The Additive Manufacturing Pavilion will be a key highlight of the Austech 2012 show scheduled to take place in Sydney in May.
From 8 to 11 May 2012, eight innovative companies will be presenting the latest technology for 3D printing and digital manufacturing solutions in a dedicated additive/ digital manufacturing pavilion.
Also referred to as 3D printing, additive manufacturing or AM is a key element of industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical and defence because of the many benefits it offers compared to traditional subtractive technologies.
New developments in the field have led to direct digital manufacturing (DDM) not only being used for rapid prototyping of new product designs, but also for manufacturing end-user parts such as jigs, fixtures and other tools used in production and assembly processes.
DDM processes are faster, more affordable alternatives to manufacturing such parts via machining or injection moulding, allowing the technology to be used to create custom components as well as medical and dental parts.
According to Joel Brown from Solidtec Solutions, additive manufacturing is an emerging trend, which is rapidly gaining acceptance within the manufacturing community, adding that events such as Austech help to educate the broader market ensuring the technology is propagated at a more rapid rate.
He comments that the 3D CAD market acts as an enabling technology to accelerate adoption of additive manufacturing technology as companies, which adopt 3D CAD for design are able to leverage 3D data in all aspects of their business.
Speed is a key reason why manufacturers should follow the AM developments. Additive manufacturing processes require no tooling and have a digital foundation, eliminating delays in moving from a robust digital design to the manufacturing process.
Bruce Jackson from 3D Printing Systems Australia expresses his appreciation for the dedicated pavilion at Austech showcasing AM/3D printing, which will enable potential customers to view first-hand how companies are now actively saving time and money while accelerating the product to market timetables.
He adds that the costs for 3D printing systems are getting lower, making them an affordable desktop addition to any product design department.
Tasman Machinery Managing Director Dermid McKinley believes that the market is in a point of transition, where early adopting Australian manufacturers are beginning to understand and invest in AM technologies.
Additive manufacturing technology will enable Australia to compete in manufacturing markets where complexity and sophistication of design is necessary.
AM eliminates many manufacturing constraints and makes mass customisation possible. Thanks to the technology’s flexibility in terms of shape and design, it enables customised, optimum products to be created.
Moreover, by virtue of the geometric freedom provided, and the high elasticity of the material involved, it is possible to manufacture snap-fit connections, complicated form-locking elements, spring-force connections and geometries such as leaf springs or helical springs. This means fewer parts have to be mounted or connected with tools.
More businesses are now bringing AM technology in-house that previously was mainly provided through service bureaus.
Camplex Managing Director Fred Carlstrom comments that additive manufacturing allows the user to design and manufacture any design without having to consider how it is going to manufactured or consider what tooling to use because there is no tooling required.
AM will not replace conventional machining processes, instead aiming to co-exist and complement existing technologies. As part of the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion, exhibitors will help interested visitors to find the right approach to define the correct application categories and replace existing conventional technologies only where commercial and technical advantages are to be gained.
Commenting on the AM focus at Austech, Anna Elliott, Marketing Manager at Memko concludes that low volume and customised manufacturing will play an ever increasing role for Australian customers in a rapidly evolving market, making it imperative to have a platform for showcasing and promoting the diverse solutions available today.
Participating companies at the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion at Austech 2012 include 3D Printing Systems, 3D Systems Asia-Pacific, Camplex, Memko, Objective 3D, Solidtec Solutions, Tasman Machinery and WYSIWYG 3D.
Austech 2012 is organised by AMTIL .