05 May 2017 11:09
There’s never been a better time for companies to discover the potential benefits of incorporating additive manufacturing into their range of services, or for companies who are already using this technology to explore new approaches and applications for it. While many of the key benefits of additive manufacturing are well-documented, improvements in technology, materials and best practice have revealed a number of new benefits that may not be immediately obvious. Here are six examples: 1) Reduced storage costs for spare parts In any industry that requires spare parts to be available at ...
03 May 2017 11:19
Economies of scale are a key concern for all companies offering manufacturing services, regardless of their industry, or the specific processes and technology they employ. For some time now, these concerns have served to slow the uptake of additive manufacturing processes as viable production tools. The argument typically goes that additive manufacturing technology does not deliver the same economies of scale that traditional manufacturing does. In other words, the cost to deliver a 3d-printed part will always stay the same, regardless of whether one or 100 are to be produced. ...
28 April 2017 15:15
We live in a truly connected world. Everything from our phones to our televisions and cars is now online, bringing together many disparate areas of our daily lives and how we do business. The concept of an ‘internet of things’ has gained increasing currency, and more and more companies across the industrial sector are looking to bring disparate systems and processes together to optimise their overall efficiency and productivity. As a result, effective software integration tools and processes must be considered. So how does this affect the world of additive manufacturing?   Bringing together ...
11 April 2017 10:15
With the increasing sophistication of additive manufacturing technologies, the doors have been opened for applications far beyond simple desktop printing and prototyping. 3D printers have grown in terms of size, sophistication and flexibility, to the extent there are now models available that are capable of printing furniture, car chassis, and potentially even larger designs. At the time of writing, the European Space Agency’s own 3D printing platform -- while not commercially available -- is theoretically capable of printing objects of any size using binder jetting technology. [caption id="attachment_1311" align="alignright" width="300"] ...
03 April 2017 16:43
Ever since the birth of additive manufacturing, questions about the technology’s impact on data protection and intellectual property have continued to arise. Initially, when additive manufacturing technology was exclusively used as a tool for product design and prototyping, these questions focused on intellectual property. This was a natural concern, considering that the technology would theoretically let anyone with access to the original CAD file and suitable equipment create a perfect 3D print of the design. As additive manufacturing as grown to establish itself as a viable production tool across a number ...
24 March 2017 16:45
A recent survey revealed a number of fascinating developments in the way additive manufacturing companies’ long-term goals are evolving: Increasing project turnaround speed emerged as the main goal for most companies, followed closely by reducing operational costs More than 50% of companies surveyed were actively looking to develop AM as a production tool rather than purely a prototyping one However, the answers for how to best achieve these goals proves elusive. There are numerous elements to consider, and customer requirements and expectations are evolving year by year. However, one essential element ...
17 March 2017 13:49
One of the principle advantages additive manufacturing techniques have over traditional machining is the dramatic reduction in material waste created during the production process. Not only does this result in tangible cost savings, it also helps make a strong case for additive manufacturing as a truly sustainable, cost-effective technology. Selective laser sintering (SLS) methods are especially attractive in this regard, thanks to the potential for reusing waste material at the end of a print run -- an opportunity to dramatically reduce material costs. Once printing is complete, all leftover material ...
10 March 2017 17:23
The typical customer journey has changed a lot over the past two decades, with the rapid rise of online business meaning that companies are now engaging with their customers through more channels than ever before. Although more than 90% of customers requesting additive manufacturing services still prefer to pick up the phone and speak to a real human being, more and more prefer the speed and convenience of ordering online. It’s therefore vital to understand these different channels of business and incorporate them into a single, integrated customer experience strategy. ...
03 March 2017 16:31
There are currently a considerable number of different CAD file formats used for 3D modelling. This means companies offering AM services must to be willing to exercise flexibility when receiving customer requests, and have effective systems in place for converting files into the formats supported by their machines. However, with the number of different formats used by 3D printers at the time of writing, some of which are tied to specific hardware or additive manufacturing software, this can quickly become a costly exercise, as companies are required to purchase multiple ...
24 February 2017 9:55
We’ve seen some incredibly exciting developments in additive manufacturing technology in recent years. At RP Platform, we’ve been especially excited by the newest developments in hybrid processes -- prototyping and production approaches that combine AM with ‘traditional’ manufacturing techniques. For example, certain parts of a product could be created using AM techniques, while others could be developed using CNC machining. This ‘best of both worlds’ approach has been around for some time, but it is only recently that we have begun to see it reflected in additive manufacturing technology. In recent ...