Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing has its roots in the development of Rapid Prototyping during the 1980s and 90s. RP as it was known, was considered a great step in the reduction of lead times for a number of products, effectively allowing prototype parts and concepts to be produced in a matter of hours rather than weeks and months.
Worldwide, research groups throughout the 90's began to explore the uses of 3D Printing technology. At that time this was principally: stereolithography (SLA), fused deposition modeling (FDM), laser sintering and 3D Printing, distinct technologies with their own benefits and limitations. Development continued apace, with new software tools and the continued improvement of materials and processes, to enable Rapid Prototyping to be more relevant to customers. This was embodied in the provision of more robust parts for test of form and fit and even the advent of Rapid Tooling; utilising the use of layer by layer technology to produce tooling for injection moulding.
Phill Dickens and his research team, that included Richard Hague, continued to research and develop the technology at The University of Nottingham and started to show the potential of RP to a range of sectors and industries through patents.
As the 2000's began, the thoughts of using layer by layer techniques to produce actual products became a logical next step, research began into the use of prior RP technologies as manufacturing tools, with those skilled in the art beginning to realise the fundamental design and product potential that could be achieved. During the 2000's new technology came on stream with metallic systems becoming available. Phill's research group was growing, and in the mid-2000's Richard took over as research group head as Phill was needed for bigger things.
Recognising the move to manufacturing as being one that would massively expand the potential application of AM and 3D Printing, Richard along with colleagues, Ricky, Ian and Chris, began to explore multi-faceted and disciplinary projects in order to show the importance of coupling design, materials and process together. This allowed strategic partners and alliances to benefit from the entire offering that AM was beginning to present as a manufacturing solution for High Value, Custom and Bespoke products. It was clear that 3D Printing was not just about the machines…
From 2011, the advent of 3D Printing and the explosion of consumer 3D Printing systems has brought about a significant degree of interest in the field, but importantly, a significant amount of misinformation.
However, the team at Added Scientific continued to develop their research and application fields to allow their partners to cut through the hype and focus on what added benefits they could realise from this exciting technology, whether their interest be in how to implement the technology or specifics such as new materials, processes or design requirements. The launch of Added Scientific in 2015 allows your company to benefit from this expertise.