Additive manufacturing is the process of building up a 3D component by adding layer upon layer of material deposit. It is also commonly described as “3D printing”. Using a combination of special machines – often referred to as printers – and computer software, complex shapes can be created. It is a technology that has been in existence for 30+ years, but it’s only in recent years that the technique has been more widely used for its versatility and excellent return on investment (amongst other reasons).
Additive manufacturing can be achieved using a wide range of materials, including plastics, concrete, metals, glass, food and even body parts – the list is particularly endless and may be restricted by our imagination only! Perhaps most commonly, the process is used with metals; it is metal powders which are an essential part of the process of layer by layer addition of material for various purposes such as the repair/creation of parts, etc. The process is achieved where lasers heat the material which is held in a cartridge, then superfine layers are placed down in a cross-section. This cross-section is gradually built up from the bottom to the top, with the software instructing the printer where and when to lay down the material.
Additive manufacturing is frequently used in the creation of rapid prototypes through rapid CAD modelling. The AM process is sometimes referred to as the second industrial revolution; such is the expectation of the degree to which it will transform industrial processes.
The benefits of additive manufacturing with fiber lasers can’t be underestimated. Here are just a few of the benefits of using this technology:
To read in more detail about the advantages of this technology, visit our application insight here.
Many rapid manufacturing processes use industrial Lasers as an energy source. Our Fiber Lasers are an integral element of many metal powder processes and applications. SPI Lasers provide many high quality, reliable lasers to industrial sectors to be used as the energy source in the process, and our Fiber Laser range has become a core part of many metal powder processes. Also, don’t forget that SPI Lasers can be programmed for many other purposes, these include engraving, cutting, drilling, marking and other processes too – all these tasks are possible on just one SPI laser.
Watch the Additive Manufacturing revolutionising industry: SPI Lasers infographic video
The process is not tied to just one or two industries and infact, can be used in many ways. Contact us at SPI Lasers to discuss your requirements and also read further through our application insights and advice, which are provided below:
‘Applications Insights’ are detailed articles on specific applications.
‘Application Postcards’ are bite sized insights on specific applications, designed to be easily digested in a matter of minutes.
Aircraft engines are expensive pieces of kit, with even an individual blade that forms part of a turbine engine in a modern jet costing the equivalent of at least £8,000. Since individual components come with such a high price tag, it makes sense... read more >
The rise of additive manufacturing has been rapid in recent years, with a wealth of benefits attributed to a process which you may know better as 3D printing.
Some of the advantages it offers over alternative manufacturing techniques include less... read more >
3D printing is being used to produce components across many medical disciplines since it offers various benefits when compared with standard manufacturing techniques.
Treating people with spinal disorders using this method is becoming more... read more >
In recent years, fiber lasers have revolutionised many industries, in what some are calling the second industrial revolution. Here we explore how additive manufacturing (often also interchangeably called 3D printing) is benefitting the world of... read more >
What is selective laser sintering and what is it used for? These are questions we have been asked in the past. We have, therefore, created this question and answer guide on the topic, which we hope you find... read more >
Jewellers around the world are increasingly aware of the benefits of fiber lasers in jewellery manufacturing. Of particular benefit are rapid prototyping and small-batch manufacturing, which we now go on to... read more >
... read more >
A recent article in the online veterinary blog summed up developments in 3D printing for vets quite nicely, with the article entitled “3d printing is changing surgery”. Of course, this is true, we now discuss advances in this technology in our... read more >
The Medical industry has been transformed by the advent of rapid prototyping and 3D printing. These have opened the industry to new applications we briefly discuss in this... read more >
When we think of how lasers play a role in the jewellery industry, we typically think of them being used to clean the jewellery or to engrave and mark it. However, another process which is gaining in popularity in this sector is additive... read more >
Laser metal deposition (LMD) is an additive production process that uses a laser beam to form a pool of melted metal (a melt pool) on the surface of a metallic substrate into which metal powder is injected using a gas stream. The absorbed metal... read more >
Laser metal fusion, also known as selective laser melting or powder bed fusion, is an additive manufacturing process. It is effectively a 3D printing technology that builds components from a powder bed by selectively melting the powder and fusing... read more >
Additive manufacturing, which is the process by which a material is added layer by layer to produce a 3D part or component, has been dubbed the next ‘industrial revolution’ in the manufacturing industry. Here we examine why there is the need for... read more >
Although additive manufacturing isn’t a new technology, the recent expansion and developments have meant that it’s hit the limelight more recently, with the possibilities for use seemingly wide open.
Being able to “print” weird and... read more >
The technology to use additive manufacturing has been around for more than three decades, but it’s only quite recently that it’s been possible to explore this in more depths.
A number of different industries have benefitted from this... read more >
The very latest technologies are bringing massive cost and lead time benefits to prototyping. Infact very few technologies have offered as much as 3D rapid prototyping technology (RPT) has in the last 5... read more >
3D printing, Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing are all terms used to broadly describe the same processes, which involve the creation of complex structures and components by the layering of materials which are gradually built up.
A... read more >
Additive manufacturing is one of the most exciting technologies to be unveiled in recent years, with the possibilities for both consumers and in industry almost limitless.
At the very core of this is the 3D printing machines, with the... read more >
Additive manufacturing processes are gradually increasing in their practical application, and engineers are starting to figure out where, when and how they could be the most useful.
Rather than looking to completely replace all conventional... read more >
Often referred to as 3D printing, additive manufacturing is in fact a technology which has been around for at least three... read more >
3D printing, or additive manufacturing to use an alternative term, is a type of technology which has been around for a surprising amount of time – the 1970’s infact. In the past 10-15 years, the technology has started to evolve more rapidly... read more >
There are many different additive processes, each of which has its own different purpose. We get asked about these processes fairly often, so have listed them in this Q&A guide.
The surge in popularity of additive manufacturing
One of the most... read more >
3D printing is a technology which has captured the headlines, with stories about the increasingly sophisticated projects that can be built. Although it may seem relatively new, the technology has been around for some time having first emerged... read more >
Although additive manufacturing is an exciting technology for many fields, the aerospace industry is seen as one of the key growth areas.
The ability to create complex shapes within one mould, with intricate internal dimensions and complex... read more >
Rapid Prototyping is one of the processes that are grouped under the general heading of Additive Manufacturing. Other processes available under this heading are ‘Layer manufacturing’ or ‘Solid freeform fabrication’ (SFF) processes. This... read more >