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Additive Manufacturing’s Impact on Research and Development

by | Jul 21, 2022 | Custom optics, Optics manufacturing & prototyping

The Rise of Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (AM) uses CAD (Computer-aided-design) software to create 3D printed objects, which are built by layering super-fine deposits. Although this process has been around for decades, the recent boom of technology has mainstreamed this process in many different industries. The Additive Manufacturing industry is currently worth approximately USD 14 billion, and with a 20.8% CAGR it is expected to reach USD 76 Billion by 2030. This market growth is partially due to the rise of industries adopting Additive Manufacturing into their production.

The materials deposited to create these 3D products can range from metals to plastics, making the processes applicable to different industries and needs. Major industries benefitting from the use of Additive Manufacturing are automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, energy systems, medical, and pharmaceutical. But why would these industries begin introducing AM to their process?

Within Research and Development

The popularity of using Additive Manufacturing began rising with Research and Development’s (R&D) staggering growth. In 2019 alone, organisations spent roughly 2% of global GDP in research and development; about USD 2,3 Trillion. The major industries which invested in R&D were Pharmaceuticals, High Tech and Automotive and Assembly: all industries in which Additive Manufacturing has a potential application. Within R&D, AM has a major impact on lead times; lead times for custom parts are lengthy and can slow down development times. Now, with Additive Manufacturing, companies are able to get these prototype parts quickly. Aside from time-related advantages, AM also broadens the scope of possibilities within manufacturing. 3D Printed designs are able to be more complex and the design capabilities are higher; raising the potential of product development.

Additive Manufacturing of Optics

Additive Manufacturing within the optics industry has also grown. 3D Printed lenses are offered through many different companies. However, the quality of these optics are lower than the products from typical manufacturing processes.

Addoptics does not 3D Print optics, but rather uses the benefits of Additive Manufacturing within our custom process. We are able to 3D print a mould and use a type of casting to create the optic in record time. This creates an optic with a surface roughness of <10 Nm RMS and an internal transmission of 93,5%. Our capabilities also allow for prototypes to be shipped within 6 days from design approval, allowing for quick research and development.

For more information about our process, take a look at our capabilities page. Want to know more about how our Additive Manufacturing can help your product design and development? Contact us here, we are always happy to help with any challenges or questions you have.