What is additive manufacturing?

What is additive manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing is a new production concept whereby material (plastic or metal) is deposited layer by layer in a controlled manner where it is needed. This technique, commonly known as 3d printing, produces customised geometric shapes according to the needs of each sector.

Compared to traditional manufacturing techniques, this technology reduces intermediate processes such as tooling production, allowing parts to be produced up to 90% faster. Moreover, because only the material needed to manufacture the part is used, no waste is generated, components cost less and production is more sustainable.

You can learn more about industrial 3d printing here

Additive manufacturing, a thriving sector

The additive production sector has experienced significant growth in recent years due to the speed, precision and savings it allows. In fact, according to a market study based on data from the Wohlers Report 2013 and figures from Roland Berger and Frost & Sullivan, the global additive manufacturing market is worth around $3.5 billion annually. This figure is expected to continue to grow to more than $6 billion in three or four years.

A wide variety of components are currently being produced with this technology, mainly in the healthand aerospace industries which are currently the most mature sectors in the application of additive manufacturing The use of additive manufacturing in these fields makes it possible to obtain everything from implants customised to the patient’s needs, to components for aircraft engines that can withstand 700º of temperature on a continuous basis.

However, it is a technique with huge potential and a growing process, which is applied in many other sectors such as the general industry, the automotive, textile industry, toys, consumer electronics, furniture, jewellery, architecture… among many others.


Additive manufacturing technologies

Depending on the needs of each sector or component, additive manufacturing can be produced from different technologies. In fact, the choice of one technology or another will depend on a number of factors such as the functionality of the part to be produced, or whether it is to be produced from polymers or metal alloys.

The main technologies of additive manufacturing are:

You can learn more about additive manufacturing from our Technical Director, Gorka Fernández, by clicking on his lecture on additive manufacturing, at the AIC.

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