Is it really necessary to get rid of your traditional production machinery to launch your company into the future?
I know you would like a conclusive and polarizing reply : yes or no, black or white, but unfortunately there are no extreme negatives or positives in the world of additive systems; each type of production must be analyzed, case by case, by a team of 3D printing experts.
No manufacturer or expert of AM (collegamento ipertestuale) can guarantee, without first verifying your case with tests and analysis, if your production can work better with traditional methods or with the new additive technology.
If you are starting from scratch, you need a guide who can indicate the way to go and explain in which circumstances you can contemplate investing in a 3D printer, and in which it is better. economically and practically, not to do so.
As I often repeat in this blog: 3D printing is not suitable for every type of production.
Don’t worry: even if I have to analyze your case personally to give you an accurate answer, I can already give you some advice.
I will give you a preliminary chart which will indicate when additive systems will become your secret weapon to speed up your production by 2/3
Before continuing, I want to dispel the belief that a 3D printer can completely SUBSTITUTE a traditional mechanical production; by reading the article your will realize that the two technologies must ACCOMPANY each other.
1) Make possible what is impossible for your competition
It is not a play on words but reality: with a 3D printer you could obtain components which are impossible for the competition, which is still using only traditional systems.
When I speak of impossible objects I am referring to all those complex components which look a bit like the work of Mauritius Cornelius Escher: pipes with internal cooling systems, geometric figures with curved shapes, hollow components, pieces which contain other pieces (like Matryoshka dolls) or geometries with non -linear trajectories.
While the competition must carry out the work in various phases to obtain a hollow pipe, separately producing each section of the component, the screws and the final assembly; with a 3D printer you could produce the entire pipe in one single production phase.
It is not magic, it is technology.
If you have many complex components to produce, the only possible solution which will save time and money is 3D printing.
If on the other hand your mechanical company produces only SIMPLE components, which you do not have to deliver in tight deadlines, it is more profitable to continue using the dear old cutter and lathe.
Below I will reveal where you can find a concrete example of the benefits which can be obtained producing an impossible geometry with a 3D printer, instead of with traditional methods.
2) Watch out for size!
Economically, it is better to produce complex geometries in small lots.
What does small mean? Is there a standard? This is data which is analyzed case by case, because 500 pieces could be a small lot for your company but a big lot for others.
Everything is relative, as Einstein said.
Likewise in this case it is necessary for a team of experts to evaluate the situation.
3) No houses or ships printed in 3D
Even if the University of Maine has ended up in the Guinness Book of Records for having printed a 7.6 metre boat in 3D, there is a limit on the size of the piece which you can produce for mechanical applications.
Since we are specialized in 3D printers for steel targeting the mechanical sector, in order to guarantee solidity of the components, in 3D4STEEL we have defined a standard for the size of the piece which corresponds to the size of the printing bed: 350 x 350 x 350 mm.
Why this size?
The 3D4STEEL printer exploits the SLM technology (Selective Laser Melting) coll. Ipertest), that is a laser beam fuses the steel powder particles placed on the printing bed. Once fused, the particles solidify and form the component.
To print a larger component one laser head is no longer enough: 3D printers, which produce large components with SLM technology, use two laser heads: why does this choice cause problems?
When two laser beams hit a point, they fuse the powder twice and form pores inside the component, which make it fragile, full of holes like Emmental cheese
Since the component must have a mechanical application, it cannot be porous otherwise it will crumble in a thousand pieces at the first mechanical stress.
At the end of the article I will show you how to access other more technical and in depth information, explained in a simply way, to widen your knowledge of the world of 3D printing.
4) Precious gems vs common pebbles
Do you produce precious gems or common pebbles?
in other words:
Do you produce similar standard components for mass production or are you aiming to produce fewer products which are unique and personalized for the tastes and needs of your customers?
The rule is simple: if you produce components which are all the same, exploit traditional methods.
With unique and personalized components you must rely on additive technology.
Thanks to 3D , printing, today it is possible to produce drugs to counteract some medicines, customized for the patient. Acne for example is a pathology which can have various causes: a generic impersonal drug for pimples does not solve the problem as does a solution which is adapted to the needs of the single individual.
Not only personalized drugs are produced: Mary Ann Liebert, in 3D printing and additive manufacturing, writes that this technology has opened up new opportunities in bone tissue engineering.
As a result of bone trauma, or a tumor, or an infection or an abnormal union after bone fracture, it is important to regenerate a normal atomic structure, something difficult to achieve since each human being is different, and that bones have particular variations, depending on the kind of trauma suffered by the individual.
With 3D printing you can replicate and rebuild the bone tissue, taking into account the particular differences in porosity, chemistry and form.
Apart from the goals achieved in the medical field, PERSONALIZATION with a 3D printer has become a true competitive advantage also in marketing.
Nike has boosted its income by 13% in just one year thanks to a unique idea of differentiating marketing: the Flyprint range.
Today this sports shoes colossal does not produce any shoes, but shoes adapted to the shape of the foot of the athlete buying it. Each shoe is worth a fortune because it is unique, like a diamond.
You too could exploit the competitive advantage of PERSONALIZATION, using a 3D printer to produce your mechanical components.
This introductory chart is not enough, because you must always rely on a team, specialized in 3D printing, who can verify your personal situation.
You cannot invest in a 3D printer without first having support from a technical team who possess the UNIQUE METHOD to understand:
1) Which components can be profitably printed in 3D;
2)how to adapt your projects, designed for the chip removal method, to additive production;
3)how much it will cost to print your mechanical components in 3D;
4)how much time you would gain by investing in additive systems;
The method exists and it is called CorSystem.
If you want to know more, I advise you to start with the free book which will show you all the phases of the method. In this book you will also find valuable information to increase your knowledge of the world of additive systems.
Not only: you will discover how to exploit this technology to your advantage.
Furthermore, inside your free copy you will find:
1)A complete, clear and simple guide to the whole world of 3D printing, in particular, for mechanical applications, which exploits the benefits of steel. The guide will simplify all the technical terminology of the sector. You will finally be able to talk to a manufacturer of 3D printers in his own language;
2)You will get to know all the additive technologies for mechanical application: thanks to this book, you will be able to evaluate, independently, the various technologies and machines present on the market, and act in the interests of your company, avoiding rip offs;
3)you will discover why and by how much storage is devouring your income, through a practical exercise;
4)you will be guided through the hell of 3D printing and discover all its negative aspects, for example: is it profitable to rely on 3D printing Service, or choose to produce mechanical components yourself?
5)a bonus gift will be waiting for you at the gates of Paradise of 3D printing, where you will find how to obtain your mechanical components in complete safety and speeding up production by 2/3;
P.S.: I have written this book to help Italian entrepreneurs in the mechanical sector, to approach this extraordinary technology, which is still very obscure.
Too much confusion surrounds the sector of additive manufacturing: your Italian book on 3D printing will help to bring a technology, which still sounds like science fiction, into your daily production.
I have only 50 free copies available since I have nearly finished first reprint stocks.
Goodbye until the next article