AM Technologies


What is Additive Manufacturing (AM)?

Additive manufacturing (AM)) is a fabrication process used to build three-dimensional (3D) parts through the layer-by-layer deposition of material. AM technologies, commonly referred to as 3D printing, can manufacture a complex 3D part through a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) model that instructs the 3D printing machine how to “print,” or deposit, a given material. Initially, the AM technology was developed for rapid prototyping and now the technology has revolutionized the production of functional structural parts for many industries. The fabrication process used in AM technology is contrary to conventional machining processes, whereby material is cut away — or subtracted — to obtain the final product.

AM technology can be broadly categorized as follows [ASTM F2792]:

  • Material extrusion
  • Powder bed fusion
  • Binder jetting
  • Material jetting
  • Vat photopolymerization
  • Directed energy deposition
  • Sheet lamination

Side Menu provides the details of each AM process, applications, materials and its applications. These advanced fabrication techniques manufacture parts in the same way, but the differences between them lie in the source of heat (laser, thermal, electron beam, plasma arc), the manner of dispensing material (build chamber characteristics), the number of printing axes, and the state of the material (liquid, powder, or filament wire).

Benefits of Additive Manufacturing

  • The primary advantage is the ability to make complex geometric 3D parts in less time and with less effort than that required in conventional machining processes.
  • Rapid prototyping, minimal or no material wastage, no extra tooling, no special skills for operation of 3D printers, efficient design of materials, and the capability of tailoring functionally graded materials.
  • AM methods enable freedom in design of a part and furthermore, make it easier to fabricate a part with tailored microstructure to yield desired mechanical properties.
  • AM technologies make it far easier to design a material to tailor the properties of the final 3D printed part. Also, easy to fabricate topologically optimized shape of the parts.
  • AM technologies enable to fabricate a strong integral product by minimizing number of loose parts for its assembly.
  • The technologies enable product development faster, parts production on demand and thereby aiding supply chain of parts.

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