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Check it Out: Making the Case for Building an AM Team

Take a holistic approach to implementing metal additive manufacturing by partnering with experts.

Take a holistic approach to implementing metal additive manufacturing by partnering with experts.

Tony Lockwood Sponsored ContentDear DE Reader: 

Knowing how to drive a car does not qualify you to fly a passenger jet, although both have accelerators, steering, brakes and windshield wipers. So, if you have some or lots of 3D thermoplastic AM (additive manufacturing) printing experience, what makes you think that metal AM is the same process? “Making the Case for Building an AM Team,” written by DE in partnership with SLM Solutions, delves into what you should know and do to implement then exploit metal AM technology in your workflows successfully.

This paper begins with a broadside aimed at those with limited 3D thermoplastic printing experience: Metal-based AM requires expert, trained professionals just like manufacturing processes such as casting, forming, injection-molding and machining do. The danger of having some knowledge lies in the fact that so much of the metal AM process seems the same.

“Making the Case for Building an AM Team” argues that a multidisciplinary team of experts made up of engineers partnered with the right vendor is key to maximizing the potential and benefits of metal additive manufacturing technology. “Making the Case for Building an AM Team” argues that a multidisciplinary team of experts made up of engineers partnered with the right vendor is key to maximizing the potential and benefits of metal additive manufacturing technology.

This miscalculation has become widespread with the rise of low-cost, so-called “push button/get print” 3D printers. Those of you with deep experience making functional parts and complex prototypes know that designing for and operating a 3D system requires skill. Lots of it. Metal AM fabrication requires the greatest skill set of all.

Fabricating optimal metal parts means professional-level understanding of the nuances of a given metal AM system's operations, design potential, material characteristics and post-processing methodologies. These, among other attributes, are completely different from other AM technologies.

The paper argues that a multidisciplinary team approach is an absolute necessity for metal AM fabrication. Members of that team are the applications, systems and service engineers as well as metallurgists. Each plays a key role.

Take the applications engineer. This person must know how to design a component that fully exploits the capabilities of metal AM printing from concept through final inspection — including machine configuration. The service engineer is the go-to person, your trusted partner from your AM system developer. Their role starts with installation and training then continues on up through on-site system maintenance and repair.

“Making the Case for Building an AM Team” offers a cogent argument. If you operate metal AM machinery already, this paper can help you do it better. Keen readers considering metal AM for their enterprise can repurpose this paper to create a checklist to ensure that they both introduce metal AM technology properly and maximally benefit from its unique capabilities over the long term. Hit today's Check it Out link for your complimentary copy.

Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood

Editor at Large, DE

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