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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7890
versión impresa ISSN 1012-277X

S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. vol.19 no.1 Pretoria  2008


Three dimensional printing in the South African industrial environment



D. DimitrovI; K. SchreveII; N. de BeerIII; P. ChristianeIV

IDepartment of Industrial Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
IIDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
IIIDepartment of Industrial Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
IVDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa




The current development of the rapid prototyping industry in South Africa is characterised by the strong dominance and fast growth in sales of three dimensional printers. Although it reflects the international trend, it seems that the industrial community lacks a clear appreciation of the real strength of this technology, especially with respect to the large variety of devices available today on the market. This paper surveys the current state and capabilities of three dimensional printing (3DP). Based on its technical background - the ink-jet printing known from the printer and plotter industry - a classification structure is developed and proposed. Different printing techniques and process concepts, together with their advantages and limitations, are described and analysed. Typical examples from three completely different application areas - manufacturing, medicine, and architecture - are presented and discussed. Some basic considerations for an informed selection of the right technology for a particular application are then presented.


Sterk groei in die verkope van drie dimensionele drukkers (3DP) kenmerk die onlangse groei in die snelle prototipe industrie in Suid-Afrika. Ten spyte daarvan dat hierdie 'n internasionale tendens reflekteer, blyk dit dat die werklike waarde van die tegnologie nog nie ten volle waardeer word in die industriële gemeenskap nie, veral aangesien daar so 'n groot verskeidenheid masjiene in die mark beskikbaar is. 'n Oorsig oor die huidige stand en vermoë van drie dimensionele drukkers word hier gegee. 'n Klassifikasiestruktuur - gebaseer op die inkspuitdrukkertegnologie - word ontwikkel en voorgestel. Verskillende druktegnieke en konsepprosesse word ontleed. Daar word ook gekyk na die voor- en nadele hiervan. Tipiese voorbeelde van drie verskillende toepassings (vervaardiging, medies, en argitektuur) word aangebied en bespreek. Basiese riglyne vir 'n ingeligte keuse van die regte tegnologie vir 'n spesifieke toepassing word ook gegee.



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