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“Facilitating a healthy discussion and fostering collaboration between die makers and 3D printing service providers is of utmost importance. Die makers possess valuable knowledge about the moulding process, while 3D printing service providers have expertise in navigating the limitations associated with the technology,” says Aditya Kumar, Managing Director, Marcopolo Products P Ltd.
By Nishant Kashyap
What are the latest advancements in 3D printing technology and their potential impact on various industries?
Over the years, significant progress has been made in the field of 3D printing technology. This advancement is evident in terms of operational speed, precision, and the expanding range of available materials. While 3D printing technology continues to play a crucial role in the prototyping phase of new product development, it has also found limited applications for end-use parts through the emergence of certain technologies.
Witnessing its rapid adoption, the construction industry has quickly embraced the use of 3D printing technology. Additionally, metal 3D printing is being widely utilised in the die & mould industry, as well as in sectors such as aerospace, medical, and defence.
In your opinion, what are the key factors driving the growth of the 3D printing industry in India, specifically in the realm of service providers?
The rapid pace of new product development has created a strong demand for the 3D printing industry. Service providers play a pivotal role in the prototyping sector by offering solutions for diverse applications and addressing critical requirements. The entry of prominent global players in the aviation industry has further fueled the growth of metal 3D printing technology. Moreover, the emphasis on manufacturing medical devices in India and promoting import substitution has created opportunities for innovative product development, consequently driving the utilisation of 3D printing technology.
What are the major challenges faced by 3D printing service providers in India? What steps are being taken to address them?
In the Indian market, cost sensitivity poses a significant challenge in meeting the quality standards for 3D-printed parts at present cost levels. The reliance on imported materials and machines from Europe, China, and the USA further escalates the overall cost of the final components. Consequently, Indian companies face decreased competitiveness in the global landscape. Additionally, limited knowledge and awareness about the technology remain obstacles, but efforts are underway to gradually address this issue by incorporating 3D printing technology into the undergraduate curriculum.
How do you envision 3D printing technology transforming the die & mould making industry, particularly in terms of efficiency and design capabilities?
The versatility of 3D printing technology is steadily revolutionising die & mould making, enhancing both speed and quality. With the advent of various hybrid technologies, it is now possible to add material and machine components within the same systems, optimising material utilisation. While these technologies find extensive applications in large-scale projects, 3D printing is also driving innovations in the development of intricate sand cores for the sand casting process used in producing sizable aluminium/steel castings.
What are the main advantages that 3D printing offers to die & mould makers in terms of conformal cooling?
Conformal cooling is one of the biggest revolutions in the die & mould industry. This technique involves the creation of cooling channels in close proximity to the impression area of an injection moulding tool. By utilising these conformal cooling channels, highly efficient heat transfer can be achieved during the moulding process, leading to improved component quality. Significantly, this method also reduces the overall cycle time, resulting in cost savings for the production of components.
Are there any specific materials or technologies that are particularly suitable for achieving effective conformal cooling using 3D printing?
Currently, there are multiple metal 3D printing technologies capable of direct metal sintering, making them suitable for the creation of conformal cooling channels. To achieve optimal results, tooling inserts for these channels are commonly manufactured using steel or aluminium materials.
How important is collaboration and knowledge sharing among 3D printing service providers and die & mould makers to fully exploit the potential of conformal cooling and advance the industry as a whole?Facilitating a healthy discussion and fostering collaboration between die makers and 3D printing service providers is of utmost importance. Die makers possess valuable knowledge about the moulding process, while 3D printing service providers have expertise in navigating the limitations associated with the technology. Therefore, organising industry seminars on this topic, well-attended by professionals from both the fields, can significantly contribute to the advancement of the industry. Such forums will encourage knowledge exchange, promote understanding of each other’s perspectives, and drive innovation within the sector.
The emphasis on manufacturing medical devices in India and promoting import substitution has created opportunities for innovative product development, consequently driving the utilisation of 3D printing technology.
This interview was first published on TAGMA Times Newsletter
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