AM (Additive Manufacturing) costs are reducing and combined with it’s flexibility to manufacture quickly bespoke designs from CAD models, is slowly taking sector ground from more traditional manufacturing methods. The range of materials that can be used has increased (including various plastics & polymers and now metals) is giving rise to a range of products with custom mechanical properties and related costs. Another advantage of AM is the introduction of a material’s porosity that decreases density and therefore weight of a given product with a disproportionately low effect on mechanical properties in most cases.
The medical and dental sectors have been revolutionised by AM over the last few years allowing the production of patient specific unique geometries such as crowns, bridges or custom hip implants. Recently Adidas with their Futurecraft 4D product line use AM to produce shoes that are customised to the needs of individuals.
Chris Sutcliffe, R&D director of AM products at Renishaw, mentions that ‘AM can help in the production of families of products based on a parametric CAD file, allowing manufacturers to create a series of products of perhaps different sizes or amendments to suit their purpose’.
The future looks bright for AM with the potential of ‘multi-functionality in serial parts delivered at production rates – a real tangible benefit of AM’.
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All the best
“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”
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ps If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike