How Do We Move from Metal Rapid Prototyping to Metal Additive Manufacturing?

How Do We Move from Metal Rapid Prototyping to Metal Additive Manufacturing? image
June 3, 2016 | Source: Michael Molitch-Hou, ENGINEERING.com

There are many factors that will play into the ultimate shift of 3D printing as a technology for rapid prototyping to one of end-part manufacturing, but the one area of additive manufacturing (AM) that may stand in the way of mass adoption of 3D printing within the larger manufacturing supply chain is that of metal AM.Metal AM has the ability to produce intricate, streamlined components with physical properties that can sometimes exceed those of parts manufactured by traditional means. Consequently, the technology has the potential to completely shift the way that we fabricate critical components. With it, we can create lightweight objects with unique geometries capable of decreasing material waste and energy consumption. The obstacles to the adoption of Metal AM are many including lack of data, time and labor intensive, lack of automation, as well as the cost involved.

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