Additive Manufacturing. Increasingly present in the design, development and manufacturing processes of new products, should this trend be seen as a threat or an opportunity?

The invited speakers consider that additive manufacturing has been adopted by companies in their production processes and, therefore, this technology is seen as an opportunity. They recalled the constant innovation that has marked the industry throughout its history, arguing that, despite constant innovation, the focus of the industry is the mold and not the technology with which it is manufactured. Therefore, it is up to the manufacturers to choose the most appropriate development technologies, taking into account requirements such as price and deadlines. Additive manufacturing emerges in this equation as one of the possible solutions to achieve quality and the desired profitability.

The use of these technologies will allow the creation of new areas and products. And, in this sense, companies will have to position themselves at this level, following up and monitoring technology, developing partnerships, testing and validating solutions internally and doing studies before acquiring equipment.

On the other hand, 3D technology will be in the next ten years, as discussed, a real threat for the mold sector.

Existing printers are, for the time being, slow for mass production, however, evolution will not be long in coming, and with some speed they will be able to change and assert themselves as an alternative, which will discard the need for the mold. That will be the transition to additive manufacturing 2.0.

Additive manufacturing is already present in our industry and companies are adopting these technologies because they represent value. One example is the number of OEMs, in sectors like automotive, that are beginning to invest in these technologies that solve some of the barriers of conventional manufacturing. And concerns such as finishing, precision, materials and properties, cost, and speed are being worked on and solutions have been improved.

"We have to look at the future of moulds in a different way: Portugal has to do product development and adopt technologies that make us more efficient, otherwise our clients won't need us anymore."


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