COVID-19 Spotlight: Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing
Updated: Oct 24, 2020
The global coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected manufacturing in the United States and around the world. The disruption of global supply chains started with the closing of factories in China and is continuing as the pandemic now grips The Americas. But these setbacks have also created multiple opportunities for Additive Manufacturing, which is experiencing a resurgence because of COVID-19.
Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a transformative approach to industrial production, comprising technologies that grow three-dimensional objects one superfine layer at a time. 3D printing is an essential component of AM, and these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. This manufacturing method employs computer-automated manufacturing (CAM) processes to fabricate physical 3D objects layer by layer from computer-aided design (CAD) models. With 3D printing technology, objects are created by depositing materials onto a substrate. This technology is hugely versatile, as the deposited materials can be plastics, metals, powders, ceramics, liquids or even living cells. The 3D printing process is accurate, repeatable, scalable, but also cost-effective for small production runs or even single prints of highly customized parts.
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