Design – Driven Manufacturing
Additive Manufacturing, better known as 3D Printing, is a technology that uses 3D CAD data to produce three-dimensional parts layer by layer from a material, be it polymer or metal based. The technology works best for functional prototypes, complex designs and is now being used for the production of series components for the most demanding applications. It is a design- driven manufacturing process where design determines production and not the other way round, enabling production of multiple versions of a single design in a cost- effective manner.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is a 3D printing process that builds fully functional metal prototypes and production parts by using a wide range of metal powders. The strengths of DMLS lie in those areas where conventional manufacturing reaches its limitations, allowing for manufacturing highly complex structures which can still be extremely light and stable, thus opening gates to produce parts that seemed impossible a few years ago.
Due to the constraints of traditional manufacturing methods, some complex components are usually separated into several parts for the ease of manufacturing as well as assembly. DfAM involves re-designing the overall object such that it has fewer parts or a new set of parts with substantially different boundaries and connections. Additive Manufacturing offers immense design freedom that helps save cost and time in serial production by cutting down on post-processing and assembly.