An increasing number of American companies are using additive manufacturing for their business, and investigating ways in which it can be made useful.
CIO magazine reports that Boeing is currently using air duct components and other parts in its planes formed through the technique, and is prototyping metal 3D printed parts.
It plans to eventually bring the technology, which it has been using since 1997, to creating larger, structural components for its planes, which “generally fall outside of the capacity of additive manufacturing in its current state because they're larger than the equipment that can make them," Boeing engineer David Dietrich told CIO.
"That's our goal through aggressive new machine designs -- to scale to larger applications."
Boeing, like other large US companies such as Honeywell and GE, has been exploring ways in which the technology can be used to create bigger and bigger parts.
Other companies have been trying to cater to the growing interest in additive manufacturing, such as logistics company UPS, with began offering in-store testing at selected US locations.
PCWorld points out that one of the key events that has helped boost the general popularity of additive manufacturing has been the expiration of a patent held by Stratasys for fused deposition modelling in the late 2000s.