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Is Additive Manufacturing The Future of Metal Machining?

Updated: Oct 24, 2018

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, smelters forged metal by hand. Though skilled craftsmen were able to create truly remarkable pieces, consistency was difficult to achieve, and costs were high. Only the wealthiest could afford to buy pieces of quality.

Then, mechanization took hold, first in Great Britain, and later in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Factories were able to lower costs and improve consistency through the use of mass production, which forever changed the industrial creation of metal.

In the intervening century, we have witnessed many changes to how this system has worked. High-tech computer and robotic systems have replaced some assembly line workers, demanding higher skill levels from those who remain. At the same time, though, these advances have served to further improve productivity and quality.

Now we appear to be witnessing another major change: the rise of additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing. This technique, while still in its infancy, promises immense potential to a variety of fields that rely on metal components.

At Daman Products, we pride ourselves on our dedication to continuous improvement and utilizing the latest technology to maintain our advantage in the field of custom manifold manufacturing, which we have occupied since 1976. We think it is crucial to follow the development of this promising new technology.

A look at additive manufacturing

In recent years, firms that specialize in custom manufacturing have made use of CNC machines, which carefully carve away at materials and can create highly specific products based on digital designs. Additive manufacturing is the opposite—rather than subtract material, it adds it in thin layers. For certain custom products, this is the best way to achieve a design.

"Additive manufacturing continues to demonstrate its ability to manufacture very complex lattice structures and geometries, enabling us to build complex structures that would be difficult to replicate using traditional or 'subtractive' manufacturing," Dr. Albert To, principal researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering recently told Inside 3DP.

Since additive manufacturing is so new—and the 3D printing of metals even newer—there are a few existing methods. Some use a high-powered laser to melt layers of metal powder, slowly building a precise component. This is known as direct metal laser sintering. However, scientists have also have also begun to experiment with a different method that drops liquid metal into a cooling fluid, forming an object. This is known as liquid phase printing, and is meant to work with metals with lower melting points.

Daman is constantly looking for the next best manufacturing tools

At Daman, we have 15 CNC machining centers operating 24 hours a day to meet the needs of our customers. We believe that CNC machining will remain an important way to satisfy industry demands for custom manifolds and other components. But we also recognize the growing role that additive manufacturing has already begun to play. 

We are determined to stay ahead of the curve by constantly investing in promising equipment that will allow us to better serve the varied needs of our customers. This is the mindset that has helped us grow our custom order numbers by 53 percent over the past year.


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