As the co-founder and CCO of Fathom Manufacturing, Stump explained how the company leverages over 25 different manufacturing processes to help customers innovate and get products to market faster. Since its founding in 2008, Fathom has supported over 25,000 customers in leveraging additive manufacturing (AM) technologies alongside traditional manufacturing to change the way they develop and design their products.
By incorporating new processes, including software and hardware, manufacturers can open up a new envelope of opportunities from an application perspective. According to Stump, additive manufacturing is a great enabling tool that can help manufacturers transition from prototyping into production and change the way they approach product development. The ability to produce complex parts and designs with AM is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, and companies like Fathom are leading the way in providing innovative solutions for their clients.
By combining multiple manufacturing technologies, including additive and traditional methods, Fathom is able to produce parts more efficiently and offer clients a range of options for their production needs. In just 27 days, Fathom produced 20,000 parts using 12 different manufacturing processes.
When customers come to them with unique requirements or an uncommon problem they are trying to solve, Fathom's team of experts evaluates the complexity of the parts to determine the most efficient way forward. For example, when parts would require a lot of tooling, Fathom will use additive technologies. However, when parts are simple and easier to produce with injection molding, engineers will opt for that instead.
This innovative approach, while unique in the industry, should be an inspiration to manufacturers looking to improve their processes and create more efficient production methods. By changing our mindset and thinking differently, we can unlock the full potential of additive manufacturing and leverage it to optimize production and provide cost-effective solutions.
Additive manufacturing has historically been viewed as a niche technology best used for prototyping. However, the industry is now facing an exciting new era of growth and transformation, with additive manufacturing poised to become a key player in mainstream production. As manufacturers overcome barriers of awareness, education and economics, AM is expected to revolutionize the supply chain and unlock new possibilities for product development.
While the journey towards widespread adoption of additive manufacturing is not without its challenges, the benefits are too significant to ignore. By combining additive and traditional manufacturing, companies can accelerate the product development process and create highly innovative and complex products that were previously impossible to assemble at scale. This requires a shift in mindset, but the rewards are enormous.
As Rich Stump emphasizes, additive manufacturing is not necessarily a competitor to traditional manufacturing, but rather an enabler. By incorporating additives into the supply chain, manufacturers can discover new value and create highly innovative products. As the industry continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, the future of additive manufacturing looks incredibly promising, with endless possibilities for growth and transformation.
Learn more about how additive manufacturing can be incorporated into traditional manufacturing processes on the latest episode of Implementing Additive Manufacturing and Traditional Manufacturing Processes — Special IMTS Edition with Rich Stump.