Additive manufacturing could revolutionize industry

The U.S. manufacturing industry has been experiencing a revival, and the country is positioned to be a world power again with additive manufacturing, or industrial 3D printing, fueling some of the growth. Additive manufacturing is used to make specialized items, such as medical implants, according to MIT Technology Review. As this trend grows, firms can use the services of technical recruiters to find applicants to fill highly specialized position openings.

Unlike conventional manufacturing, the additive process involves working from a computer model to add layers to create a finished product, Knovel, an online technical resource reference, stated. This can reduce waste because the procedure involves adding to something instead of cutting away raw materials, which allows companies to reduce production costs. The process can eliminate some of the difficulties businesses face with early prototypes because items can be tested before they are made. It can also give manufacturers an advantage because they can produce complex shapes without using complicated assembly or forging processes. Factories could potentially produce parts that would be impossible to create through traditional manufacturing. 

While additive manufacturing is not widely used yet, General Electric is starting to create components for jet engines through the 3D process in its aviation department, MIT Technology Review reported. The process uses less materials and gives GE product designers greater flexibility. They are able to create parts that were impossible before and production is faster because 3D machines can run at all times. Using less material makes the airplane engine parts lighter, and this also allows airlines to save money on fuel. Other divisions of GE such as Healthcare and Power & Water are exploring additive options as well.

A significant new trend
Though it is still in its developing stages, additive manufacturing is positioned to become a major part of the U.S. industry revival. As companies devise new, more efficient machinery components, the trend will likely become more popular. The technology behind additive manufacturing is not currently built up enough to support more than a prototyping industry, Knovel said. Many organizations are contributing funds to further develop the technology. The aerospace industry is particularly interested in additive manufacturing because so many of its materials must be highly detailed and tough but lightweight. 

Additive manufacturing is unique because of its flexibility and control, so many firms may express growing interest in the process. Companies that want to fill new positions in the industry can seek the services of manufacturing recruiters.