The promise of additive manufacturing (AM) as a disruptive technology has been discussed in engineering circles for decades and promoted in the mainstream media for years. The benefits of AM – design freedom, weight savings, assembly simplification, economic batch size reduction – have all been achieved to some degree by those adopting the technology. However, despite ongoing advances, the metal AM industry continues to suffer from process reliability and productivity problems. For most industrial applications it still has not fully matured from a tooling and prototyping technology to large-scale production of end-use parts. This is particularly true in aerospace where part consistency is critical, and in automotive where speed and cost dominate.
This whitepaper explores the various reasons the industry has stagnated and proposes both solutions and a framework for industry and organizational advancement. It also outlines nine measurable factors that directly influence metal additive manufacturing printing speed, part strength, reliability, consistency and overall end part quality. Data points are provided for all variables for comparison.
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