Sandvik, the world’s largest metal cutting tool maker has announced that it will be expanding its investments in Additive Manufacturing in an effort to explore how the manufacturing tech can spur new business.
According to the Swedish company the company’s main investment will be geared toward the development of a 3D printing R&D center whose wide reaching goals include improving products across the company’s entire portfolio.
While 3D printing is still far from supplanting traditional manufacturing as the gold standard for industrial production Mikael Schuisky, Sandvik’s AM operations manager, believes the technology creates a paradigm shift in the way engineers think about designing a product.
“What is attractive about 3-D is the new way of thinking,’’ Schuisky said. ’’We are used to thinking that objects are processed out of a material. We need to start thinking about starting from a blank canvas.’’
As 3D printing continues to gain momentum in the industrial sphere companies like Sandvik, GE, Airbus and other early AM adopters are positioning themselves well for manufacturing’s future. Even if 3D printing never competes with traditional manufacturing techniques it will likely always have the ability to make high-value components that are low-run and highly-specialized. Developing procedures and protocols for a manufacturing environment that includes AM will only help better position a firm for an expanding design market.