UTILIZING ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TO INCREASE PROCESS FLEXIBILITY
educational resourceposted on 12.10.2021, 15:34 by Matthew Lawrence MartineauMatthew Lawrence Martineau
The future of manufacturing will be a transformation from traditional machines to smart systems (Jeschke et al., 2017). Smart manufacturing brings new technologies that include automation, additive manufacturing, and smart machines that communicate with one another (Gilchrist, 2016). Additive manufacturing is the process of joining material layer by layer, using data from a three-dimensional model, to create a part (Bikas et al., 2015). The different additive manufacturing methods available including fused deposition modeling (FDM), stereolithography apparatus (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), and metal binder jetting (Bikas et al., 2015). Materials used in additive manufacturing include polymers, metal alloys, ceramics, and biomedical (Ngo et al., 2018). The research included four aerospace case study examples that used additive manufacturing to improve their process and part design. All four examples used the same 3D printer, the Electro Optical Systems EOS M 400 direct laser sintering machine for industrial production (Electro Optical Systems, 2020b). The materials used in the research varied among aluminum alloy, titanium alloy, and nickel-based alloy. The results show a significant reduction in manufacturing time, up to a 97%, and reduction in part cost, up to a 99%. The return on investment of implementing additive manufacturing can be seen as low as five weeks. The results also provide areas for future research including functional testing, additional additive manufacturing technologies and additional material types.