When Things Go Together

So who doesn’t like it when things work together as opposed to fighting against each other?

Columns From: 10/22/2013 Additive Manufacturing, , from MoldMaking Technology

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Christina M. Fuges

MoldMaking Technology

Christina M. Fuges

I believe we all like it when things work together as opposed to fighting against each other, including in the world of additive manufacturing. Since the early days of rapid prototyping, additive technologies have caused quite a stir—of excitement, interest, confusion and anxiety. The latter two terms continue to be applicable even today, but it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be that way.

Additive manufacturing should be viewed as complementary and augmentative to traditional metalcutting rather than combative or competitive, because the benefits of employing these technologies—within the right applications—are numerous. These benefits can include time to market, cost reduction, quality (of both the design and the end product), upfront collaboration, design freedom and environmental impact.

Instead of being, dare I say, threatened by AM, you should embrace it as another tool in your toolbox, whether you bring the technology in-house or outsource the service to experts in the field. And when leading machine tool builders known for innovation in their traditional, subtractive methods enter the AM game, it is really time to pay attention. 

Attending EMO, the world’s leading metalworking event, this past September proved to be very enlightening in this regard. AM was a topic of discussion even at this event focused on metalcutting machinery. I spoke with Greg Hyatt, Ph.D, senior vice president and chief technical officer for DMG Mori Seiki, about his outlook on AM, and discovered that more exciting AM advancements are on the way later this month. 

Hyatt said he believes the machine tool industry as a whole has been looking at AM all wrong. A different point of view led to the development of a hybrid machine that he says will offer increased freedom and flexibility in design and manufacturing. 

“There has been a lot of discussion about the future of additive manufacturing and the potential that it will replace traditional material removal processes,” he said. “DMG Mori Seiki sees the two technologies as complementary, ultimately increasing our customers’ ability to produce new and more complex components. In November, manufacturers will have the chance to learn more about our approach to additive/subtractive production and our machines of the future at Manufacturing Days in Davis, California.”

DMG Mori Seiki will also exhibit its new hybrid machine at Euromold in Frankfurt, Germany, December 3-6. Euromold is a leading event in the areas of moldmaking and tooling design and application development, in which additive manufacturing has a large role and will have a huge presence on the show floor. DMG Mori Seiki will join other technology suppliers exhibiting new developments in AM.

The conference program itself also will include a session on business and investment opportunities in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. We’ll be attending this event to see and learn about this new technology first-hand and report the details back to you.

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