ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING - APPLICATION OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE AVIATION INDUSTRY
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3D Printing Technology, Additive Manufacturing, Application in Aviation Industry, Aerospace Applications, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Defense Applications
Additive Manufacturing also known as 3D Printing is a process whereby a real object of virtually any shape can be created layer by layer from a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model. As opposed to the conventional Subtractive Manufacturing that uses cutting, drilling, milling, welding etc., 3D printing is a free-form fabrication process and does not require any of these processes. The 3D printed parts are lighter, require short lead times, less material and reduce environmental footprint of the manufacturing process; and is thus beneficial to the aerospace industry that pursues improvement in aircraft efficiency, fuel saving and reduction in air pollution. Additionally, 3D printing technology allows for creating geometries that would be impossible to make using moulds and the Subtractive Manufacturing of drilling/milling. 3D printing technology also has the potential to re-localize manufacturing as it allows for the production of products at the particular location, as and when required; and eliminates the need for shipping and warehousing of final products.