Part one of this series discussed the many additive manufacturing providers and machines that make 3D printing applications possible. It also examined how the Essentium HSE 3D Printing Platform provides speed and precision advantages over other additive manufacturing solutions. The second part of this series will look at how the dependability and reliability of the Essentium HSE 180•S Series are different from competing technologies.

Manufacturers are constantly seeking new ways to improve time-to-market, reduce costs and waste, empower creativity, and streamline supply chains. Essentium believes additive manufacturing (AM) can help achieve those goals as an alternative or complement to subtractive manufacturing methods on the factory floor. The key is maintaining scale equal to traditional processes to support mass production, and to do so affordably. The third part of this series will look at how the Essentium HSE 180 3D Printing Platform is different from other competing 3D printers with respect to scale and build volume—while maintaining affordability.

In addition to providing the speed and precision, dependability and reliability, and the build volume to enable production at scale, Essentium also offers a broad catalog of extrusion materials to meet virtually any additive manufacturing application—whether printed on an Essentium HSE 180•S 3D Printer or using another machine. This concluding chapter will discuss how the Essentium HSE 3D Printing Platform provides competitive separation by virtue of its unique support for an open ecosystem of materials.

Across the medical device sector there are many innovative applications of 3D printing that are benefitting manufacturers, healthcare professionals and patients. From rapid medical device validation to printing, we’ve collected some case studies of how additive manufacturing has enabled medical device developments while improving production times and reducing costs. The first example leverages the use of a state-of-the-art digital tool for materials development called Albert, who happens to share the same name as a well-known physicist!

GRATZ Engineering GmbH is just one of many examples that has firmly integrated 3D printing in various forms into its business model. Not using the technology today is no longer an option for the engineering expert. That's because the advantages in terms of delivery times, cost-effectiveness and increased performance through geometric freedom are simply too significant. "The good thing is that as a medium-sized company, you don't have to rely on investing in your own printing system right away.

Evonik launches material campaign for 3D printing (©Evonik, research hub in Singapore).

In addition to a well-thought-out digitisation strategy, the right IT infrastructure is of paramount importance. More and more companies are therefore turning to software-as-a-service in the cloud. Instead of purchasing software solutions in a complete package with fixed licences, customised packages via the cloud offer multiple advantages: flexible, scalable and with external IT specialists available at all times in the background.

One by one, advancements in technology are stripping away barriers to the widespread adoption of additive manufacturing technology at scale. Today’s 3D printers are faster, more reliable, offer larger build areas, support a wider range of materials and are getting more affordable. As such, the number of manufacturers using 3D printers for limited or full-scale production part runs (as well as the number of 3D printer manufacturers) is growing exponentially every year. Multiple surveys document the enthusiasm decision makers have for additive manufacturing at scale, but an obstacle still holds back many companies from committing: fear of vendor lock-in.

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