VIDEO: Finding Technical Applications for Additive Technology
James Anderton posted on November 15, 2017 |
Demonstrated bottom-line added value is essential to the growth of industrial additive.

The last decade has seen the critical “valley of death” period for additive manufacturing; a term for the leap technology must make from concept to commercialization. 

At the outset, 3D printing seemed to be a solution without a problem. From material availability, to build quality, to speed and scalability, additive manufacturing leaders have advanced the viability of the technology, and as adoption grows, the ingenuity of more and more engineers helps discover opportunities to apply additive in new use cases.

To find out more about how manufacturers can drive the growth of additive as a viable manufacturing process, we spoke to Martín Sáez of Materialise, a 3D printing service company that champions digital manufacturing. Watch the video below to hear about how customers, not new printers, drive the growth of additive technology.

If you stay up-to-date on the state of the additive manufacturing market, you know that what started out as a prototyping and modelling tool has rapidly gained viability as an option for making one-offs, jigs, fixtures and other low batch size parts; parts that don’t benefit from the economy of scale inherent in conventional machining techniques. Furthermore, additive is developing into the aerospace market, because of the way it can produce highly complex, difficult-to-machine parts out of materials such as titanium or thin-walled aluminum, and featuring interior angles or internal structures.

The “valley of death” is essentially the leap every project must make from cool technology to profitable solution. That’s why customers are the key driver of advancement of any technology: unlike consumer early adopters, no business customer will choose additive because it’s “cool”—the technology has to demonstrate value on the bottom line.

In the video, the automotive jig made by Materialise delivered a lighter tool, cheaper, with lower lead time. In order to develop additive manufacturing into the disruptive, industry 4.0 manufacturing process it has the potential to be, companies like Materialise must keep delivering bottom-line value to customers. 

For more on the future of additive manufacturing in Spain, check out Could Barcelona Become the World’s Additive Manufacturing Hub?

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