20 Mar 2017

A strong future for 3D printing

Many technologies have their place in the manufacturing industry. That of 3D printing (additive manufacturing) with robust polyamide materials is growing rapidly to meet new needs in areas previously reserved for injection molding. At the recent PCI European Nylon Symposium in Frankfurt, Germany, Solvay Engineering Plastics General Manager Peter Browning observed that “advances in additive manufacturing technology are challenging the dominance of injection molding as a production methodology in specific niches.”

3D printing is not destined to replace all injection molding, but it does offer flexible new opportunities for safe, cost-effective applications across the polyamide value chain. This includes prototyping and spare parts today, with growing small-series production in the future. With per-unit production costs continuing to drop, Peter Browning adds: “3D printing volumes are growing by 20% per year. This solution fulfills unmet industry needs in terms of ease-of-use, technical properties, and production speed.”