Additive Manufacturing: what it is, the process, examples

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What is Additive Manufacturing

This term groups together all 3D printing technologies that work by progressive addition of material.

It is therefore an additive process that involves the construction of artefacts through the superposition of material layer after layer, the layers.

According to the European Community, additive manufacturing is one of the enabling technologies of industry 4.0.

This means that companies and professionals who commit financial resources, invest in 3D printing technologies and train qualified personnel in this sector, are associated with the use of a high intensity of R&D as well as the most advanced automation, such as artificial intelligence.

This is why funding for projects involving investments in technologies and training in this area has recently become very numerous.

The process

Additive manufacturing technologies allow you to design and create physical objects starting from a three-dimensional file.

The design skills and abilities in this sector are not obvious and are opposite to conventional design logic.

This is because all 3D printing processes involve the construction of pieces by adding material.

This revolution in terms of process necessarily involves a change also in the methodology of designing 3D files.

The technologies used

In our production department we carry out both additive manufacturing and milling processes.

As regards additive manufacturing processes, over time we have structured ourselves to produce products with the following technologies:

TECHNOLOGYWORKING AREAMATERIAL
Stereolithography – SLA650x750x550 mmClear
Digital Light Printer – DLP275X155X400 mmABS-LIKE – XTECH35 – RUBBERX55 XFAST – XPP-BLACK
Selective laser sintering – SLS485X455X700 mm PA – PA30GF – Alumide
Multi Jet Fusion – MJF380X280X380 mm PA12 – PA12GB – PA12WHITE
Direct Metal Laser Sintering – DMLS250x250x325 mmAluminum – Stainless steel – Titanium
Lithography Based Ceramic Manufacturing – LCM100x65x300 mmAlumina – Zirconia
Fused Deposition Modelling – FDM914x610x614 mmPeek – Ultem – ASA – TPU – PA66 – PA 12 Carbon – PC – PC+ABS – POM

Added to all this is the workshop department with machining centers of up to 5 axes and the vacuum casting department.

The materials

The materials that can be used in additive manufacturing processes are shown in the previous table.

To obtain the technical data sheets of the materials you can consult the site at this link or send an email to info@coesum.com.

On all productions we can perform numerous surface finishes on request and dimensional checks via optical scanning and reverse engineering.

Differences with traditional production

As previously mentioned, additive manufacturing technologies produce parts unlike traditional manufacturing which is defined as subtractive.

In the latter, the creation of an object proceeds by subtraction of material from a single block full of material as occurs in mechanical milling processes.

In additive manufacturing the object is built by adding material, in fact the name derives from the process.

Advantages

The are many advantages in using 3D printing processes.

First of all the possibility of creating very complex geometries, optimizing the performance of the products which can be customized for the intended purpose.

Lighter, more compact and high-performance products, conceived and designed as monolithic to reduce assembly costs to a minimum.

But not only that, today additive manufacturing plays a fundamental role in both product and process development.

Just think of the construction of spare parts on production lines, on obsolete products and in the repair of worn products.

In these cases, 3D printing has almost entirely replaced the production of molded parts with obvious benefits in relation to time and costs.

Examples

To date we have thousands of projects followed in the production of components in additive manufacturing.

Below are some images of prototypes carried out for validation and testing of various kinds:

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