Additive Manufacturing Automation Brings Down Costs; Increases Productivity

Additive manufacturing (AM) still looms large in our science fiction imaginations in the form of Star Trek-like replication machines that will create just about anything (in between commercials) with the push of a button. The truth, however, is that additive manufacturing is still a highly complex process that requires a great deal of preparation and post-printing work—most of it manual. The high costs of such manual labor-intensive processes, therefore, has restricted metal AM to low-volume, high price tag parts, such as those for aircraft or surgical applications. Until automation improves, it will be a hard challenge to achieve large volume production, like that required for automotive or industrial applications, at reasonable costs. situs poker online indonesia

Many metal AM companies today are engaged in increased automation of the printers as well as post-production and maintenance tasks to further AM technology. Sweden’s Digital Metal, a proprietary binder-jetting AM technology company created by Höganäs AB, says it can deliver high levels of resolution for small objects combined with high surface quality, as well as unprecedented automation (“no-hand production”) that makes metal AM feasible for high-volume production. Digital Metal is known for producing small, high-volume components using its high-precision DM P2500 system.

“For AM to move into serial or mass production productivity, it needs to improve substantially,” Ralf Carlström, general manager for Digital Metal AB, told Design News. “Today, AM serial production is primarily found in segments with comparatively low volumes, like aerospace and medical implants, where the alternative cost is high. Moving on to high-volume segments like automotive will require productivity to increase substantially through more efficient processes.”