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Additive Manufacturing – A Quick Overview

Additive Manufacturing – A Quick Overview

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Recently, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and General Electric’s additive manufacturing subset, GE Additive and Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) as the strategic partner, held a Additive Manufacturing for Industry 4.0 workshop aimed at industry players within the manufacturing sector. The workshop was held as a platform to promote the shift towards AM, covered various topics related to AM such as risk factors, machine infrastructures, types of additive material, etc.

Let’s take an overview of AM and how it enables the manufacturing sector to progress towards Industry 4.0.

As the term “Additive” suggests, AM is a process that describes the building of 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of a material. Various materials can be used, most commonly plastics and metals.

Once a CAD file is produced by a designer, the AM equipment (such as a 3D printer), reads in data from the CAD file and adds successive layers of materials, layer-upon-layer to fabricate a 3D object.

For more information on how AM functions, take a look at this video:

With this, gone are the intermediary steps, like the creation of molds or dies, all of which costs time and money. If changes to the product are required, it can be done on-the-spot with the assistance of the CAD software, rather than going through the whole process of redesigning.

Another benefit of this modern technology is the greater range of shapes it can manufacture. With AM, designs that can’t be manufactured in one entire piece through traditional means can now easily be fabricated.

For example, shapes with a scooped out or hollow centre can be produced as a single piece, without the need to attach individual components together, saving huge amounts of money and time. The single-piece approach also makes the product lighter while possessing higher strength as it eliminates weak spots and stress points.

According to GE Additive’s website, AM is already being practiced to manufacture an array of products, from rocket injectors to dental dentures. Numerous studies are being conducted to realize the potentials of AM.

In New York University School of Medicine, a clinical study of 300 patients will evaluate the efficacy of patient-specific, multi-colored kidney cancer models using additive manufacturing. The study will examine whether such models effectively assist surgeons with pre-operative assessments and guidance during operations. Other than that, CNN reported that the McLaren racing team is using 3D-printed parts in its Formula 1 race cars. A rear wing replacement took about 10 days to produce instead of five weeks, proving the point that AM is in fact, a faster approach to manufacturing.

MAI Digital Engineering Programme (DEP) AM engineering services offers a full portfolio of integrated applications for additive manufacturing that connects across multiple disciplines – design, manufacturing and simulation.

The MAI DEP AM platform provides a rich set of applications identified within the marketplace (to get parts made and collaborate with leading digital manufacturers worldwide), Material Engineering, function-driven generative design & virtual printing.

For more details of the programme, you may directly contact MAI’s officer, Mr. Nizmar at 0126876400 or through email at nizmar@mai.org.my

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