About Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing is a process whereby three dimensional objects are created layer-by-layer using 3D object scanners or computer aided design. As the industrial equivalent of 3D printing, additive manufacturing removes the need for machining or other methods of removing excess material as the process only deposits necessary materials.
Ideal for creating complex geometric shapes, additive manufacturing is suited for making bespoke parts and prototypes, while the computer aided design allows for any design changes to be effected quickly and efficiently.
Additive manufacturing offers cost reductions for high-value parts due to the lack of material wastage and can also reduce lead times. In addition, this manufacturing process can improve strength and durability as items can be created as one solid object rather than being assembled from multiple parts.
This versatile manufacturing technique is widely used in industries including aerospace, automotive, and medical.
There are several additive manufacturing processes which are all governed by their own standards. These processes include laser metal deposition, which TWI has been developing for over ten years and has been used for the repair of high value parts for aerospace and the military, selective laser melting, and arc-based additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing is suitable for use with a number of different materials depending on the application. The most common materials used are thermoplastic polymers, while metals and metal alloys, ceramics, and biochemicals are also suitable for additive manufacturing processes.
For more information on AM, visit our 'what is additive manufacturing' webpage.