May 08, 2015
Hakudo Starts to Undertake Manufacturing of Metal Parts Using 3D Printers
Hakudo started to undertake manufacturing of metal parts using 3D printers this year. Hakudo, which supplies metal processing businesses with materials such as rods and plates made of aluminum, brass, and stainless steel, is now engaged in a pioneering initiative: A new form of manufacturing involving parts shaped using 3D printers, which are not yet widely utilized.
"Metal parts are usually made from rods or plates, or by forging or casting, followed by machining. A 3D printer makes parts by consolidating powder, so it can make complicated parts that weren’t possible until now. With casting and forging, a die has to be made before you make the product, but with a 3D printer, you can form complicated shapes without a die. We think that’s the biggest feature of this method."
In Japan, 3D printers are used mainly for fabricating prototypes, by research departments at universities and large companies. Hakudo provides support for not just prototyping, but also mass production, targeting a wide range of businesses in the automotive, aircraft, and die-making industries.
"In fact, you can make dies themselves using a 3D printer, and you can make products that were previously die-cast straight away, from the metal (powder). According to customers, items that were previously made by bolting two or three parts together can be made as single components using a 3D printer. So, they are using this method to reduce the number of parts they need to make."
First of all, Hakudo will focus on establishing this technology among Japanese users, while responding to any inquiries at its overseas offices. In the future, Hakudo also envisages supplying parts formed using Japanese 3D printers to other markets, primarily in developing countries.
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