Article by: Thaisakol Group Co., Ltd. & MEGA Tech
In the recent years, there is a leap of development of metal 3D printing technology. MEGA Tech proud to present one of the rising and promising technology is the binder jetting where it has been used increasingly across industries. Why is that? This is because the binder jetting technology offers a heart of advantages for manufacturers, spanning both process and product innovations.
PROCESS INNOVATION – REDUCE TIME & COST
3D printing requires no tooling, meaning parts can often be produced faster and more affordably than traditional manufacturing processes. But unlike legacy metal 3D printing technologies like DMLS, SLS, SLM, and EBM, Binder Jetting allows for these parts to be produced in high volumes. As soon as designs are finalized, printing can begin, and hundreds of parts can be printed overnight, as opposed to waiting weeks for the fabrication of hard tooling common with traditional manufacturing methods like MIM, casting, forging, extrusion, and high volume machining. Since fabrication is not tied to a particular tool, binder jetting significantly simplifies the process of changing a design – simply update the CAD file and send the new designs to the printer. That ability to update designs as needed enables unprecedented design freedom and allows for the development of products with improved performance and specialized designs that can be customized to meet end-users’ exact needs.
The tooling-free nature of metal 3D printing means manufacturers do not need to factor tool amortization into part costs. For many quantities of parts, this leads to significant per-part savings, since tooling costs often add up to tens of thousands of dollars. While machining can sometimes be done with a significantly smaller investment in tooling, 3D printing still produces cost saving by reducing wear on cutting tools, and the minimal operator burden associated with printing parts saves on labor costs. Printing also dramatically reduces the number of steps involved in manufacturing, building parts layer by layer, as opposed to machining, where different features may require multiple machines and orientations. Similarly, entire builds can be set up in just one to two hours, regardless of the number of parts and complexity. Fixturing for each machined part, meanwhile, must be carefully considered and implemented, a process that requires hours for each unique geometry.
Besides, this tooling-free manufacturing process leads to a very agile manufacturing environment, often resulting in reduced warehousing and inventory needs. Manufacturers simply print the parts quickly when they need them, and no longer need to store old tools indefinitely on the off chance they may be needed, but can instead create “digital warehouses” to store part files and call them up for printing when needed.
PRODUCT INNOVATION – BUILD YOUR OWN BRAND
To ensure parts can be produced efficiently and affordably, traditional manufacturing design often comes with restrictions intended to enable ease of manufacturing. Such restrictions are necessary to ensure part success, economics, and throughput for subtractive methods like machining and hard tooling-based manufacturing methods like MIM and casting.
A prime example of the restrictions traditional manufacturing faces is in machined parts. Though designers may want to add new features to parts, doing so translates into increased machining time, and often results in significant cost increases. Other traditional manufacturing methods – like MIM, casting or forging – face similar challenges; new features mean significant increases in tooling complexity and costs and may even make parts impossible to produce. By restricting the features, a part can utilize, manufacturers wind up with designs that, while easy to produce, often make sacrifices in part performance.
Unlike these traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing is an additive process, building parts up layer by layer. This allows for the creation of many features of complexity – like organic shapes, undercuts, noncircular holes, consolidated assemblies, and lightweighting features like lattices – that otherwise aren’t possible or cannot be justified due to manufacturing difficulty and cost with traditional methods.
Those features can be seamlessly integrated into binder jet parts, and often reduce the cost of producing the components. Lightweighting features, for example, remove material, reducing the cost of printed components, but almost always increase the cost of a traditionally-manufactured part due to the increased number of cuts for machining or tool complexity for MIM and casting.
This will result in a new-born part which can add value to the user and the whole industry. On top of that, you can build your own brand and be the first in the market by having just your idea and a 3D printer.