Small series, the beginning of a great future

- 19 September, 2023
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The manufacture of short series is focused and is recommended when the product must be on the market for a short period of time, when it is the first version of a new idea or concept or even an evolution of a previous version and even customization.

Previously, rapid prototyping technologies such as 3D printing and 3D machining are useful for validating visual and mechanical concepts. But once this prototyping stage is completed, it is necessary to move on to a new stage with a pre-industrialization or industrialization phase to implement a project. The requirements may vary depending on the case and this type of series is called short series. The idea is to produce parts in small series with reduced manufacturing times and costs.

Additive manufacturing technologies are an effective solution for the manufacture of small series and final parts because they are economically viable techniques compared to other manufacturing methods. Additive manufacturing is a new concept of industrial production where the material (plastic or metal) is deposited layer by layer in a controlled manner. In addition, it is very useful in the manufacture of prototype molds for conventional production processes, such as injection, blow molding or thermoforming. Using this 3d printing technique, custom shapes can be produced according to needs with great millimeter precision.

According to 2021 Markets and Research report, the global additive manufacturing market is forecast to grow rapidly from 2022 to 2028 and according to the study published by the consulting firm Context, sales of industrial and design 3D printers increased by 7% and 19%, respectively. Representing 69% of total revenue for the first quarter of 2022.

The high requirements demanded for the production of prototype molds for small series are a great challenge, but thanks to this type of manufacturing spectacular results are achieved.

For example, additive manufacturing in metal can be carried out using various technologies, such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Powder Bed Fusion – Laser (PBF-L) or sintering. by direct metal laser (Direct Metal Laser Sintering, DMLS).

In the specific case of SLM technology, it is a type of metal additive manufacturing that can work with a wide range of metals. The final result has properties equivalent to parts manufactured using traditional manufacturing processes with densities close to 100%.

3D printing has positioned itself in a short time as a real and effective alternative, to complement the manufacture of small series. The advantages are vast.

The great diversity of materials that can be used with this technique guarantees surprising results and, furthermore, the mechanical characteristics of the parts are the same as those that can be found in parts injected by traditional moulds.

“Sculpture is the art of intelligence.” Pablo Picasso

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