There is a demand signal to produce a machine capable of Metal printing on the front lines. Phillips has developed a Hybrid technology that adds a Wire fed Direct Energy Deposition head to a Haas machine.
Evolution of the Need for Expeditionary Manufacturing| Phillips Federal
Additive Manufacturing (AM) has the potential to rewrite the economics of production. It offers the ability to create more complex geometries and structures than is possible with traditional methods, enables greater efficiencies and performance.
Lack of Automation is Holding Additive Back
Anthony Graves, Head of Software Product and Strategy, Digital Manufacturing, HP | Dyndrite
So why hasn’t AM really delivered on its potential?
It’s not a question about whether these advances are possible. NASA has re-engineered a fuel injector and was able to reduce the number of parts in an assembly from 115 subcomponents to just two. A manufacturer of laboratory equipment was able to reduce the time to manufacture wax turbine molds by almost 90%, from 170 hours down to only 18, by using additive manufacturing. (Deloitte.) These are proven advancements with measurable economic impact. But as impressive as these gains are, they are too infrequent in production scenarios. While additive manufacturing is used regularly to produce concept models and functional prototypes, and gaining traction for low volume parts production, use within high volume production environments, where the financial impact would be significant, is growing much more slowly.
As a finished product design winds its way through the manual 3D printing build preparation process of positioning, nesting, creating support structures and slicing before finally being transferred to the printer, these costly devices often sit idle, underutilized, and waiting for input. Time Lost equals Potential Lost. It equals Money Lost. And if new or different parts need to be added to the build, the hours-long process begins again. Manual steps add time and they create opportunities for variance. Neither is acceptable at Cobra MOTO, where the pandemic’s focus on outdoor, individualized sports, has spurred record growth in mini motocross bikes. Its 3D printers need to be fully engaged and utilized, and their parts uniform and reliable.