Materials - General

Fabrication by printing
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing is a process of creating products by layering a base product based on a 3D data file. Additive manufacturing is also perfectly positioned to be enhanced by, or enhance other digital solutions, given it is based on a 3D file. The aerospace, automotive, and medical/dental industries have been early adopters. The oil & gas and maritime industries have been exploring the potential of AM and have identified some attractive business cases. These industries traditionally keep high, and often expensive, inventory levels of spare parts to ensure that downtimes for repairs and maintenance are as short as possible. Some leading companies have been exploring the possibilities of strategically located 3D printing to provide spare parts on demand. While such a strategy will reduce inventory costs, it could severely disrupt traditional ship supply and spare part value chains.

The types of materials used in manufacturing are virtually endless. While the creator may have an initial design in mind when they think of their products, sometimes, the material choice isn’t as evident as it should be. The wrong material can result in a project that isn’t cost-effective or create production delays that cut into sales. Material choice is going to be a crucial factor in any project, so making an informed decision is essential. Design for manufacturing is a good strategy for picking out materials. During it, the product developer considers the impact of production as they create the first product. They may test out several materials, or create entirely new ones in a quest to find the best possible base. Through this, they can make the design easier to produce, so the creator can scale up manufacturing with demand.

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