How industrial-scale additive manufacturing may be right for your business?

News from the 3D printing industry | 13 June 2019

In an interview given by Dean Haehnel, a member of the Siemens PLM Thought Leadership team, to Robert Meshel, Siemens Director of the Additive Manufacturing Network Initiative, they focus on the concept of industrial-scale additive manufacturing (ISAM). Through this article discover their insights about ISAM and how it could transform your business. 

Industrial-Scale Additive Manufacturing, from prototyping into real parts

The additive manufacturing market is nowadays specially focused on rapid prototyping. Projections for the market additive manufacturing applications is still expected to grow at a pace of about 25 percent and estimated to go up to $7billion according to Robert Meshel. Prototyping is no longer sufficient, and additive manufacturing must go further because its significant promise will reside in ISAM and in a completely repeatable and reliable set of processes.

Companies such as Siemens, GE Aviation or BMW are investing a lot in this technology. However, even if there are lots of high qualitative experimental projects lead by a large company which understands the full potential of Additive Manufacturing, sometimes the knowledge does not fully exist yet in the market.

Up to 50%

of the overall balances of maintenance company can be dedicaded to the costs to produce and store spare parts in warehouses.

Industrial-Scale Additive Manufacturing, an entirely new business model

By using Additive Manufacturing, a company sees its entire business process going to be quite different because products and process have been modified. It is sometimes complicated for a company to change what is known and move to the next level.

Additive Manufacturing can redefine your business model for various reasons. First, products are going to look different from the traditional method. Additive manufacturing is building part by part and you will have the possibility of creating complex structures, more customized or more light weighting. Because the execution process is quite different, it asks for more effort and a good understanding of how to design and what kinds of materials you should use. Secondly, a company who wants to take part in industry 4.0 need to engage with new vendors, new partners, upgraded vendors, etc., reminds Robert Meshel. Supporting Additive Manufacturing in your company can be impressive at first but once you manage these sets of capabilities and have the high-standard that customers expect, the full benefits of Additive Manufacturing is released.

Industrial-Scale Additive Manufacturing, a full set of opportunities and benefits

Because it is a new industry and material is still expensive, Additive Manufacturing seems to be an important investment, but it has also lots of benefits.

For a company, moving to a fully digital world of Additive Manufacturing allows it to produce as needed and can dramatically reduce the costs to produce and store parts in warehouses which can reach 40 to 50 percent of the overall balances of the company. So, instead of a warehouse, the design is stored in a database and shipped digitally to be produced upon consumption, reducing your physical inventory to zero – an enormous benefit to manufacturers.

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Industrial-Scale Additive Manufacturing, on a way to achieve industry-scale levels of production

The range of materials needs to grow to support it. Also, the quality needs to improve, and this refers to building repeatable processes. A significant amount of printing is failing and needs to be replaced and redone. This is unacceptable with industrial-scale additive manufacturing. Moreover, manufacturer information knowledge still can be improved on this technology to quickly collect the relevant information and process with it. All these improvements are typical for a new industry, and will result is a reduction in the cost structure.

“This is a new technology and industry. If we look back and try to compare to other past emerging technologies, I think this has the real potential to become an exponential technology.”

Robert MeshelSiemens Director of the Additive Manufacturing Network Initiative

Industrial-Scale Additive Manufacturing, an Investissement for the future

According to Robert Meshel, Additive Manufacturing has the potential to become an essential technology in the future and will grow exponentially. Although its start is good there may be disappointments with this seemingly slow progress. However, there will be a point where the use of this technology will totally increase. The technology is still under development but, it is sure that it may soon be integrated into all manufacturing processes!