2.2 Why additive manufacturing?
AM is an attractive way to manufacture components for several reasons.
- The near-net-shape technique produces an artefact that is close to a final (net) shape. This reduces the need for surface finishing and significantly reduces cost and time.
- It is a rapid process. It is not just the short time needed for a component to be constructed, but also the streamlining of the entire design and manufacturing process. There is a potential cost and energy saving in addition to time saving.
- The most exciting reason is the added dimension given to design. For instance, internal structures and features that were formerly impossible can be realised. Furthermore, components that would usually have been made from several parts can be created in a single process.
Obviously the financial or environmental implications of a technique are important. However, the opportunities AM offers in terms of flexibility of design significantly outweigh the financial benefits.