All these technologies have in common that they build the required part layer by layer, either by adding material or by existing polymerisin material in the tank.
The choice of technology is based on several criteria: the appearance of the finish and the need to maintain dimensional tolerances.
3D printing in the industry is used as an alternative to injection moulding, mainly for manufacturing prototypes or very small series.
In the case of small and medium series production, plastic sheet metal work without moulds or tools is a significantly more competitive process than 3D printing. Like 3D Printing, Plastics sheet technology can incorporate product changes between each mass production batch.
Online 3D printing is an efficient automatic quotation tool that is appreciated by users. Online 3D printing allows you to immediately obtain a quote for the manufacture of the part without the manufacturer’s intervention.
In the same spirit, Tôlerie Plastique has developed a website and a calculation robot that allows, like online 3D printing, to obtain a quote autonomously and without delay.
With Electronicase, La Tôlerie Plastique provides users with an autonomous quotation tool comparable to those of online 3D printing.
3D printing technologies are very frequently used to produce prototypes or very small series (3 to 10 parts).
This advantage is also a limit that is quickly reached to produce small series of a few dozen parts or medium series of a few hundred parts.
Indeed, except for very small parts, 3D printing does not generate any economy of scale for mass production.
In contrast, the sheet metal process has the same advantages as the mouldless process but with the added benefit of lower costs for small and medium production runs.
Parts made today with carbon fibre, polymer filament, resin, and sintered powder 3D printing require post-processing to reduce the visible effect of the layers. There are various post-processing methods to even out the surface, such as sanding or bathing.
Manual sanding is time-consuming and does not allow for quantity degression.
Dipping the parts into a bath allows to increase productivity and do the post treatment for a higher quantity in one step. However, via this method, one loses the precision of dimensions, notably in the angles, as they become round.