Additive manufacturing (AM), aka 3D printing, has emerged as the first manufacturing revolution of the 21st century. Unlike subtractive manufacturing methods that remove material from a billet, metals AM builds up functional end products or product features layer by layer.
This building-up process can provide many advantages over subtractive methods, including increased design flexibility, improved end-product performance, reduced time to market, lower manufacturing cost, and extended product life. These advantages are driving interest in AM technology for applications throughout the product lifecycle, from new product development, to low-volume manufacturing, to product repair.
Using powder metals AM, new products can be developed and manufactured with material properties and geometries that are difficult or impossible to achieve with subtractive methods. Novel materials can be created by blending two or more powders to form new alloys and composites to meet specific design challenges. The combination of the powders even can be changed gradually during the build process to create functionally graded materials tailored to avoid corrosion, fatigue, fracture, and stress cracking. … (Read more)