The best opportunities for additive manufacturing do not only involve parts designed with additive in mind, but also with facilities designed with additive in mind.
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Here is a truism that manufacturers working close to additive manufacturing understand: The best opportunities for AM involve parts designed with additive in mind. But what if this principle extends farther than part design? To make a product additively is not just to replace some conventional operation with 3D printing. In the way it combines material creation and part creation in one, and in the way it consolidates assemblies into single intricate components, additive manufacturing represents a new way to produce and a new way to organize production. The best opportunities for AM therefore likely involve facilities — even enterprises — that were also designed with additive in mind.
Sintavia, the Florida-based additive manufacturer serving the aerospace sector, illustrates this point. In 2019, the company completed construction on a Fort Lauderdale-area facility focused on additive production. The 55,000-square-foot site in Hollywood, Florida, currently has 25 industrial 3D printers for metal parts. In fact, the focus is even more specific: Launched from an aircraft engine MRO business in 2015, Sintavia performs laser and electron beam powder bed fusion (PBF) of aircraft and rocket engine components. PBF for aerospace is the company’s sole aim. Brian Neff is the company’s CEO and founder, and he says the fact that the company had no legacy in conventional aerospace part production has been an aid to its success.