Because 3D printers can now work with materials such as titanium, steel, aluminum and copper, the technology is poised to be a game changer when it comes to making parts for industries such as automotive and aerospace.
The increased ability for innovation in design, Chausovsky said, means that companies armed with 3D printing technology can “work from function rather than fit,” allowing changes to be made far more quickly than ever before. This translates into faster speed to market for new products and reduced development costs, as far less material—40 percent to 70 percent less—is required to make a product using 3D printing technology versus traditional methods.
Dramatic market changes as a result of 3D printing are expected to impact the machine tool and plastics injection molding first, noted Chausovsky. To illustrate his point, Chausovsky pointed out that current modern manufacturing methods to create an end-of-arm robot tool costs $10,000 and takes about four weeks. Using fused deposition modeling techniques, however, the cost is only $600 and can be done in 24 hours.
Current methods used to manufacture “motors and drives, sensors, hydraulic drives and valves are all threatened,” Chausovsky said. “We’re on the cusp of seeing new ways to produce motors, using deposition versus lamination. Leading motor manufacturers are experimenting with this now.”
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