Additive manufacturing, often known as “AM” or “additive layer manufacturing” (ALM), is the production name for industries for the process of 3D printing. 3D printing is itself a process that makes three-dimensional objects by depositing layers of material on top of one another until the object, whatever it might be, is complete.
The process of additive manufacturing will begin with computer-aided design (CAD) to create an image made up of precise geometric shapes. The 3D printing machine will then turn those shapes into a 3D object. Once the object is printed, it will usually require additional techniques to remove any surplus material and to ensure that the final product looks as it should.
Technology has come a long way in a few short years, and this kind of AM is used to create all kinds of essential objects, including many medical devices that can save, or certainly improve, lives.
The difference between additive manufacturing and standard manufacturing is that, rather than taking one block of material and carving a component from it, AM creates a 3D object by cutting and placing individual layers. This creates a more robust object with much less waste.
What Is MICA Freeform?
There are many different methods used when it comes to additive manufacturing, and more and more methods being created since this is a new and emerging (not to mention exciting and highly useful) way of creating objects, and manufacturing previously cost-limited items.
Recently, a new method of AM has come to the fore. Known as MICA Freeform and created by Microfabrica in California, the result is mass-produced, micro-composite structures that are stronger and longer lasting than many other metals and alloys. The process works by combining a variety of different metals to create tiny, millimeter-scale parts.
When in use, this technology can be used to create countless parts for millions of devices every year. Experts in medical device manufacture, aerospace, and the semiconductor industry have already declared that MICA Freeform is a revolutionary way to create components that would just not have been possible before in terms of time and cost. It has meant that fiber optic alignment is not only possible but can be produced on a large scale.
Why Use MICA Freeform?
It must be clear that MICA Freeform has some definite advantages over standard additive manufacturing. One of the most significant advantages that this process has over the most common forms of AM is the high volume it can achieve.
MICA Freeform can produce large numbers of components as small as 20 microns, each one as precise as the last. It does this using engineering-grade metals such as copper, palladium, nickel, cobalt, and rhodium.
When there are so many small components that can be made not only precisely but quickly, this offers engineers plenty more design options, enabling more devices to be made than might have been possible without the addition of MICA Freeform manufacturing.
Even when devices need to have moving parts, because MICA Freeform can offer such precision, designers can have faith that this process will allow their objects to move correctly. Technology is constantly advancing, and this new level of additive manufacturing is certainly an exciting one.