Low Volume / Additive Manufacturing
Manufacturing components in low quantities has always been a costly exercise. With the advent of 3D printing and vacuum casting many constraints previously faced can now be significantly reduced. Technologies such as SLS and FDM can now be used, especially for non-seen components, to produce components in quantities as low as 1s and 2s to several thousand, but still with fantastic material properties such as flame retardency and high-heat requirements. Traditional design constraints usually associated with e.g. injection mould tooling can now be ignored, freeing designers to produce more efficient designs or reducing part count within assemblies.
Stock levels of components can be reduced as more and more parts can be produced on an as required basis.
When aesthetics are important, vacuum casting becomes an ideal fit. Over 30 vacuum casting materials are available simulating most common thermoplastics including elastomers, flame-retardant and high heat-resistant materials. Furthermore many can be coloured to precise colour requirements in a multitude of surface finishes.
MNL’s technology consultants can advise on the best AM process for your project requirements.