Additive Manufacturing, or AM, was originally developed as an alternative to traditional machining, or subtractive manufacturing. There are numerous benefits to this method, even though some companies have been slower to adopt AM. Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons that AM can not only assist your company in improving the manufacturing process, but how it can also end up saving you money both in the short and long term.
1. Simplified process. You only need three components to get AM up and running: a CAD model, materials and energy. This translates into much less time from project inception to completion and removes the numerous steps that are necessary for subtractive manufacturing.
2. Ideal for lower volume manufacturing. Thanks to adaptability and ease of implementation, smaller firms are finding that AM helps them get off the ground running in a lot less time, and with a lot smaller budget. Instead of developing complex machining techniques, AM can be used to quickly jumpstart the process. This is enabling smaller companies to compete on an even level with larger competitors.
3. Change is easy. With subtractive machinery, a small change may necessitate replacing an entire machine. With AM, you can simply update the CAD drawing, switch out a tool and get right back to work. This means less downtime, less overall expense and a quicker path to profits.
If you’re on the fence as to whether or not AM is right for your firm, it’s best to start small. Pick one area in your company that definitely needs improvement and implement AM there. Watch for your cost savings and track the time from start to finish on your project. Chances are, you’re going to find the process smoother, the costs lower and the overall finished product well worth the effort. Companies on tighter budgets can begin adopting AM by upgrading their equipment as necessary and gradually transitioning over to an entirely AM process.