T hree-dimensional (3D) solutions provider Additive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) plans to invest further in the latest technologies by adding high-end machines to its offering next month.
The investment includes a production polymer laser sintering 3D printer and a large-format, full-colour 3D printer.
AMS MD Bernhard Vogt says 3D printing is becoming widely accepted as an alternate method of manufacturing, with quicker turnaround times than those of traditional manufacturing techniques. Companies often turn to 3D printing as a solution to get products out to market fast, he adds.
Companies are recognising the benefits of 3D printing and are, subsequently, adopting an additive manufacturing strategy for production lines, having acquired entry-level and mid-range 3D printing machines and are now ready to roll out production capable equipment.
AMS has taken first steps in acquiring these technologies, which it offers as a service to other businesses. This “puts the company ahead of the rest” and it will continue to reinvest in new technologies, which are continuously getting better, says Vogt.
“We have a clear strategy to use more machines and offer more materials, including the ability to 3D print in metals.”
In this regard, the company will have the largest additive manufacturing centre in South Africa within the next two years, says Vogt. The AMS Centre of Excellence, in 3D printing, will provide internships and training programmes to upskill young engineers and designers, he adds.
He further mentions that 3D printing enables product developers to quickly realise their ideas. “In just a number of weeks or days, designers can go through a number of 3D-printed iterations of their product, find all the faults, and make the product perfect.”
Previously, this would have taken months, where only after designers are happy and there are no faults in the product, could designers consider having tooling made. A small design mistake can be costly, and finding mistakes early will save time and money, says Vogt.
He explains that tooling can take months to complete, but small production runs using production 3D printing can get the products to market immediately, as opposed to waiting for tooling to be finalised.
Moreover, he suggests that 3D printing will ensure that local product development happens faster, creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.
AMS will be one of the exhibitors at the KwaZulu-Natal Industrial Technology Exhibition 2019, which will be held at the Durban Exhibition Centre on July 24 to 26.