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What is Additive Manufacturing?

Introduction to Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is a widely adapted by Manufacturing Industries for producing three dimensional prototype models within the minimum time and with greater flexibility in design  of the Product. Additive manufacturing uses three dimensional printing to transform engineering design files into fully functional and durable objects created from sand, metal and glass. The technology creates products layer by layer – after a layer’s particles are bound by heat or chemicals the next layer is added and the binding process is repeated. It enables geometries not previously possible to be manufactured. 
Principle of additive manufacturing
Principle Of Additive Manufacturing 
Full-form parts are made directly from computer-aided design (CAD) data for a variety of industrial, commercial and art applications. Manufacturers across several industries are using this digital manufacturing process to produce a range of products, including: engine components for automotive applications, impellers and blades for aerospace use, patternless sand molds for pumps used in the oil and energy industry, and medical prosthetics which require easily adaptable design modifications. This advanced manufacturing process starts with a CAD file that conveys information about how the finished product is supposed to look. The CAD file is then sent to a specialized printer where the product is created by the repeated laying of finely powdered material (including sand, metal and glass) and binder to gradually build the finished product. Since it works in a similar fashion to an office printer laying ink on paper, this process is often referred to as 3D printing. The 3D printers can create a vast range of products, including parts for use in airplanes and automobiles, to replacing aging or broken industrial equipment, or for precise components for medical needs.

There are tremendous cost advantages to using additive manufacturing. There is little to no waste
creating objects through additive manufacturing, as they are precisely built by adding material layer by layer. In traditional manufacturing, objects are created in a subtractive manner as metals are trimmed and shaped to fit together properly. This process creates substantial waste that can be harmful to the environment. Additive manufacturing is a very energy efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing option. 

Additive manufacturing swiftly creates product prototypes – an increasingly critical function that significantly reduces the traditional trial-and-error process – so new products can enter the market more quickly. Likewise, it can promptly create unique or specialized metal products that can replace worn or broken industrial parts. That means companies can avoid costly shut downs and drastically compress the time it takes to machine a replacement part. With additive manufacturing, once a CAD drawing is created the replacement part can be printed. Storage of bulky patterns and tooling is virtually eliminated.

Additive Manufacturing Companies :

Major global companies, including Ford, Sikorsky and Caterpillar, have recognized that additive manufacturing can significantly reduce costs while offering design freedoms not previously possible. They have begun to implement the technology into their manufacturing processes. Additive manufacturing has robust market capabilities ranging from aerospace to automotive to energy, and it is not uncommon to find 3D printers in use at metal-working factories and in foundries alongside milling machines, presses and plastic injection molding equipment. Companies that use additive manufacturing reduce costs, lower the risk of trial and error, and create opportunities for design innovation. A serious limitation of subtractive manufacturing is that part designs are often severely comprised to accommodate the constraints of the subtractive process. Additive manufacturing enables both the design and the materialization of objects by eliminating traditional manufacturing constraints

 Benefits of Additive Manufacturing 

 1. Low cost of manufacturing and processing
 2. Minimum Inventory
 3. Accuracy is high.
4. Complex design is possible with greater accuracy and tolerance can be kept in limits.
 5. Less scrap ,rework and wastage of Raw material

traditional vs additive waste

 Additive Manufacturing Materials 

Currently, plastics are the most widely used materials in additive manufacturing, and the important ones are listed below:

ABS - acrylonitile butadiene styrene or 'lego' plastic – a very common choice for 3D printing

PLA - polylactic acid – Is available in soft and hard grades, is becoming very popular and may overtake ABS in the near future

PVA - polyvinyl alcohol – This is used as a dissolvable support material or for special applications.

PC – polycarbonate – Polycarbonate requires high-temperature nozzle design and is in the proof-of-concept stage.

SOFT PLA - polylactic acid – Is rubbery and flexible, available in limited colors and sources. As 3D printing spreads, may get easy to find.

 Metals Used to Print 3D Objects- The Materials Science fraternity will also be very interested in 3-D printing for the range of possibilities involving metals.
 Some of the metals used in 3D printing include the following:
Stainless steel
example of rapid prototyping with raw material as metal
Complex Models of metals Can be Manufactured with Additive manufacturing
 See Also : 3D Printing | Additive Manufacturing | Rapid Prototyping

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