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What is Rapid Manufacturing?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Rapid manufacturing is a production technique that involves the creation of solid objects delivering energy or material to specific points in the production process. This rapid delivery approach makes it possible to quickly assemble various types of products with relative ease. In many cases, this approach is managed with the use of computer technology that creates pinpoint accuracy for the delivery and use of materials to take place. As a result, it is possible to produce objects much more quickly than older methods such as die casting or plastic injection.

One of the other benefits of rapid manufacturing is the cost factor. Since the creation process is so specific, the opportunity for the waste of raw materials is reduced significantly. Because the raw materials are utilized more efficiently, it is possible to produce more products from the same amount of materials, which in turn lowers the overall production cost. Since more units can be produced from the same amount of raw materials, the cost of production per unit is reduced, and the profit generated by the sale of each unit is increased.

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One sub-group of the rapid manufacturing process is known as the additive fabrication technique or additive manufacturing. In this approach, the product is constructed by systematically adding layers until the final design of the product is achieved. As with all forms of rapid manufacturing, the additive approach is controlled by computer technology, allowing for pinpoint precision at each step of the process, making it easy to maintain a high degree of uniformity between each unit produced.

The rapid manufacturing strategy can be used in a number of different manufacturing situations. This approach works well in any situation where the production of a particular good is ongoing, as in the case of bearings and other components used in a variety of machinery. It is also possible to utilize the rapid method for short or limited runs of various goods, making it possible to prepare a lot of items for sale in a shorter period of time. Because the setup process does involve the use of computer programs in the design stages, it is relatively easy to prepare for the limited run in a short period of time, and save the specification for later use, if desired.

Rapid manufacturing is used today with the production of a wide range of goods. Electronic components are often manufactured using this process today, including diagnostic machinery used in hospitals and clinic. The automotive industry also makes use of this type of efficient manufacturing process when it comes to the creation of parts that are used to produce new vehicles. The computer-controlled technique is also helpful with the design of partial and full plates for use in dentistry. Even pieces of jewelry and various types of limited-run collectibles may be created using a rapid manufacturing approach.

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