There are several materials that can be melted in building the superfine layers of parts.
Thermoplastic is the most popular material as it is cheap and can be easily prepared. Biochemical healthcare applications include the use of hardened material from silicon, calcium phosphate and zinc to support bone structures as new bone growth occurs. For more sturdy and hazardous environment application, metals and metal alloys such as gold, silver, stainless steel or even titanium are used.
The growth in the additive manufacturing industry is predicted by many to be rapid and substantial. As more companies develop production equipment, more materials become available and more end-user industries adopt the technology.
The findings by Frost and Sullivan suggested that the global value of the additive manufacturing is poised to grow at a compounded rate of 15% from US$5.31 billion in 2015 to US$21.50 billion in 2025. The aerospace, automotive and medical industries are expected to account for 51% of the 3D printing market by 2025.
The 2015 Wohler report stated that there have been more advances in the material production for metal printing in the past 10 years compared to plastics in the past 20 years. SmarTech Markets Publishing, through their market assessment, pointed that metal printing machines sales grew a significant amount of 89 percent over the past year, as the metal 3D printing technologies become more matured and shifted from 'R&D' purpose to manufacturing.
There are various technologies used in additive manufacturing such as Sintering, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), Direct Metal Laser Melting (DMLM), Electron Beam Melting (ELBM) and
Additive manufacturing is a vital component of Industry 4.0, a key technology in manufacturing customised products. More manufacturers are beginning to see the benefits of additive manufacturing as it will reduce material wastage, provide shorter time-to-market, and able to create complex parts that are challenging to be manufactured using conventional processes. No doubt that with additive manufacturing, it becomes possible to develop an agile manufacturing environment. While additive manufacturing has been dominated by polymer and thermoplastic materials, the metal-based additive manufacturing is growing fast and provide exciting opportunities and possibilities, not only in the design but also in the choice of materials for the end products.
As at today, based on MIDA's record there is only one company producing metal powders for 3D printers namely Oryx Advanced Materials in Malaysia, and so far, there are no companies producing 3D printers for metal applications. Oryx Advanced Materials is one of the leading metal and alloy producers for hard disk drives and photovoltaic modules. They are expanding their products portfolio by including metal powders for additive manufacturing. Their facility in Penang providestotal solutions for metal additives manufacturing from material characterisation & selection, 3D printing services and post-processing processes. Realising the importance of additive manufacturing as one of the disruptors in the manufacturing industry, MIDA
Initiatives by the Government
The National Policy on Industry4WRD was launched on 31 October 2018 to drive the country's growth and transformation via digitalisation. Additive manufacturing has been identified by the Government as one of the technology elements under the Industry4WRD.
Related industry players who wish to adopt additive manufacturing technology can utilise the Readiness Assessment (RA) or Domestic Investment-Specific Fund (DISF) facilities provided under the Industry4WRD. The RA will assist the company in
The report will identify the gaps, areas of improvement as well as recommending realistic framework and strategies for companies in adopting the technology.Companies can also apply the Industry4WRD DISF if they require monetary assistance in implementing the strategies for adopting additive manufacturing in the manufacturing line.
For companies who would like to automate their production
The metal additive manufacturing technology is rapidly evolving and disrupting the whole manufacturing value chain. Like many new technologies, early adopters often race ahead and garner early returns.