Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been called the Next Industrial Revolution, improving virtually every aspect of the way products are made. Additive manufacturing is a key component of Direct Digital Manufacturing which generally describes the process of producing parts directly from digital CAD data.
Normally DDM stories tend to focus on end use parts, where additive manufacturing is used to cost-effectively produce the final parts that go into your car, jetliner or coffee maker. Describing its potential impact, theWohlers Report 2014 states, ”Most indications suggest that we are heading toward a relatively new method of manufacturing and an industry worth tens of billions of dollars.”
One area of additive manufacturing that can have an equally significant impact is tools – the molds, patterns, jigs and fixtures that are used throughout the manufacturing and as assembly processes.