Heavy equipment manufacturers relying on processes of 3D printing

September 27, 2011

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a technology that is frequently employed in the early designs of many products. Recently, a number of manufacturing businesses in the U.S. have been utilizing the process in support of producing heavy machinery as an efficient and cost-effective method of design.

According to Reuters, companies producing items as diverse as jet engines and ultrasound scanning machines have incorporated the methods of additive manufacturing into their existing engineering processes. In the past two decades that these methods have existed, they were most frequently used to make prototypes or small, highly customized products.

The news source reports that 3D printing allows heavy manufacturers to produce parts that are too intricate to be mass-produced but are nonetheless essential to the functioning of the finished products they will be incorporated into.

Todd Rockstroh, consulting engineer for General Electric, discussed the positive attributes of additive manufacturing.

"The potential is huge from the standpoint of design flexibility," he told the news source. "You can literally design and manufacture things that are generally unmanufacturable today."

The manufacturing of equipment for metalworking, industrial purposes and engine and turbines respectively constitutes 16 percent, 10.2 percent and 8.8. percent of employment in machinery manufacturing, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

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