The pyramids and 3D printing

by Sascha F. Wenzler — 2020/02/08

When I think of series production, the first things that come to mind are textile factories in England and Henry Ford’s automotive assembly lines. However, the history of techniques like these actually goes back many hundreds – even thousands – of years. The ancient Egyptians used such means to produce blocks for their pyramids, for example. While their methods were entirely manual, they were already following quality principles similar to those we now see in modern series production: The hefty blocks also had to meet precise specifications in terms of material, surface quality, and dimensional stability. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have fit together or been able to bear such enormous weight.

These days, many areas of industry would be unthinkable without series production. Also, in the field of industrial use of Additive Manufacturing (AM), it is no longer a question for me whether the path towards series production is the right one, but only with what speed, what technology and to what extent.

Continuing upward trend

More and more applications in series production prove this from very different user industries and using different AM technologies. Futurologists and consulting companies confirm the continuing upward trend for the coming years.

The entire production process, its stability, control and seamless monitoring are crucial. The necessary international standards and norms are also a prerequisite. And not to forget continuous automation across all process steps, including pre- and post-processing.

There is still a lot of potential to be tapped, for example, from hybrid production using the advantages of different technologies and materials. And in my opinion, AM in particular offers great opportunities to answer essential questions about sustainability, recycling and resource conservation in industrial manufacturing.

Still in 2020 and beyond, AM remains a »life changing technology« and with Formnext we are pleased to be part of this path and to help shape it. And who knows? Maybe we’ll also succeed in creating products that will one day seem as groundbreaking to future generations as the pyramids to us.