Innovation & New Technologies To what extent is additive manufacturing a new dimension? Innovation & New Technologies Additive manufacturing (AM), known to many as 3D printing has for over a decade been a favoured tool of architects. Through the technology, they have been tangibly presenting their design models and reworking their concepts at a fairly low cost, allowing them to reimagine boundaries, designs and edit them with visual aids they can easily produce. Now, 3D printing is being adopted around the world by engineering firms, and R&D teams in all industries to streamline their creative, production and testing processes. It is a method of efficiently, and cost-effectively printing parts using materials previously unworkable in shapes previously immalleable. The boundaries of what can and cannot be created have been redefined with this technology, enabling and stimulating creative minds to think outside the predefined boxes by expanding the reality of what can and cannot be created. Share this story: Leading innovation using new technologies Download now Download Guide Leading innovation using new technologies Quick, easy redesigns AM’s strength lies where traditional methods of manufacturing meets the boundaries of what it can achieve. The technology is a new approach to design and the manufacturing model, and produces not only finer and more editable work through digitised design concepts that act as production directions, but it comes up with solutions for problems. This can inform teams and assist their innovative flows when resolving said problems. The design-driven manufacturing process allows for the production of highly complex structures which can be lighter, more stable, more resource efficient than what can be produced via conventional methods. It expands the limits placed on design, and permits the optimisation and integration of redesigns of functional features like never before. Customisable like never before There are two sides to the coin of customisation with additive manufacturing. Because AM does not need tools or moulds which may be expensive and require extended amounts of time and labour to create, products can be redesigned and prototypes created easily and quickly. The innovative technology operates without the constraints of batch sizes. Every aspect of the product can be digitally customed and produced in a cost-effective manner in small quantities, or even as a one-off. So on the one hand, AM can be used to design products as a whole, but it can also allow companies innovating in the area of design to produce individual products in a series, and then manufacture that series easily once testing has been completed. Designs are fully and easily customisable, and need no longer be a significant drain on your resources or be dependent on traditional, longer and more costly production lines. Summary Additive manufacturing was once the favoured toy and tool of architects, but today AM is beginning to be integrated seamlessly into manufacturing ecosystems, offering up new opportunity for optimising design, prototyping and production practices. Large-scale industrial 3D printing is no longer just a dream, in fact looking at some of the most innovative companies in the news you can easily see how AM is a game-changer across the board. Space-X have dramatically revolutionised the production of rockets, blowing the efforts of traditional and more static corporations and competitors like NASA into the wind (Andreas Saar). Using AM is not only a new way of fostering innovation, but it is a vital tool to adapt to your organisation should you wish to remain competitive in the international marketplace.