Chances and Challenges: Harnessing the Potential of Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) is one of this decade’s most disruptive technologies. Duco de Haan, Commercial Development Director at Lloyd’s Register Energy, believes this would transform the challenges faced by many companies.
Industry Today, Feb. 3, 2016–“Without doubt, additive manufacturing (AM) technologies present opportunities for tighter supply chains, reduced logistics costs, more complex designs and a greater degree of customisation. If I am able to download an equipment drawing, select a part and then “print” it out, that would be an amazing benefit to a company. The potential is staggering.”
When equipment or parts malfunction, it is often hundreds of miles away from a distribution centre. Keeping spares in stock is expensive and wasteful but replacing the essential part can be slow, expensive and often weather-dependent. Even worse, the part may be obsolete and no longer available – and sometimes a whole component may need to be scrapped as a result. Already, there are a large number of techniques and technologies available (such as Laser Cladding, Selective Laser Melting and Fused Deposition Modelling) and with increasing investment in development, testing and refinement the field is likely to see major advances in the coming years.