What is industrial 3D printing?

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Un nouvel article pour vous faire découvrir l'univers de l'impression 3D :)
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3D printing in industry still remains marginalized, despite the fact that today 3D or three-dimensional printing is still known to many. This printing, however, represents one of the major axes of CAD (Computer Aided Design), or of this technique, quite simply. Let’s take a look back at a few essential points to understand what it’s all about.

3D printing, a recent technology

3D printing itself remains a very recent process. A process that appeared at the beginning of the 2000s, and which is still poorly mastered in those years.  Between resins and unsuitable materials, the technique is struggling to find its place in various environments, particularly in industry.

Dedicated essentially to the creation of prototypes, it is only from the years 2010 onwards that 3D printing and industrial 3D printing really develop. With the appearance of new materials and compounds, these techniques, once marginalized by industrialists, tend to be interesting. Interesting or even useful, especially for sectors such as luxury goods, aerospace or other sectors such as the automotive or even the film industry.

And although 3D printers for private individuals were created very early on, it is indeed the industry that will be the spearhead of these new production methods. At the same time, three-dimensional printing is becoming a must.

Industrial 3D printing

While 2010 marks a turning point in 3D printing processes, it is only around 2015 that these techniques will begin to become more widespread. Production techniques, prompting some observers such as Jeremy Rifkin, a specialist in foresight, to make it one of the must-haves of the next industrial area.

Thus, it is objects or even concepts of considerable size that manage to be produced. Mainly thanks to innovations of material type which allow a reliability of all the chain. Robots are then born, machines capable of creating complex structures, such as following certain plans to the nearest tenth of a millimetre.

A synergy between the machine and the materials which pushes the industry to take an interest and then to commit itself to it. It is thus as early as 2015 that a start-up in the Netherlands is launching into the construction of a bridge more than 7 meters long. A bridge exclusively for pedestrians, built by robots with mobile arms.

In addition to the Netherlands, China is also announcing that it wants to start building houses printed using 3D printers in industry. The main characteristic of industrial printing is the use of materials suitable for industry. Of course and unlike conventional 3D technologies, these robots have characteristics inherent to their environment of use. This is the interest of the following insert.

Focus on industrial 3D printers

While additive manufacturing remains at the heart of 3D printing, these processes and especially printers tend to mutate, even evolve. Thus, whether in the field of construction or prototyping, these tools innovate to best adapt to the prerequisites of their respective industries.

The field of possibilities on the industrial production capacities of these printers is thus almost unlimited. With exceptional tools at their disposal, industrialists are able to tackle a variety of complex problems.

Starting with the printing of unusual parts and gadgets. Parts that can be made to measure in a very short time. While possessing the qualities of mechanical resistance required by the sector. But that’s not all.

Industrial printing with these tools is able to evolve within complex environments. Marine or oil environments, for example, which are unable to accommodate heavy industry, and at the same time to generate resistant thermoplastics. This is something that industrial 3D printers are able to do.

Finally, these new technologies can be used both to produce a large volume of prints and as a means of reducing costs. A synergy on practically all aspects of the matter, which makes industrial 3D printing an indispensable complement to the various industries worldwide.

What future for industrial 3D printing

According to many specialists, this technique could be at the origin of a third industrial revolution. Not only because it remains precise and adaptable, but also because it significantly reduces production costs.

Ideal for any type of industry, these prints remain a major challenge for innovation. Mainly in terms of materials, because although the technologies and associated robotics (moulding, prototyping, etc.) remain in tune, the materials used are still a source of problems for some projects.

Projects that today are as much for charity (printing 3D houses in developing countries), as for science, as for industry, of course. One thing remains certain, 3D printing in industry seems to be the major player in the industry in the coming years. An additive manufacturing that will undoubtedly have to go through material innovation if it wants to definitively conquer the world’s largest construction groups, for example.

If you would like to know more about this subject, here is another equally interesting blog on the trends in 3D printing in 2019: https://thindustries.fr/service-impression-en-3d-tendances-2019/

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