Additive Manufacturing: The Technical Revolution

| Editor: Nicole Kareta

2019 is the year in which 3D printing has finally arrived in the production halls. For foundries, this technology has a lot to offer and science is working intensively to advance it. EUROGUSS 2020 will dedicate a pavilion to Additive Manufacturing.

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It took almost 40 years from the first idea to the industrial production.
It took almost 40 years from the first idea to the industrial production.
(Source: gemeinfrei / Pixabay)

A new trend is turning industrial production upside down: Additive manufacturing, often also referred to as generative manufacturing or simply as 3D printing. The procedure is a child of the eighties. When the first computer graphics software came onto the market and design drafts were created on the PC, scientists and inventors wondered whether 3D models could be converted into reality. It worked. And the solution has remained the same for almost forty years: The object is built up layer by layer, using a molten material. A toy frog is said to be the first object "printed" in this way.

This is also where the similarities end: There is a multitude of materials, solid, liquid and above all powdery, which are used in many different processes. Lasers melt the material – or even an electron beam. Another method is the selective application of binders mixed with powder or sand.

It usually takes a long time from the first idea to the industrial production. But this development has now also paved the way for the metalworking industry: More and more 3D printers are installed in the production halls. However, this relatively young technology still offers potential for veritable leaps in development: A lot can still be achieved in research areas such as energy requirements, the cost of powder or liquid material, the pressure and heat resistance of the end product or the need for complex post-processing. "Additive manufacturing” is a key technology for industry 4.0: It is to combine the advantages of mass production and manufacture and even produce individual pieces profitably on an industrial scale.

At EUROGUSS 2020, a special theme pavilion will be dedicated to this challenging topic. This is because 3D printing technologies can come into play at several points in the production processes of foundries: In prototyping, in mold, core and tool making as well as in the manufacture of end products starting from batch size 1.

The focus will also reflect the basic and applied research efforts underway in European science and industry. In the following, two current examples show where the development is heading.

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