Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) is a process that uses additive manufacturing technology to make production parts and manufacturing tools. Directly from 3D CAD data, components are manufactured layer-by-layer without molding, casting or machining. The opportunities and advantages of DDM are extensive. And many companies are just beginning to realize the positive impact that DDM can have on their business.
These are the 7 key advantages of Direct Digital Manufacturing:
- Rapid Deployment – The "On Demand" nature of the technology allows you to get to market faster.
- Low Capital Expenditure – Parts built directly from digital data, no need for tooling.
- Unlimited Complexity – Building in layers allows unlimited freedom in your design.
- Freedom to Redesign – No penalties during production when changes are needed.
- Part Consolidation – Combine multiple components into one.
- Short-Run Manufacturing – DDM is an ideal solution when you need only a few thousand parts.
- Innovation – Designs are no longer held back by the constraints of traditional manufacturing techniques.
As I mentioned in my last blog, we are seeing a lot of innovation in the smaller entrepreneurial start-ups. At RedEye many of the successes have come from the medical device industry. Often times the idea for a new device comes from a doctor who works with a small group of designers and investors to get the idea designed and into the first phases of production. But before they can take this idea too far they require market validation.
They don’t have the luxury to make things perfect the first time and when there’s still a level of uncertainty. It’s difficult to swallow the capital investment of a rapid tool or the more expensive hard tooling.
This is where some of the key advantages above come into play. When you’re developing a product that is totally new to the market, you want to have the flexibility to change on the fly with minimal risk to time and cost.
Without that constraint of tooling, digital manufacturing allows you to produce parts and products on demand. Within days you’re getting market feedback. As fast as you can get your next re-designed CAD file complete, you’re off and running with the next iteration. This is rapid manufacturing in it’s truest form.
Find out more about the advantages and considerations to using direct digital manufacturing.