BY NIGEL SOUTHWAY
Additive manufac- turing (AM) has
captured the imagi-
nation of the main-
stream media who have
pumped up the tires on
this high-tech vehicle
so much that it’s almost lighter than air.
The good news is that it’s making many
people view manufacturing in a new light,
and manufacturing needs all the help it can
get to have a strong and vigorous image in a
society that has almost forgotten that it actually needs to make things for our economy to
work for all of us.
Some of us have been manufacturing
engineers for a long time and have seen and
participated in the introduction of many new
manufacturing technologies. All the hype
makes me smile, as we have seen all this
Remember the buzz about lasers and
how we would use them in everything
we would do? We then struggled with the
cost and application of the technology for
two decades, and now we would not buy a
machine or process without a laser to direct,
control, measure, or process just about anything that needs precision and repeatability.
Remember the excitement of the photoelectric cell and its younger cousin, the solar
cell, and how it is now shaping and maybe
participating in saving our world?
IS ADDITIVE METAL
MANUFACTURING THE NEXT
TECHNOLOGICAL WONDER DRUG?
The transition to additive technology (left) from conventional machining methods
means that the construction of parts can be reimagined.
Next-generation technology could be a boon for
manufacturing across numerous industries