Wohlers Associates Identifies Design as Significant Factor in AM Economics and Adoption

Companies with metal and polymer AM services reported that more than 26% of a part’s cost is from post-processing.

Companies with metal and polymer AM services reported that more than 26% of a part’s cost is from post-processing.

Image courtesy of Wohlers Associates.

Wohlers Report 2019, an annual report on the additive manufacturing (AM) industry, includes detailed input from 127 providers of AM services worldwide. Companies with metal and polymer AM services reported that more than 26% of a part’s cost is from post-processing, as shown in the accompanying chart. Post-processing can include powder removal, thermal stress relief, support material removal, surface treatment and finishing, and inspection. Print time and cost are determined largely by shape, mass, support material and orientation when an AM part is built. All of these characteristics are heavily influenced by design, making good design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) practices a major factor in the economy of AM.

Due to the impact of design on AM economics and adoption, coupled with a shortage of workforce experience, Wohlers Associates is expanding its hands-on DfAM training. One of two courses has been scheduled for Austin, TX, August 14-16, 2019, in connection with the 30th Annual Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin. The second is a Design at Elevation DfAM course in Frisco, CO, September 11-13, 2019. Elevation: 2,776 meters (9,097 feet). Both courses focus on practical design knowledge and skills that make metal and polymer AM economical and advantageous. 

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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