Reliability with 3D Printing
Can you trust machines to get the work done? Well done, and on time?
A 24/7 production line need to have a high reliability and manitenance control to stay competitive and efficient. When something breaks or stops, all production pauses which is losing a whole lot of money. This has two possible fixes, each with pros and cons.
One, you can adopt high end quality materials to improve reliability and cut down maintenance costs. However, when something does happen to go wrong here, time and repair costs are much higher. Two, get "regular" materials to reduce that downtime, but know these will affect the final product quality.
One workaround on these effects is additive manufacturing, which is 3D printing applied to industrial sector.
It builds 3D objects, adding layer-upon-layer of material. There are some different technologies around this one, all highly developed, involving laser, jet and injection to build the pieces. They have different precision grades and building materials so each of them needs to be carefully analyzed for each industry sector.
Spare parts built with additive manufacturing can be created with extreme design flexibility, with a reduced number of resources and with a 30% or more reduction in lead time. If one part breaks you can replace it for only a few minutes with a newly printed one. The future's here.
Since 2010 we've been seeing this 3D printing trending, altough its research goes many decades behind. The major industrial players are already using additive manufacturing in their processes and it’s only a matter of time until it extends to all industrial processes.
In 2014, 1/3 of the industrial machinery investment made in USA is around 3D printing. It is expected that additive manufacturing market can multiply by four it’s revenues until 2020, to more than 20 billion euros.
This is one trend that is not going to pass. And no industrial company can miss it.