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Making metal Additive manufacturing more accessible

In a previous post, Chain to tools - creating a process chain for additive manufacturing, I explained how additive manufacturing, just like conventional manufacturing, relies on a chain of processes and tools to deliver reliable, productive products. In other words, it's not just about the additive manufacturing (AM).

In the film, my colleague Chris Sutcliffe and I talk through about a particular application: in this case a manifold component from the Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing sailing boat that is bidding for the next America's Cup. We also demonstrate the series of inter-related engineering processes and equipment that we used to make these demanding parts.

T2: A fighter jet on water (credit: Harry KH/Land Rover BAR)

This project is an excellent example of how we work with customers to help them to turn their great idea into production reality, and to lower the entry barrier to metal AM. These entry barriers can be partly due to price - a first AM installation is a significant investment - but for many firms the biggest issues are knowledge and confidence.

When developing any new product, or deploying a new production technology, you need to go through a series of confidence-building steps and milestones. This may start with a conceptual design, proof of concept, product & process validation, and then move on to establishing process capability, finishing processes, and scaling up for production.

Our global network of Solutions Centres, opening over the next year, provide venues in which this AM adoption process can be accelerated. We can give companies cost-effective, hands-on experience of metal AM, combined with application engineering support to optimise their design, and post-processing capabilities to ensure that it performs as it should.