WHAT IS 3D PRINTING?
3D printing, also called Additive Manufacturing, makes it possible to create things by growing them, as an alternative to assembling, shaping or cutting them.
Each 3D printer allows you to create parts based on the same basic principle: A digital model becomes a three-dimensional object by adding material layer by layer.
PRESENT AND FUTURE OF ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
The evolution of Additive Manufacturing in recent years has transformed the way we design, develop, produce and distribute products.
Now that the technology has reached a certain level of maturity, the next necessary step for companies is to acquire a trained and qualified workforce.
The skills required range from the design of technological equipment to data management. Demand for additive manufacturing skills began to increase significantly in the first half of 2016 compared to the previous year, placing profiles such as mechanical engineers, 3D modellers, 3D technicians, and design engineers among the most sought-after professionals. However, qualified and experienced professionals are still difficult to find today.
Spain is still, however, at the bottom of the league among the main powers in the 3D printing sector.
WHY OPT FOR 3D PRINTING? THESE ARE ITS BENEFITS
Additive Manufacturing cannot be equated, in some respects, with other industrial manufacturing methods. Nevertheless, it offers several competitive advantages that make it increasingly attractive for multiple sectors:
3D printing offers the designer a certain freedom, within the limitations of each technology, to create unique and geometrically complex pieces without the need for assembly.
In addition, the production system (layer by layer) allows the creation of lightweight (by reducing the thickness of the layers or by means of an internal mesh or lattice) and optimized parts.
2. Flexibility and customization
Having the freedom to perform short series, it is possible to carry out various tests quickly in order to make modifications to the prototype until the final design is attained.
The technology also makes it possible to customize a design to the maximum and, on industrial machinery, to produce several totally customized and different designs in a single print.
Finally, some technologies allow the production of parts incorporating various types of materials and the creation of multi-material products.
3. Reduction of 'Time to market'
With additive manufacturing technologies, the time, from conception through prototyping and final development of the piece to reaching the market, is significantly reduced, for the following reasons:
Through 3D printing technology it is possible to obtain 100% customized pieces at a lower cost than would be required for handmade custom work; this quality allows access to products that until now were considered luxury items.
In addition, the low cost and small size of some equipment make it accessible from a non-industrial and/or domestic environment.
Additive manufacturing is already a tool in numerous sectors: food, medicine, electronics, the production of consumer goods, construction and industry, among others. Furthermore, it has had a major impact on mobility, including the automotive, rail, shipping, aeronautical and aerospace industries.
STILL WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Sign up for our free webinar: “El impacto actual de la impresión 3D en la industria [ES]”. Learn about the different 3D Printing technologies, materials and applications and join the 4th industrial revolution!
We look forward to seeing you on 15th October from 11:30am to 12:30pm (UTC/GMT +1h) in the free webinar given by Alba García Miranda, Head of Training at the 3DIncubator. Sign up here!