Additive manufacturing is an exciting process with lots of potential, but 3D printing is nowhere near being able to replace traditional manufacturing processes. Three decades ago, 3D printing was almost exclusively used for prototyping, research, and development. Today, additive manufacturing is commonly used by many industries to make things including hearing aids, dental work, and air craft components. However, traditional manufacturing is still necessary for most types of manufacturing and production, and it’s going to take significant advancements before we rely on 3D printing in manufacturing.
3D-printing is neat…
Traditional manufacturing techniques create products by removing material. Take CNC machining for example. Machining is a subtractive process; raw material is taken away and removed to leave a final product. New manufacturing techniques—3D printing, or additive manufacturing—create objects by adding or layering material.
There are many advantages to additive manufacturing:
- The variety of materials used in 3D printing allow for versatility in production. Additive manufacturing uses plastics, metals, ceramics, resins, food, and biomaterial. Students from MIT even 3D-printed ice cream.
- 3D printing is used to make artificial organs, construct buildings, and create food. It’s used by tinkerers in private homes, medical professionals in hospital settings, and on the International Space Station to create spare parts.
- Additive manufacturing allows for increased customization. You can make anything with the right CAD file, and customizing goods is a simple matter of tweaking a design.
- Additive manufacturing also reduces the amount of waste in the manufacturign process. 3D printing adds material rather than take material away; this means that you only use the resources that you need, and there is very little waste.
But your industrial motion control system isn’t going anywhere.
Additive manufacturing is an exciting technology trying to breaking free of prototyping and novelty applications. While some fields are making the most of the advantages of 3D-printing technology, traditional manufacturing processes are still essential for almost all manufacturers at the moment.
Indramat was one of the biggest names in industrial motion control products, and there’s a good chance that your plant has at least one Indramat servo, especially if you use CNC machines. We are Indramat specialists offering preventive maintenance, inspection, repair, retrofitting, and service for Indramat systems. Call 479-422-0390 for contact us online for Indramat support.