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Dr. Eric Klemp about the potential, threats and a possible future for additive manufacturing processes!

Additive manufacturing processes have great potential. In 10 years, numerous additive parts, which are nowadays produced in other manufacturing processes, will certainly be used in many industries. Its potential is in particular to produce individual parts and small series fast and tool-less. This provides opportunities in many industries and creates potential for plastic or metal parts. The advance of these technologies will bring a big number of new approaches and capabilities.

There are of course also issues, threats and risks linked to the advances in 3D printing technologies. You have to differ between home applications and professional technologies. Home applications are simpler parts, generally made out of plastic. However, the issue is that the user needs to first own an applicable file (this includes copyright). Threats can be that the technologies need to fulfil requirements, which is not always the case. Risks can be that the user works materials which are not certified or authorised. However, home applications will highly contribute to the image of these technologies and useful parts will bring “everybody” in touch with them. There are much less problems, threats and risks with professional systems. Installations are much more available, as systems are not installed at home, due to price reasons, but are made available by service providers who offer professional data in agreement with the customer.

If parts are well chosen, almost all industries can bring it to use. Knowing of the potential opens up unforeseen opportunities. In the first place, the biggest potential have individualised products and those with additional functions. They can be beneficial to the market, especially when talking about fast and tool-less manufacturing of products. Pioneers in this field were the aerospace and medical technology industry – followed by suitable applications in the automotive sector. This technology is so fascinating that new industries will surely establish themselves in existing niche markets with new applications.

Dr. Eric Klemp is Business Director of the DMRC (Direct Manufacturing Research Center) at the University of Paderborn. This interview has been realised in cooperation with 3DRUCK.COM, official partner of the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo.

17 February, 2014 - 04.28 PM

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