After two very intensive weeks including a presentation at the ASTM Snapshot Workshop followed by very good discussions, I am reporting today about a topic which is currently visible in the AM market.
Which setup would you choose in order to print competitively and as quick as possible? Additive manufacturing is no longer just about printing. In addition to printing, post-processing and data are now also an important part of the process. Unfortunately the development of the entire process chain takes time. So, how can you manufacture the component for the customer as quick as possible?
Let's assume two scenarios:
Scenario 1: The printer can be handled like a black box, because the parameters are not modifiable. The responsibility is part of the OEM service and the parameters are developed by him. Post-processing is handled by an external supplier and the necessary data/interfaces are provided in advance by the machine supplier. You handle the process chain like an additive manufacturing ecosystem, comparable to Apple.
Scenario 2: Everything is in the hands of the company. An initial parameter set-up can be acquired with the printer. However, you start successively optimizing the parameters on your own to develop a competitive advantage. This will certainly take longer than in scenario 1, but it should be worth focusing on a long term perspective. Post-processing (tool shop) and the digital software landscape are built up by the company, so the knowledge remains within the company structures. As a summary, you develop an independent manufacturing strategy considering the process chain.
If you would start with Additive Manufacturing today, which scenario would you choose? Do you think, there is still enough time to develop an independent position on the market or would you go for scenario 1 and speed up your manufacturing process to provide the part as quick as possible?
I am curious about your opinion.