Mass production is inherently a wasteful process. Far in advance of the product launch, design decisions must be made as to what the market will look like at launch time. Resources are invested in purchasing or machining tooling and other equipment, and facilities are needed to mass produce a limited assortment of products. Direct digital manufacturing (DDM) offers the potential for a new business model in which design decisions can be made just prior to product launch. And manufacturing can be carried out with little or no tooling. Here’s the second excerpt from a recent white paper by Stratasys CEO Scott Crump, called "Is Now the Time to Try Direct Digital Manufacturing?" It explains why DDM is a relatively green process …
Whichever technology is chosen, DDM offers unique and powerful advantages that distinguish it from traditional manufacturing methods. The most often cited are
- Eliminate investment in tooling.
- Eliminate lag time between design and production.
- Eliminate design contraints.
- Eliminate penalty for redesign.
- Eliminate lot size minimums.
Collectively, these benefits translate to efficiency, flexibility, responsiveness and affordability. DDM is a manufacturing process that introduces alternatives in product design, manufacturing methodology and business operations. As an added benefit, many additive manufacturing technologies are fairly “green” processes. They have very little waste material as compared with milling processes because only the needed material is used. No unnecessary inventory is produced because there is no benefit to building more than you need at any time. Most additive processes require no harmful chemicals and vent no harmful fumes into the environment. Among a list of other green benefits, is the relatively small amount of electricity that is required to produce parts via additive manufacturing.
Click here to download the complete white paper.