In all fields, technology is experiencing a period of growth and expansion. More and more areas are emerging and evolving thanks to the facilities that technology offers us. Surely you have heard about additive manufacturing, in colloquial terms it is better known as 3D printing.
Additive manufacturing is the process of creating customized products from scratch, layer by layer without the need for custom molds; in short, it is the opposite of traditional production. It is booming because it has features that make it much more economical, customized, and easier to implement.
Advantages and disadvantages
Among the main advantages we find:
- The rapid creation of prototypes, since it is not necessary to get previous molds to be able to join or create the final piece, but this is done from scratch by fusing layer by layer.
- The reduction of production costs and inventories since it enables production on demand, and in turn, a faster response to such demand.
- It allows a high degree of design freedom, since any idea and design that the company may have can be freely implemented, so there is an increase in new products.
- The reduction of waste, thanks to the fact that additive manufacturing adds only the necessary material, reducing the waste of materials by up to 90%.
Some of the disadvantages are:
- Increased pollution, although the amount of waste is reduced, but the machines used to manufacture the parts release many more pollutants, in addition to consuming more energy than conventional production machines.
- It is still in a slow growth stage and without much technology available in the country, therefore, the available technology is too expensive to make the initial investment.
Technological advances end up benefiting any industry either directly or indirectly, however, there are some sectors that are exploiting additive manufacturing in a greater way:
It allows companies to have better innovation in their products, which allows them to remain competitive in the market. Additive manufacturing offers the possibility of creating lighter and optimized components in terms of performance and strength.
The ability to produce complex and customized components efficiently has led to the widespread adoption of this technology in the industry. Among its main applications, it allows companies to replace heavy metal parts with lightweight but durable parts, resulting in lighter aircraft and optimized weight distribution that consume less fuel.
Additive manufacturing has revolutionized the medical sector by enabling the production of customized medical devices, anatomical models, surgical instruments, and medicines adapted to the individual needs of patients, without neglecting the reduction of high production costs, since it is not necessary to create customized molds to obtain the instruments.
Overall, additive manufacturing is positioned as the next stage within Industry 4.0 and technological transformation, offering broad benefits to multiple companies and sectors globally. It is projected to reach $35.4 billion in value by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 14.6%, according to reports from Grand View Research.