South African Journal of Industrial Engineering
On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X
Knowledge about the capabilities of a production system is an important issue. The three-dimensional (3-D) printing (drop-on-bed) process has become a well-established Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. Initially intended for use mainly as a concept modeller, its scope of application has expanded to include, among others, fit and functional models, pattern-making for casting and moulding processes, rapid tooling, and medical and architectural models. This growth in applications has stimulated a reciprocal improvement in available materials and the technological capabilities of 3-D printing, such as accuracy, strength and elongation, surface finish, build time, and cost. These factors are of significance to users who want to control their processes better and to designers who want to define their expectations and determine their requirements. Thus this paper aims to provide a technical update, highlighting the influence level of different factors on a system's capabilities. This paper uses the example of the ZPrinter 310 system from the Z Corporation, applies appropriate statistical techniques, and takes into consideration the latest material and machine developments, in order to report on the current improvements of the capability profile of this important process.