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3D Printing Will Change Design and Manufacturing In 2017

While much of the focus lately has been on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality as well as machine learning and big data, 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing) is developing into something just as significant.

In 2017, experts believe that Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, will have a huge impact on how we design and make things; even more so than it already has. Additive Manufacturing works by depositing layers of material (generally metal or plastic), to a template, and then lasering that material into place and repeating the process to build the required product.

Using Additive Manufacturing you can make anything from jet engine parts to replacement body parts to bikes and firearms.

3D Printing has had a lot of attention on the consumer side, however, it is rapidly growing as a major player and potential replacement to manufacturing in industry.

Two recent examples reported in Forbes,

Computerworld reported that researchers at MIT have created 3D-printed graphene, the one-molecule-thick wonder material, to make a material that they say is “lighter than air” but 10 times as strong as steel. If it can be scaled up, it could help to lightweight products such as aircraft, cars and filtration devices, saving huge amounts of fuel, costs and carbon emissions.

At the other end of the scale, CNN reports on a Dubai-based start-up called Cazza that says it can 3D print 200m2 of concrete a day, using a 3D-printing crane it calls the “Minitank.” By automating the process, the company says it can build structures more than 50% faster than conventional methods allow.
Siemens is major player and has been leading the industry making 3D printed burners for its turbines which creates one component that originally took 13 different parts with traditional subtractive manufacturing.
3D printing is also set to revolutionize maintenance and repair operations as well.
It’s good to note that Additive Manufacturing is not the answer for every situation. It currently remains feasible for high-value, complex, limited edition products and components.
Experts generally agree that over the next five years, Additive manufacturing will allow industry to cut costs by 50% and dramatically increase innovation.
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3D Printing Will Change Design and Manufacturing In 2017