The Engineer Q&A: additive manufacturing

Newspaper headlines regularly tell us that additive manufacturing, or “3D printing” as it’s popularly known, is going to transform the way goods are made. 

But is that really the case and, if so, how close are we exactly to this revolution? What sectors will see the biggest changes as additive manufacturing becomes commonplace? Will 3D printing’s impact biggest impact be to democratise manufacturing, or will it rather enable traditional companies to produce more complex and tailored products?

For the latest in our series of reader Q&As, we’ve lined up a panel of the UK’s leading experts on additive manufacturing:

Richard Hague, professor of innovative manufacturing at the University of Nottingham and director of the EPSRC Centre for Additive Manufacturing.

Geoff McFarland, group engineering director of Renishaw, which is developing both 3D printers and new products that can only be made using additive manufacturing such as medical devices.

Stephen Morgan of BAE Systems’ Advanced Technology Centre, who has been developing additive manufacturing techniques that could pave the way for 3D printing’s use in aircraft.

Phil Reeves, managing director of Econolyst, a UK consultancy specialising in additive manufacturing.

Comments are now closed. Thank you for your questions. We’ll publish the answers from the panel in the January edition of The Engineer.