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Additive Manufacturing: Boost to startup ecosystem with new path of production.

By, Abhishek

Many of startups, Innovators, ideas remain on paper and ends in short time, remains unavailable as innovative product.

The reason is one & simple, manufacturing process- tooling & mold requirement. When innovator wants to turn his concept, his ideas as final product in the market it has to go through several cycles right from conceptual designing, CAD Modelling and new product development cycles followed by many iterations and changes in design with respect to prototyping & functional testing results. One it gets through product development cycles (PDC) choosing appropriate manufacturing process comes in picture.

Manufacturing components traditionally needs to develop those production lines, assembly line, design & fabrication of molds, fixtures and many auxiliary non-revenue generating parts in each process station like custom work holdings, jigs, grippers, gauges etc.

Or getting these parts outsourced needs commitment to manufacturing units to setup these tools for some initial large volume orders, and this commitment is set back point to startups and innovators not only because of costs but also restricting innovation in product upgradation because locking the design for sake of tooling, manufacturing and also production inventory. For these innovators and startups this is too much. After doing all this the unpredictable response market is huge factor and all ideas ends here.

Additive Manufacturing is solution for this, it will take this burden of initial investment off and can play vital role in predictable demand planning and supply. Simple fact that AM is tool less manufacturing technology making it as booster for startup ecosystem and innovators.

AM is disruptive technology which is changing everything because of simple fact that it can print anything & everything. AM is revolutionary and key driver in on going industry 4.0 & manufacturing paradigm shift because it is changing business models, decentralizing production hubs, shrinking supply chains convenience of producing customized goods with elimination of labor, tooling requirements, assembly, logistics and inventory costs and alter the global manufacturing market of $13T, significantly degrading the importance of Chinese export manufacturing platforms. Adoption of AM manufacturing significantly in shop floors & for end-parts indicates AM is maturing and it has overcome the hype of the last decade to emerge as a viable manufacturing technology in its own right.

The current Powder Bed Fusion 3D Printing technologies like recently announced SAF technology for Stratasys, HP MJF, SLS are significantly faster and produce parts with same strength as injection molding with added benefits from Design for Additive Manufacturing and more important it goes directly from CAD to end part, you can print thousand different parts at a single time or same part. AM us actually bridging the gap between conceptual design to final part in market.

AM with predictable demand planning and producing parts in batches, which will help to have market feedback and provision for design changes based on feedback, this will boost the start-up economy. Decentralizing manufacturing with AM increases the efficiency of the supply chain and reducing dependency on offshore imports and manufacturing.

With the help of design for additive manufacturing, we can get feasibility over traditional manufacturing constraints and can improve product design with generative designs & topology optimization. This results in improving the functional efficiency of parts with material saving and simplifies and consolidated complex assemblies. This helps hugely to reduce carbon footprint.

Process capability and machine learning are making AM machines smarter and reliable with consistent repeatability and accuracy. With the ability of a process to produce output within customer's specification limits.

Additive Manufacturing for Digital Manufacturing Transformation

  • Rapid Innovation & Faster Product Development Cycles

  • Production enablers: Conformal cooling molds, jigs, fixtures, end of arm tooling and many more

  • Shorter time to market

  • Batch Manufacturing with predictable demand planning

  • Security to legacy parts

  • Digital Inventory & On-Demand Manufacturing

  • A more efficient supply chain with local manufacturing

  • Reduced Carbon Footprint

Thus, Additive Manufacturing is boosting startup ecosystem with new path of production.

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