Breaking out of prototyping, 3D Printing is now scalable and being used for large production runs.
March 20, 2015
by Canadian Packaging staff
GREENWICH, Conn.—Additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, is changing the manufacturing paradigm, and will continue to do so over the next three to five years.
Nearly 35 percent of the global market for 3D is now devoted to making parts for final products as opposed to prototyping, molding and various types of tooling, according to Colorado-based Wohlers Associates.
That’s up from just four percent in 2003, and all reports show that number will continue to climb.
Use of 3D to make production parts passed the $1-billion mark globally in 2013 with about 38 percent of that activity being in the U.S.
“We are seeing companies push the limits of additive manufacturing to new levels and apply the technology in entirely new ways,” says Wolhlers Associates president Terry Wohlers to Chief Executive magazine.
“This means that the days of making promotional key chains or other one-off items is gone,” says Chief Executive magazine editor-in-chief J.P. Donlon. “3D is now cost-effective for full production runs. Furthermore, the variety of materials that can be used in a 3D printer is also diversifying and improving.”
Chief executive officers who get the formula right can transform their businesses or create entirely new ones.
One example of a company succeeding at scaling 3D is aerospace contractor Pratt & Whitney, which is placing dozens of 3D-manufactured titanium and nickel parts on its PurePower Geared Turbofan jet engines.
Those additively-manufactured parts, including fuel bypass manifolds, mounts, fittings, brackets, oil nozzles and airfoils, have been flight tested and will power Airbus and Bombardier aircraft entering passenger service in the second half of 2015.
Pratt & Whitney’s Lynn Gambill (chief engineer, Manufacturing and Engineering) will lead a discussion on “What’s Next in Additive Printing: Implications of New Technologies, Materials, Processes and Economics,” at Chief Executive’s 2015 Smart Manufacturing Summit, April 28-30, 2015 in Indianapolis.
The summit will feature:
More info on the Smart Manufacturing Summit available at www.smartmanufacturingsummit.com.