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Metal-based additive manufacturing - Current possibilities and future chances

: Isaza, J.; Aumund-Kopp, C.

Ceramic forum international : CFI. Berichte der Deutschen Keramischen Gesellschaft 91 (2014), Nr.3/4, S.E51-56
ISSN: 0173-9913
Fraunhofer IFAM ()

The outstanding feature of all AM techniques is their capability to produce parts of highest geometrical complexity which can not be built by any other production technique. This works because of the tool-free layer-by-layer approach of all AM processes. Parts are produced based on 3D-CAD-model-data without any tooling needed. The number of available materials is still limited compared to other processes like milling or injection moulding but the number of materials qualified for polymer- or metal-based processes is continuously rising. Concerning technology readiness, a lot of AM techniques offer part qualities which are comparable to those resulting from conventional manufacturing methods. The AM produced parts can be used and post-processed (milled, drilled, coated) like any other standard industrial part. Especially in metal, AM produced parts often exceed the mechanical property values of those machined from standard bulk material. Another aspect becoming more and more important is connected to the outstanding material efficiency of most AM processes. Scrap rates are usually <5 %. Compared to scrap rates of more than 90 % with many complex milled parts, with declining raw material availabilities and rising costs this material efficiency will remain a major advantage in the long run. In the future, AM will definitely attain an increasing market share in production, due to faster systems with more powerful lasers and larger building chambers. A significant number of materials will be qualified for AM and - looking at long term developments - multi-material-systems for a lot of processes will become available.