Unlike architects who require remaining conservative to some extent due to an inability to see the real building design physically, unless the construction process begins with real materials, product development is a process where an engineer can visualize virtually and also test the product in real before actual manufacturing.
This is one of the main reasons why there are lots of innovations happening with product development, as it allows engineers and designers to test them both virtually and physically and minimizes the risk of making any big change in the design. During the product development process, the product design is tested across different stages and this has been made possible due to technologies like rapid prototyping.
But with access to these technologies, the pressure on design engineers and manufacturers is much higher. They are required to meet or exceed customer expectations and that too in a market that is becoming increasingly competitive due to new market entrants. While additive manufacturing can support manufacturers in achieving these goals, the challenge that prevails is in choosing the right rapid prototyping technique across each product development stage.
The additive manufacturing process makes use of digital CAD models to build real life objects by printing material layer-by-layer. While there are numerous ways available to 3D print the part, the use of the right technique depends on the part application. At conceptual stage, a part may…