At the moment, mass manufacturing of metal components requires companies to navigate complex global supply chains that will inevitably be spun off from profits.
However, the cost, complexity and timing of metal 3d printing ensures that the impact of the technology in the trillion-dollar manufacturing industry remains minimal.
Desktop Metal is working to change that. Later this year, the company will begin shipping early versions of its Production System, a 3-D printer that can produce up to 100,000 metal parts at a cost and speed competitive with traditional manufacturing methods.
Measuring the impact of metal 3d printing on current sales of machines and materials may understate its true value.The unique features of 3d printing should provide new options for engineers and designers who want to build more efficient aircraft engines and lighter car structures.
"3-D printing lets you transform complexity to simplicity," Hart explains. "Consider how many products require the concurrent engineering and eventual assembly of many parts, and how the design constraints and logistics of manufacturing shape how we develop products.3-d printing allows you to combine components into individual parts and design for optimal performance.The cost of 3d printing alone ignores the incredible value of the new design and the speed and flexibility of the operation.When you think about those aspects hand in hand, you see the real breakthrough."