A growing opportunity in additive manufacturing (AM) right now is hybrid manufacturing. Combining both subtractive manufacturing with AM is an opportunity for customers, machine tool manufacturers, distributors, and integrators alike. AM is both compatible and complementary with CNC multi-tasking machines where solutions range from retrofitting to new hybrid offerings. Hybrid machines then combine the design freedom of additive with the precision, accuracy, and speed of machining.
“What we have with machine tools is a very accurate, highly tuned motion platform that moves cutting tools around, and most 3D printers need a motion platform. It is a perfect combination and opportunity to merge AM into machine tools,” said Dr. Jason Jones, CEO, Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. “Some are easier to integrate than others. For example, directed energy deposition (DED) is easy to integrate, and the machine tool is preserved as a mainstream machine tool, so additive functionality can be used as needed. Powder bed fusion (PBF), on the other hand, is more involved integration, and the result is a highly dedicated, specialized machine. The majority of the hybrid machines on the market now are using DED.”
Adding AM functionality to single CNC machines can yield many benefits and efficiencies. Operating costs are reduced because one machine can do the work that previously required multiple machines, and setup time is reduced since hybrid CNCs typically require just one setup for multiple additive and subtractive processes. It also saves floor space and reduces the need to send work out for additional processing.
Read part one here.
Read part two here.
To learn more about the role of AM in hybrid manufacturing as well as other applications, read our white paper here.