Additive Manufacturing of metals has evolved from the late 1990's highly porous sintered objects and non-standard bi-metallic structures to todays fully dense metal objects in a wide range of alloys. Odds are that many parts made by investment casters, as well as the tooling used in die-casting, will instead be made by direct metal additive processes. These solutions exist today, and companies are being built around direct metal additive processes that have begun to compete with job-shop foundries for new and legacy work for many industries.
The question of where this process fits into the New England foundry market needs discussion. Remember when people ignored CAD? CNC Machining? This technology is on the same order of disruption.
End customers are currently planning the use of direct metal AM parts as "casting replacements" - when really they are simply changing their metal casting process. The net effect is the same, if the metal parts being produced are no longer going to be made in local foundries.
Direct Metal AM alloys cover aluminum, copper, nickel, titanium, steels, as well as some specialty applications. Alloys and processes have already been approved by many OEMs. Alloy and application development continues to happen at universities world-wide, including our own WPI.
Graham Boyd of SLM Solutions will join us for a presentation of their machines, alloys, and several case studies of aerospace, defense, pump, and energy parts that have been migrated to direct metal processes already.