Trends in Additive Manufacturing
Keywords: 3D Printing, ASTM, Fabrication Of Prototypes, Production Parts, Production, Automation, Engineering, Prototyping.
Many pundits believe that additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, will provide the impetus of the next industrial revolution. Looking past the often-sensational headlines, it is important to understand that 3D printing/additive manufacturing is actually a compendium of technologies, with build materials ranging from office paper to titanium to cheese. However, all additive technologies share a common philosophy: it may be more efficient to make things by building up materials, than cutting them away. ASTM, an international standards organization, defines additive manufacturing as the "process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies, such as traditional machining."
The year 2012 was the breakout year for additive manufacturing, with system suppliers achieving record revenues and the industry gaining widespread (if sometimes inflated) recognition. This past year also saw the first real penetration of additive manufacturing on the consumer market; many systems are now cheaper than a MacBook. On the other end of the spectrum, there has been a steady progression in the development of systems intended for industrial or professional usage. Against this backdrop, many leading manufacturing companies are now evaluating additive manufacturing both for the fabrication of prototypes and production parts.
Despite this surge in popularity, additive manufacturing is still developing and current usage is actually quite limited. This Strategy Report will identify domains, industries, and applications for which additive manufacturing can add value to industrial companies. It provides an overview of the different additive process types, including their respective strengths and weaknesses, and evaluates the constraints of the market.
Table of Contents
Early Adopter Industries
Factors Driving Growth
Promising Emerging Directions
Factors Inhibiting Growth
Additive Manufacturing Categories
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