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Realising the potential of 3D printing with composites

15 March 2016

In the current issue of Connection, Professors Milan Brandt and Murray L. Scott assess the potential of additive manufacturing in the design and production of composite parts directly from CAD.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is now the fastest growing sector of manufacturing globally. The main driver is globalisation, which is changing the nature and economics of manufacturing in ‘high-wage’ countries such as Australia.

With additive technologies, parts can be built directly from computer models or from measurements of existing components, bypassing traditional manufacturing processes such as cutting, milling, casting and grinding. AM also enables new designs not possible using conventional subtractive technology; saves time, materials, wastage, energy and other costs; significantly reduces environmental impact and the time-to-market for new products.

Ever since composite materials were first introduced, they have been pushing the boundaries of performance and of lightweight design in all branches of engineering. Composite manufacturing processes are, in essence, additive processes. In order to reduce the reliance on labour-intensive manual operations and the need for a flexible automated composite process, organisations are investigating the feasibility of implementing AM techniques to aid the fabrication of composite parts.

AM can be implemented in the composite production process in a number of ways, say the authors.  Read the article in the current issue of Connection here …

Read the full article on this website here …