops state-of-the-art soft materials able to self-heal. The scientific community is focusing its research on the multiple applications of hydrogels, polymeric materials which contain a large amount of water, that have the potential to reproduce the features of biological tissues. Direct Sound Printing is a potential game-changer in 3D Printing. Metal additive manufacturing creates physical objects from a geometrical representation by successive addition of materials. 3D printing technology is a fast-emerging technology nowadays. Apart from Metal 3D Printing, there are new frontiers like 3D Printed Lattice Structures, Bone-Like 3D Printed Structures and more efficient Engines in Drones. 3D printing can help manufacturers save time, material, and costs from traditional tooling processes. As technology in 3D printing has improved, the ability to make larger items as well as more detailed objects has become more commonplace. Ultimately, three-dimensional printing is revolutionizing the production of new devices and structures in a wide range of sectors.
Metal additive manufacturing has recently developed a lot to bring great benefits to different business sectors. These benefits include reduced material use, lowered costs, and production acceleration. It also enables designers and engineers to create anything from jigs and fixtures to more advanced forms like visualisation aids. The possibilities of using 3D printing for product development and manufacturing in different industries are limitless. The days are not far for you to think of outsourcing metal 3d printing for your industry. The countdown begins!