Additive manufacturing technologies are production techniques, which are based on the sequential assembly of thin layers to achieve the desired geometry of the final 3D-part.
Model construction on the computer
At the beginning the desired part is generated as a CAD-model. In contrast to conventional molding techniques there are virtually no restrictions regarding the geometry of the structure. Highly complex parts can be printed out directly as drawn without the necessity of any simplifications.
The generation of the data for the individual layers is accomplished with specifically developed software that virtually divides the CAD-model into thin slices. Subsequently, these layers are sequentially reassembled at the machine during the building process. The shaping process of the individual slices takes place 2-dimensionally in the x,y-plane. The third dimension is created by stacking these layers on top of each other.
Savings of costs and material
Unlike erosive molding techniques such as grinding or milling, where the final part is carved out of a larger body of material, additive manufacturing technologies only require the exact amount of material that the volume of the part accounts for. This approach helps to save resources and reduces material costs significantly, especially concerning expensive raw materials.
No tooling costs
Conventional molding techniques such as pressing or injection molding require specific tools and molds for each construction part. With additive manufacturing technologies neither tools nor molds are necessary, thus tooling costs are completely eliminated. The shaping of each part is realized directly from the CAD-data which enables the fast and economical production of single parts or small scale series.
Shaping without limits
This approach opens up completely new possibilities for the designing of the part. Conventionally the geometry of building parts is restricted by the manufacturing technique. The structures have to be designed in a suitable way for production to enable demolding or milling. Thus the possible functionality is lost to a large extent while the application of additive manufacturing technologies enables the production of functionally superior products.
No more limitations regarding:
- Thin-walled structures
- Production-specific characteristics (e.g. draft angle)