Manufacturers Start Printing Components

We hear the way artificial intelligence will modify the work force, and computers are increasingly taking over the whole planet. But maybe one of the biggest changes has been flying under the radar; instead of creating things, we’ll soon be “printing” them.

A brand new “metal printing press” made by Desktop Metal, utilizes many different alloy powders to put down several thin layers of substance in quick sequence – based on the specifications in an electronic file — to develop three-dimensional objects. It uses over 32,000 jets in combination with powder spreaders to produce metal parts.

The printing apparatus was made to replace current metal manufacturing tasks – many of which are done by hand. Several of the early customers include: Caterpillar, Ford and Google’s advanced technology and project group. BMW has analyzed a steel model of a water impeller pump that currently costs $80 to create. It can be 3D”printed” for a little more than $5. In addition, the printed version weighs 50% less.

One objective is to have a “mill” of 3D metal printing units which may print components and goods on demand. The components will likely be more economical, lighter and more effective than what has been made in the past. One analyst is currently predicting that sales of industrial 3D printers can reach $18 billion by 2021.