Low-cost sampling and design freedom
Additive manufacturing enables great flexibility and design freedom. In other manufacturing processes such as milling, production costs are closely linked to the complexity of the part. Additive manufacturing, on the other hand, is perfect for low-cost production as well as small and (very) large industrialization, because the complexity of the part has limited or no influence on manufacturing time and costs. Design changes can be implemented quickly and at low cost.
Accelerating lead time
In every single high precision metal process, a mold (in some industries referred to as a die or a mandrel) needs to be made. Time and cost to create this mold vary per technology. In stamping, for example, it may take up to months to build a die. In CNC Punching, a die is available within days to weeks. In Electroforming, a mandrel can be ready within hours. Needless to say, reduced lead time from several months to several days will reduce costs significantly.
Less material waste
Unlike subtractive methods like chemical etching, metal objects are built up atom by atom when using additive manufacturing. This means you use almost every piece of metal with almost zero waste of material. Reduced material wastage with additive manufacturing is of essential importance in cost reduction.
Lower assembly costs
In additive manufacturing, the complex form of component parts can be a single piece. It may replace something that is currently — with conventional high precision metal forming techniques — an assembly of multiple pieces. All the extra features that are required for the assembly, such as fasteners, brazing or welding, can be eliminated when using additive manufacturing.