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Additive Manufacturing: A New Paradigm in Manufacturing Industry

By: Dr. D.R.Dolas (
Date: 17th April 2021

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is commonly called 3D (3 Dimensional) Printing and earlier it was referred as rapid prototyping (RP). This expression of rapid prototyping is in use in many different industries to explain a procedure of quickly making a product or system prior to its final launch or commercialization. It means the focus is on making something rapidly and that the outcome will be a scaled down model or prototype which will be used as base to develop other products and finally the final product will be produced. As per concern of product development purview, rapid prototyping term was commonly referred to designate technologies or processes which make prototypes or real physical models directly from virtual model.

Initially rapid prototyping process was developed for mere prototyping purpose, but later it is been in use for many other purposes also. Scope of RP technology has widened as it is not restricted to only prototyping; this has been understood by the important stakeholders of RP technology. This term RP is also insufficient to cover recent advent of the technology. Advancement in RP machines lead to enhancement in the final quality of the output from these machines which resulted into bridging the gap between prototypes and end use parts. Now, many complex parts can be directly constructed by these machines, so it will not be appropriate to tag them as“prototypes”. The term rapid prototyping is not broad enough to cover basic working principle of these processes or technologies which are employed in manufacturing of the products through the advanced additive approach. Recently a technical committee was instituted in ASTM International which has come up with decision to use new term instead of term RP, newly developed and adopted ASTM standards have utilised the term additive manufacturing.

AM blog

AM blog

Fused Deposition Modeling Process Flow

Earlier scope of utilization of AM was restricted up to creation of visualization model of final product during development phase. For conceptual design presentation, a physical model is always better option than two dimensional drawing as physical model very clearly conveys the intent of the designer. Although drawings are simpler and faster way, physical models are superior which mostly utilized for design validation. Starting with simple purpose of making model and with advent into advanced technology, development in material science AM technology has been established as alternative to traditional manufacturing. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is one of the important types of additive manufacturing which manufactures the parts from plastic filaments.

For equipping students with competancies which are requisite for career in design sector, platform for students has been provided in the curriculum through which students are skilled in formulating and solving modern design problems of additive manufacturing. Today industry are focusing on design of light weight parts and utilizing modern software tools to develop durable and high strength parts. Considering this industrial practice, MGM university has collaborated with MSC Softwares, USA and upgraded the Rapid Prototyping Lab to enable students learn and work on Digimat and Simufact softwares. These software will help students in understanding micro scale and macro scale analysis and predicting performance of AM processes.

AM blog

Facilities at Rapid Prototyping Lab

(Author is Associate Professor from Department of Mechanical Engineering of Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College which is constituent college of MGM University, Aurangabad.)