Additive Manufacturing No major revolution in sight
Germany – A study into the impact of additive manufacturing on the metalworking sector shows that for the time being at least AM is not going to be responsible for any broadly based displacement of existing machining processes, nor for the much-cited revolution in industrial production operations.
The study, entitled “Additive Manufacturing – potentials and risks from the viewpoint of the German machine tool industry”, was commissioned by the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association).
“Additive manufacturing processes are linked to high expectations,” said Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, executive director of VDW. “In particular, the vision of entirely new value creation chains right down to customised production of parts or spares on site is arousing keen interest.” Reason enough then that the VDW should commission the study conducted by KEX Knowledge Exchange AG in Aachen in conjunction with the Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technology (IPT) and Laser Technology (ILT).
The most important result is this: assuming annual growth of 40% for additive processes, less than 1% of the existing technologies will be replaced by additive processes. This relates to the production volume of the international machine tool industry. Which means that radical changes in the sector are rather unlikely, Dr Myron Graw, partner at KEX Knowledge Exchange said at the recently held Metav exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany.