Additive Manufacturing: technologies, materials and future developments

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Given the enabling technology at the base of the “third industrial revolution”, Additive Manufacturing (AM or e-manufacturing, or 3D printing, …) is now establishing itself in various sectors (not exclusively of an industrial nature) as the technology of choice for the direct production of components / products.

Additive manufacturing processes allow fast and flexible production of quality components, directly from the 3D design. The AM accelerates the product development phase, allows greater design freedom compared to traditional technologies, allows to optimize the structure of the parts and to realize extremely complex geometries.

The definition of AM includes a family of processes through which it is possible to realize not only prototypes, but also definitive parts, through the controlled solidification of materials in the form of powder (mainly polymeric or metallic), layer by layer, by exposure to the thermal action of a radiation source (eg laser, electron beam).

Today, thanks to the competitive advantages it offers, AM is employed in a growing set of industrial sectors: aerospace, medical, consumer goods, design / architecture, automotive, robotics.

The topic will be investigated through the interventions of DWS Systems (http://www.dwssystems.com/), an Italian company that produces rapid prototyping and production systems implementing stereolithography technology, Tetra Pak Packaging Solutions (http://www.tetrapak.com/it), which has gained significant experience as an end-user in the design and direct production of components intended for use on its own production machines, and Tec Eurolab (http://www.tec-eurolab.com/ ), a company specialized in the characterization and analysis of materials (NFA CRIT).

The results of the “Additive Manufacturing” Technology Scouting by CRIT will be presented.