Additive Manufacturing

A 2020 View of Metal Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing also known as 3D printing technology have validated its occurrence in the year 2017. It has become a new sensation in the manufacturing industry. Many industries have used this technology to manufacture their goods. Some of the manufacturers are planning to use this technology in future. In the year 2020, it is estimated that 3D printing technology or additive manufacturing will spread in almost every single industry.

It was the year 2019 which was like a rocket launcher for the 3D printing technology. Many industries used this technology this year. Many 3D printers were also launched for industrial as well as for personal use. Many came with the tag of the best 3D printer while some came as the less toxic and environment friendly. It has a brighter future ahead.

This will make our future more machine laboured but, this will certainly help us to save time as well as money. This technology has been in use from a while in metal industries. Though the title is ironic, in this we are going to discuss the frame of spectacles which are 3D printed. Sooner our specs will be of our choice and perfectly fits.
In this blog post, we will see into the future with as many visionary puns as we can frame. In our eyes, 2019 was a pivotal year for AM(additive manufacturing). AM gained its legalization in 2017. It became a real manufacturing technology, continued to see strong, but due to over-stated valuation and high investments in 2018, and 2019 will be remembered as the year businesses decided to treat it as, well, a business.

2020 will be a better time to make money with AM. Keep your sharp eye out for continued consolidation as the massive investment in AM has outpaced today’s demand. Finally, we will see a marked change in business needs from people who are seen as “AM evangelists” to true AM practitioners.

Keeping in line with our vision theme, we will break down our 2020 speculations via our usual four (correctional) lenses: Machines, Materials, Digital and People.

Machines

• Machine sales will get tough as competition increases and the focus on expectations from machine users will continue to sharpen. Manufacturers will continue to compare the various Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) offerings with increased competition from the other 6 forms of AM. Knowledge of all forms of AM is growing.

• Productivity will be better. Faster speeds, lower costs, more automation and, best of all, more build analytics will make it better. Increasingly we will talk about ‘post-processing’ as good old processing, as in part of the manufacturing process. This will be particularly driven by the insertion of process intense technologies like Binder Jetting.

Materials

• The year of more! In the next year, there will be more AM processes, more materials requirements, more materials! As we seek better analysis and control of AM processes, understanding of material behaviour, including betterment of thermal treatments, will come as a way to get more continuous.

• The AM community will look for a better understanding of the powder requirements for the processes. This view will focus less on controlling costs and more about getting the process better under control.

Digital

• What is hard and what is soft will be less discrete, as we see a convergence of the design and simulation tools into machines and how they operate. The design processes from CAD should get easier.

• Machine analytics to predict products betterment and material performance will also increase. It’s still blurry; if we really squint, we can see the forms taking shape.

• View on material performance data will increase as an industry will figure out how to pool data and resources together.

People

• The fires of AM were lit by the early AM evangelists, but now businesses must have true AM practitioners to take them to the next level: sustainable business.

• The need for AM education and awareness about it across all business functions will increase. After all, AM is like a team sport, and it takes a lot more than just engineers to make it work. This will give a more focused understanding of what good looks like for AM training and in good pupils.

• Diversity will take a back burner. We have been pretty successful in getting younger people to have a career in manufacturing due to AM, but the pressure for having profits will challenge how committed companies have to strike a gender balance. We can do even more to increase the visibility of females in engineering and give them key roles to get more high schoolers to take an interest in Engineering curriculum.

Like growing up or getting glasses, we are in a bittersweet transition for AM. AM no longer gets by with just being special and new, it now must make business sense. As we set our sights on 2020, don’t despair if your AM vision is still a bit blurry.

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