Additive manufacturing (AM) is defined as the process of joining materials from Computer Aided Design (CAD) data models to 40 manufactured objects. In this process, the layer upon layer is referred to 41 as opposed to 42 methods of manufacturing and its technologies. 43 additive fabrication also known as freeform fabrication, and 3D printing are inclusively referred to as additive manufacturing (Mueller, 2012). The 44 manufacturing technologies techniques are still new and in evolving stage, and they are projected to significantly impact manufacturing industry. These manufacturing technologies are predicted to result in 46 new industry design having greater flexibility, a short period for marketing and greater reduction of energy consumption. It is evident that additive manufacturing (AM) technology for more than 20 years has been researched and developed leading to evolution and transformation on how manufacturing techniques are utilized. As opposed to the traditional removal of materials, additive manufacturing technology process creates three-dimensional objects from CAD models directly through the addition of materials by layer.
The implementation of additive manufacturing technology framework brings the benefit of creating objects and parts using material and geometric complexities which is impossible to produce using the traditional subtractive manufacturing processes techniques. Attributed to intensive research on additive manufacturing technology in the recent years, significant progress is notable majorly in the commercialization of the developed AM processes which are considered new and innovative (Mueller, 2012). These new and innovative AM technologies and processes are applied in the industries such as automotive, energy, aerospace, and biomedical among others. Currently, the stages in additive manufacturing entail the development of a 3-D model with the use of 48 computer modeling software. There is also the conversion of this model into a 49 AM file format which is standard, changing the location, size as well as other 50 properties pertinent to the model with the aid of AM software and, finally using AM device to create the object 51 in layers. Regarding object 52, there is increased use of additive manufacturing technologies resulting in a swift growth of 53 object applications which have been rapidly prototyped to produce 54 end-usable products. Additive equipment currently utilizes 55 composites, metals, polymers, and other powders to produce a range of functional printed components, layer by layer, encompassing 56 complex structures that cannot be manufactured using traditional technological means (Mellor, Hao & Zhang, D. 2014).
Additive manufacturing technology processes
It is notable that multinational companies are moving towards low production with higher value addition characterized by customized, innovative and sustainable manufactured products. Attributed to this trend Additive Manufacturing has become an important technological concept. AM is a suitable technique as it entails joining parts and materials layer by layer to create end object utilizing 3D data model. This innovative technology is beneficial as it facilitates tool remove requirements and fostering quality lower production volume. Additive Manufacturing entails the use of technology to manufacture prototypes. The underlying emerging technology aimed at developing new material and processes requires a framework to be implemented to ensure that it realizes its future potential (Mellor, Hao & Zhang, D. 2014). The implementation framework guides AM project managers to manage disruptive technological occurrences attributed to AM implementation. The AM implementation framework considers factors such as AM supply chain, technology, strategy, organization, and operations.
Ideally, additive manufacturing technologies have a wide array of applications ranging from aerospace and defense, automotive, and building sectors among many other relevant fields.
Aerospace and defense
Additive manufacturing has greatly contributed to the enhancement of production processes within the aerospace and defense fields. Analytical perspectives indicate that to a larger extent, AM has been incorporated into the field of A&D for such purposes as regards the manufacturing of lighter weight parts which play an overly substantial part with regards to improving the efficiency of the aircraft from several diversified dimensions. Considering the analogy determining the use of geometrically complex parts in A&D, additive manufacturing has equally contributed largely to the manufacturing of such parts which require a certain level of sophistication unable to be achieved through the otherwise ubiquitous traditional methods.
Additive manufacturing has also been quite beneficial in the automotive sector especially with regards to the development of new designs. Analytical perspectives indicate that AM is critical to enhancing prototyping of new designs which is very crucial in the field of automotive tooling. Normally, the development of new designs takes a great deal of time and as such impinges on the manufacturing company's production, as well as labor costs (Mellor, Hao & Zhang, D. 2014). However, the incorporation of additive manufacturing which prominently caters for the manufacturing of small and sophisticated parts at considerably lower costs while also cutting down on the labor has greatly enhanced the aspects of production at large.
Additive manufacturing also contributes largely to the development of biomedical research. Within this field, the aspects appertaining to the production of implants tailored to the customer's specifications plays a considerably important role in achieving success (Horn & Harrysson, 2012). Therefore, the prospects of incorporating the element of AM into the research have greatly enhanced the treatment processes by a long shot.
Additive manufacturing provides a framework for modeling efficiency as it enhances the production of designs with seemingly complex geometrical facades (Petrovic et al., 2011). By this token of logic, the utilization of AM aids in the saving of time needed for optimization of models. Additive manufacturing has completely diversified the aspects of lattice uniformity to perfection. Studies have indicated AM enables the designing of parametrically-regulated lattice configurations and thereby allowing the gaining of the variability control while reinforcing the lattice (Mueller, 2012). Nonetheless, additive manufacturing provides accurate simulation process thereby creating a platform for the development of structures with perfect symmetries. The incorporation of 3D printing by designers enables them to utilize the capabilities of all printers thereby enabling the designers to detect faults in their designs earlier. Accordingly, this feature enables the designers to gain access to a variety of useful data. AM allows for the easier building of structures, tracking enhancement, validation, as well as storage for future access (Petrovic et al., 2011). By this logic, AM works best to save companies money, time, as well as greatly reduce the wastage of important material.
Summarily, additive manufacturing has greatly contributed to the development of myriads of substantial feats in several fields. Among the fields which have greatly benefited from the adoption of this feature include automotive tooling, aerospace, and defense, the building sector, the medical sector among many others. AM is especially essential in the manufacturing of small parts with seemingly complex geometrical structures thereby providing a framework for the development of prototypes which lead to the improvement of new designs. AM houses a variety of beneficial effects ranging from the reduction of production costs, as well as cutting down on labor aspects.
Horn, T. J., & Harrysson, O. L. (2012). Overview of current additive manufacturing technologies and selected applications. Science progress, 95(3), 255-282.
Mellor, S., Hao, L., & Zhang, D. (2014). Additive manufacturing: A framework for implementation. International Journal of Production Economics, 149, 194-201.
Mueller, B. (2012). Additive manufacturing technologies-Rapid prototyping to direct digital manufacturing. Assembly Automation, 32(2).
Petrovic, V., Vicente Haro Gonzalez, J., Jorda Ferrando, O., Delgado Gordillo, J., Ramon Blasco Puchades, J., & Portoles Grinan, L. (2011). Additive layered manufacturing: sectors of industrial application shown through case studies. International Journal of Production Research, 49(4), 1061-1079.
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