Trends: Applications, Software, Materials Development Driving AMFebruary 20, 2019
From Materialise, with U.S. offices in Plymouth, MI, comes an assessment of AM trends, including the observation that applications, not technology, will drive the 3D printing industry forward.
“Investments are not going to machine manufacturers anymore but to companies and start-ups that apply 3D printing to create real added value in specific domains,” says Fried Vancraen, Materialise CEO.
Another identified trend: The rise of manufacturing applications, as opposed to prototyping ones, is fueling a growth in materials development. This trend is likely to bring a new challenge: the need for materials standardization and better machine control, especially for industries with highly demanding quality requirements, such as aerospace and medical devices.
In addition, software will be key to boosting productivity in 3D printing, as a consensus among Materialise experts affirms that 3D printing is reaching a new level of maturity. As industries work on integrating 3D printing into their production mix, their challenges are less about technology and more about economics. The goal is to reduce costs and to increase efficiency.
“We need to get productivity and profitability up, and costs down. Software plays a key role in that,” says Stefaan Motte, software vice president at Materialise “Automating manual labor during the preparation phase, also during and after production, already is a big help in making 3D printing scalable and cutting the costs down. This not only reduces labor but improves the efficiency of the entire process.”
In addition, incorporating simulation into the 3D printing workflow makes it possible for production operators to spot potential build errors even before the build starts, company officials offer. Preventing failed builds can help reduce production costs drastically, they say, and bring down scrap rates and increase overall profitability.
See also: Materialise USA LLC
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