I have to admit that I am
a critical thinker skeptical about the whole idea of additive manufacturing as a viable commercial production process.
As a guy who has dealt with Detroit 3 automakers’ purchasing departments, and had to manage production, purchasing, inventory, operations, and engineering, I am not easily swayed by the breathless musings of “unlimited potential ” and “the sky is the limit” claims of a seemingly endless number of fanboy proponents of this new “Additive Technology” craze.
But even a
critical thinker skeptic like me (who knows about cycle time setup time, and EOQ’s (economic order quantities ) has to acknowledge that the process can do some pretty fancy stuff, even if it doesn’t look like the precision machined products we currently sell.
Even a grudging skeptic like me can recognize the beauty of the articles currently being produced by this new additive manufacturing process.
But I still question whether this will displace the close tolerance, high precision, high volume, low cycle time parts our industry manufactures economically by our ever improving “subtractive manufacturing technologies.”
Do I lack the vision to see where this technology will be in our future? Am I too close to the trees of subtractive manufacturing to see the forest of All viable manufacturing processes?
I don’t think so.
But the additive technology as a viable manufacturing process today would seem to be easily summed up in just three words.
Art not parts.
(to be continued)
I agree with you. I have yet to see any additive process results that have been more than a “Look what I can do with this!” show.
Thank you for staying on the conversation Ron. Lot of Gee whiz, not so much “cheaper, similar tolerances or economically faster.” Its great if you need a plastic hammer that looks like a real hammer though. If I was making Movie props I’d probably have a dozen or so of these_ if I had a good CAD /CAM guy.