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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 maybe 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 up 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 additive manufacturing advantages, 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.
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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, but has only recently started to evolve and develop sufficiently to grab the imagination of the... read more >
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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 >