In the Emerging Technology Center at the entrance of the North Building lies four of the leading Additive Manufacturing Organizations including ExOne, Renishaw and Objet.
Rather than using traditional techniques that begin with a block of material and shave away to form parts, additive manufacturing creates parts by adding material.
Layer upon layer, plastic or metal material is added, building out complex 3D forms. Sometimes this new form of technology is used to replace other systems, but it is most effective in expanding the potential and capabilities of manufacturing, allowing the creation of things that otherwise could not even be built.
All the above objects were made with additive manufacturing.
Ahead of the curve, medical and aerospace manufacturers have already realized the benefits of this form of manufacturing, and it becomes more popular and prevalent every day.
“The tools of optimization and lean manufacturing have been with us for many years. Immense progress has been made in the elimination of waste and non-value added activities in many of our factories,” explains David Burns, President of ExOne, in a Production Machining article.
“The logical conclusion to the optimization journey in manufacturing would be to make exactly what you need, exactly when you need it, exactly where you need it, eliminating non-value added steps between conceptualization and creation. Additive manufacturing approaches afford exactly this opportunity for true optimization.”
Additive Manufacturing facilitates being lean through eliminating waste and unnecessary materials. Advantages include more predictable production, greater efficiency, reduced waste and reduced assembly.