Unlock to Unblock: Driving Innovation with Advanced Metal AM

March 1, 2022

If you’re a design engineer, technology influencer, or key decision maker, you’re likely keeping a close eye on the metal additive manufacturing (AM) industry.

Maybe you’re looking for a reliable solution to help unlock a new design that features complex geometries in the hopes of realizing greater part performance that traditional manufacturing methods can’t achieve. Or perhaps you simply want to reduce lead times, consolidate parts, and improve your supply chain.

Whatever your motivation may be, the truth is adopting metal AM to overcome manufacturing challenges is not as simple as flipping a switch.

Let’s take a moment to understand what’s inhibiting the innovators of today from developing the innovations of tomorrow.

What’s stopping you?

We’re reaching a point of friction between traditional modes of production and manufacturing, and next-generation techniques. When it comes to producing mission-critical parts, there is a reliance on increasingly outmoded production methods that are stifling advancements and innovation.

These points of friction are understandable; tried and true parts production techniques such as brazing, casting, welding, to name a few, have long been established as reliable and valid across industries.

These traditional production methods require skilled labor, performed under the watchful eye of experts. Yet these production processes are not without flaws or production inefficiencies, particularly when it comes to developing highly complex, specialized parts that undergird some of the most innovative industries.

Addressing industry pain points

No matter the industry or desired product, the entire manufacturing process begins with design. During the design for manufacturing (DfM) phase, design and manufacturing engineers encounter countless decision points that can influence the design and manufacturing efficiency.

It’s during the DfM phase that engineers determine the right production process for the part and wrestle with the design constraints inherent to the available production methods, such as CNC machining, Brazing, Casting, and Welding, to name a few.

While each form of manufacturing has its unique benefits and downsides, there are universal considerations that serve as pain points regardless of the manufacturing method.

These include:

  • Time Constraints
  • Cost Considerations
  • Issues Related to Part Performance

Where conventional metal AM falls short

While many of the traditional forms of manufacturing have existed for hundreds, even thousands of years, metal additive manufacturing is a relative newcomer, with roots in the late 20th Century.

Upon its arrival, it was thought that conventional metal AM could overcome many of the shortcomings of traditional manufacturing; and while it did provide a crucial step forward, there are still gaps in the process that have prevented widespread adoption and innovation.

The process itself often plays out like this:

  • Desire: Design the optimal part for maximum performance or optimize a replacement part.
  • Reality: Many complex and intricate features are simply too difficult or impossible to manufacturing using conventional AM technology.
  • Impact: Engineers end up compromising their design to enable production.

Driving change with advanced metal AM

Where Velo3D’s advanced metal AM separates itself from conventional metal AM systems is through its synergy of hardware and software.

Having a powerful and consistent underling manufacturing process that does not vary machine to machine—and by integrating print preparation software, next-generation hardware capable of handling complex geometries reliably, and quality assurance systems for in-situ validation— give engineers the tools to tackle even the most daunting design challenges.

To learn more, we encourage you to download Driving the Future of Innovation With Advanced Metal AM.

In part 1 of this white paper series, we explore traditional manufacturing methods and conventional AM systems, the pitfalls associate with each method, and why knowing which to use when is critical to determining the success of a printed and usable part.

Download Today!

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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Director of Content

Amir Iliaifar is the Director of Content at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.