It seems that additive manufacturing, aka 3D printing and rapid prototyping, is receiving a lot of attention of late. Even the mainstream media are posting and publishing stories about the potential uses of this exciting technology.
For sure, it is moving out of the lab and into the real world of manufacturing where applications, materials and process refinements are happening at a very rapid (excuse the pun) clip. However, aside from the "gee whiz" factor of the additive processes, manufacturing business wants to know if and how this relatively new way of making parts can help them do a better job.
To that end, our sister publication, Modern Machine Shop, has created a deep repository of relevant information about the additive process. Is it the next big thing, perhaps? It is in your best interest to at least explore and become familiar with who is using additive, how it works and in doing so, trigger potential uses within your shop.
There is always a tendency to over reach when something new is brought to market. We’ve seen this occur time and again through the years. Few technologies act as replacements for other methods. Rather, new developments tend to find their place within a shop through the merit they can bring to the manufacturing process as a whole. Application and usefulness within manufacturing determines how widespread a given technology becomes.
Take a few minutes to check out this link for examples of additive manufacturing in the real world of manufacturing, and make your own determination if it is a process that may be of interest for your business.