At 3DPrint.com, we obviously talk a lot about 3D printing every day, but one topic that keeps coming back up lately is how 3D printing can be combined with other, more traditional manufacturing technologies: CNC machining, investment casting, injection molding, etc. Just this past week, we took a look at one instance in which metal additive manufacturing and casting were combined to create stronger parts than either technology can produce on its own, and it was far from the first case study we’ve seen where the powers of multiple technologies were combined. Additive manufacturing is beginning to be seen as a complementary technology, rather than one that will wipe out all other forms of manufacturing.
We’ve also been seeing a plethora of hybrid machines that combine 3D printing and CNC machining in one neat package. Many manufacturers are becoming aware of the effectiveness of combining additive and subtractive manufacturing, to the point that a whole new area of manufacturing – hybrid manufacturing – has been defined as the “next big thing.”
If any company is aware of what the next big thing in manufacturing will be – especially where additive manufacturing is involved – it’s Stratasys. The company is not only one of the oldest and most well-known in the 3D printing industry, it’s also full of experts on all things manufacturing-related, and recently offered to share some of that expertise via a white paper entitled “How Additive and Traditional Manufacturing Mix.” The white paper is free to download from 3DPrint.com; all you need to do is click here and fill out a brief form.
The paper features insight from Kevin Nerem, an applications engineer at Stratasys, on the ways that additive manufacturing can be used with and alongside more traditional manufacturing technologies. Nerem comments on how 3D printing and traditional manufacturing are enhancing each other at the moment, and how both will continue to evolve alongside each other. He also points out areas for improvement, as well as how Stratasys technology can be incorporated into other manufacturing practices.
“Most types of additive complement traditional manufacturing,” he comments. “Some types are better suited for manufacturing than others, but they all have a place…Additive is very practical for low volume and/or highly complex parts. As the number of parts needed increases, traditional methods become more cost effective.”
The white paper provides valuable information for anyone in the manufacturing field, especially those wondering how 3D printing fits in to their already established processes. Like we’ve said before, it’s not a matter of replacing older technologies in most cases, but rather adding to them – which makes the term “additive manufacturing” appropriate in more ways than one. If you’re interested in learning more, you can request a copy of the white paper here. Discuss in the Stratasys forum at 3DPB.com.[Images: Stratasys]
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