Additive Manufacturing refers to a process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material.
The term 3D printing is increasingly used as a synonym for Additive Manufacturing.
Additive Manufacturing is more accurate since it describes a professional production technique which is clearly distinguished from conventional methods of material removal. 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing builds up components layer by layer using materials which are available in fine powder form.
A range of different metals, plastics and composite materials may be used !
This 3D Printing technology has especially been applied in conjunction with Rapid Prototyping - the construction of illustrative and functional prototypes.
Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing is now being used in Series Production since it gives Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) the opportunity to create a distinctive profile for themselves based on new customer benefits, cost-saving potential and the ability to meet sustainability goals.
The strengths of Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing lie in those areas where conventional manufacturing reaches its limitations.
This 3D printing technology is of interest where a new approach to design and manufacturing is required so as to come up with solutions. It enables a design-driven manufacturing process - where design determines production and not the other way around. What is more, 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, allows for highly complex structures which can still be extremely light and stable.
3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing apart from allowing high complex structures to be light and stable it also provides: