AM Hub: What can AM offer beyond prototyping?

Additive manufacturing (AM) has the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing space, allowing companies across industries to build lighter, stronger and more cost-effective parts, while accelerating development and production timelines.

Given how nascent this manufacturing technique is, however, it’s understandable that questions—and adoption challenges—still abound. Here, we help you gain access to the information you need, through the insights of Burloak Technologies’ leading experts, so you can navigate this new terrain with confidence.

In this installment, we chat with Colin Osborne, President and CEO of Samuel, Son & Co., about the scalability potential of AM.


Recently there’s been a lot of talk about scalability of AM. What does it mean to scale your AM process?

Well, it could be understood in couple of ways. The way I see it, scaling your AM process means adapting to growing demand for AM parts without compromising the quality and performance of these parts. Essentially, it’s moving into a mass, industrial production while ensuring consistent material properties and reduced part-to-part variation each time the parts are printed.

When using traditional manufacturing techniques, it can be relatively easy to scale up. However, because AM essentially involves printing specific materials, layer by layer, you need to make sure all the material properties and recipes are where you need them to be to guarantee performance.


Why is scalability so important? What makes it so complex?

For the longest time, AM was perceived as an interesting lab-scale experimental technology, mainly used for prototyping. Today, some industries still don’t consider it advanced enough to support manufacturing at scale. The reality is, though, that AM technologies have been rapidly evolving and AM has already proven its commercial feasibility.

Scalability is of tremendous importance because it’s the only way to truly experience the advantages of this technology—whether that includes unparalleled performance, reduced cost or supply chain improvements. It is complex though.


Why is Burloak the right partner to help businesses scale?

What is different about Burloak and Samuel is that we take a manufacturing-centered approach to our additive projects. We’re heavily focused on Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM). This means, from the very preliminary design stages, we’re thinking about scalability. This is important because if scalability isn’t considered early on, the project will fail. The same is true if you’re working with a company that doesn’t truly understand AM. 

Burloak offers world-class talent, two advanced additive manufacturing facilities—one in Canada, and one in the US—as well as some of the most advanced AM technologies and processing capabilities available in the market. All of this culminates in a proven track record—one trusted by AM leaders in the space, aerospace, automotive and industrial manufacturing industries.

We also leverage a lot of insights from Samuel’s 165 years of manufacturing scaling experience. We’ve integrated many of those lessons over the last two decades to build a globally-recognized AM offering that’s proven to help manufacturers ramp up, scale and meet global AM requirements.