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Posted by: 23. April 2013

Additive Manufacturing’s Benefits Are Real

Ed Morris, director of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, spoke at last week’s Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. His presentation identified benefits of additive manufacturing that are important to the Department of Defense, including all of the benefits listed below. In reading through his list on the screen in front of the audience as he spoke, it struck me how far beyond theory and how far into practice we already are with AM. Modern Machine Shop has been publishing its quarterly Additive Manufacturing supplement for just over a year now, and already we have covered working examples of most of the benefits Mr. Morris sees. Below are his words, augmented with hyperlinks to some of the examples we have found:

DoD Benefits of Additive Manufacturing

Efficient use of Resources
Fewer processing steps, net shape, less assembly, less waste material, less energy

Small-Lot Production
Production in lot size of 1, mass customization

Rapid Manufacturing
Tool-less,
extreme cycle time reductions

Agile Manufacturing
Spare parts on demand, no stockpiles,
simplified supply chain/logistics

Reverse Engineering
Scan and manufacture parts for legacy systems

Lightweight Structures
Weight removal increases mission capabilities

Complexity
Exotic structures, functionally-graded materials, fabricate moving joints, embedded electronics
 

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