AM Field Guide Understand additive manufacturing

Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

For Formnext 2018, Mesago and Reutlingen University have developed the AM Field Guide. It is aimed at helping you to exploring AM and offers orientation in the additive manufacturing jungle.

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The AM Field Guide was handed out during Formnext 2018 for the first time.
The AM Field Guide was handed out during Formnext 2018 for the first time.
(Source: Steffen Ritter, Mesago Messe Frankfurt)

Are you able to spontaneously explain the difference between FDM and PEM? Short hint: Both are abbreviated terms for additive manufacturing processes. FDM stands for Fused Deposition Modelling and is a variant of material extrusion. Wire-shaped material, so-called filament, is plasticised in a nozzle unit and selectively dosed locally in layers. PEM or Paste Extrusion Modelling also belongs to the field of material extrusion. Here, however, the material is dosed selectively and locally layer by layer through a piston-nozzle unit. If you compare the two processes visually, you can immediately see the difference. The terminology, however, is sometimes too abstract to keep track of – especially since there is a seemingly endless number of different additive processes and new ones are being added constantly.


For beginners, this makes it particularly complicated. And one cannot always separate the procedures at first sight. Especially with metal processes that work with a powder bed, the machines cannot be distinguished at first glance. And then, there is the fight through the jungle of abbreviations. Besides FDM and PEM, there are of course SLS, SLA, SLM, NPJ and MJF. Everything clear?

Fortunately there is help. The organisers of the Formnext trade show have developed the “Additive Manufacturing Field Guide” together with Reutlingen University. The information brochure not only provides a clear overview of the most important processes but also a description of the entire process that is necessary for additive manufacturing, which is often neglected. This gives all newcomers to the field the opportunity to gain a quick overview and be better informed for discussions at the trade fair.

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