Although it originates from a solid foundation of technological expertise, every day ZARE is increasingly chosen for its wide-ranging approach. In the industrial sector, price is unquestionably one of the aspects which engineers focus on, but it is the overall effectiveness of the project that determines the manufacturing strategy. Additive Integration is a strategic approach by which technologies and skills become tactics.
The manufacturing methods
Manufacturing methods can be divided into three main groups: moulding techniques, subtractive manufacturing and additive manufacturing.
Moulding techniques include processes such as injection moulding, die-casting and thermoforming: the required piece is therefore obtained by applying heat or pressure to the raw material - be it metal, plastic, or a combination of the two - inside a mould. The mould adds high fixed costs regardless of the number of parts to be made and introduces the obvious need for it to be produced, which is often complex, and it must be built to stand the test of time and capable of replicating an immense number of pieces. Of equal importance, in the calculation of overall manufacturing efficiency, is the cost of storing the moulds ready to be used or reused. Given these characteristics and the necessary initial investment, these are techniques that are more effective when high volumes are required.
Moulding is an irreplaceable and historically widely used manufacturing method. From the designer's point of view, it is useful to remember that it requires uniform wall thicknesses and draft angles that must be carefully planned, thus limiting freedom in design.
Subtractive manufacturing allows you to obtain products starting from a block of raw material. The machine tool removes the excess material until the required result is obtained. The types of operations used are cutting, drilling, turning and milling with computer numerical control machines (CNC). These methods guarantee accuracy and excellent surface quality. The generation of a lot of waste material, and its proper management and disposal, is one of the manufacturing method's indirect inefficient aspects. However, it is an excellent choice for many projects, especially when the geometries to be produced are not so complex and when medium-scale production volumes are required. Complex geometries can be achieved, with the indispensable experience of expert operators, by using machinery that allows you to easily reach all the areas from which it is necessary to subtract the material and by changing the position of the piece appropriately during processing.
Additive manufacturing, or industrial 3D printing, produces objects by adding material one layer at a time: each subsequent layer joins with the previous one until the part is complete. This manufacturing method guarantees very high levels of detail as well as letting you design complex geometries such as, for example, internal holes and ducts, which cannot be created with other techniques. It is a flexible and efficient technology that allows a lot of freedom and customisation during the design phase; it is used for the production of prototypes, pre-production and small batches in much faster times. IInitially linked to the production of prototypes, Additive Manufacturing is increasingly being used for the production of final products and components ready to be used and placed on the market, especially in more critical sectors such as aerospace, automotive and medical. Thanks to the innovation and the availability of increasingly advanced machines, it has actually been possible to overcome the initial issues relating to reproducible dimensions and the materials used, thus expanding the possibilities of use.
Relative affordability: the parameter for measuring manufacturing effectiveness
There are many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the most suitable manufacturing method: design features, intended use, desired properties, production times, etc. One of the concepts with which we very often go into depth with the customer is that of relative affordability. For Additive Manufacturing, we have always considered cost to be almost equal to the increase in the number of parts. To compare the technologies, again from the historical-academic point of view, a chart similar to the one below is often used:
Most of the manufacturing approaches can be summarised with the above representation and shows how effective additive is in small-batch production. Again in terms of the historical approach, additive manufacturing is associated with the production of functional elements in which geometry, which is otherwise difficult to achieve in small numbers, offers an intrinsic advantage that effectively compensates the inevitable higher cost per single piece. The advantage of additive manufacturing is not limited to the new possibilities offered by technology for a low number of special pieces: the integrated approach allows us to achieve relative affordability in a much larger number of cases.
Additive Integration, the strategy that goes beyond technological hybridisation
Technological hybridisation – between additive and subtractive - is only part of what we can consider Additive Integration. The goal of Additive Integration is to find, at a design level and not just for a single element, the combination of:
- the number of pieces to be made,
- the possibility of technologies – also by combining more than one,
- the optimisation activities in the design - in the functionalities and methods for starting production,
- the laboratory tests on pre-production materials and samples,
- the enhancement of production and delivery times.
The aim is to find the break-even point to make the overall project more effective.
Affordability is a broad term and does not refer only to cost. When entering the field of Additive Integration functional to an industrial project, cost is one of the aspects to be considered, of course it is relevant, but not exclusively decisive.
Zare is the industrial Additive Manufacturing service that offers the combined skills of production experts, technology experts and specialised engineers whose aim is to obtain the best relative affordability, that combination of heterogeneous parameters that make the industrial application more effective.
Zare is the service that constantly invests in the set-up of in-house technology because the speed of execution is more and more often one of the most important elements in the success of an industrial project.
Two production plants and over 50 people form the Additive Team. Zare is the perfect industrial partner for Rapid Manufacturing.