Additive Manufacturing (3D printing)
Alongside robotics and intelligent systems, additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is a key technology driving Industry 4.0. Additive manufacturing works by using digital 3D models to create parts with a 3D printer layer by layer.
Within the context of Industry 4.0, 3D printing is emerging as a valuable digital manufacturing technology. Once solely a rapid prototyping technology, today AM offers a huge scope of possibilities for manufacturing from tooling to mass customization across virtually all industries.
It enables parts to be stored as design files in virtual inventories, so that they can be produced on-demand and closer to the point of need — a model known as distributed manufacturing.
Such a decentralized approach to manufacturing can reduce transportation distances, and hence costs, as well as simplify inventory management by storing digital files instead of physical parts.