When people speak about pipe dreams they mean exactly that: near impossibilities that are reserved only for those with the pioneering spirit to achieve them. However, 3D printing is no pipe dream; it has become a reality that, just two decades ago, was only talked about with reference to a future time hundreds of years away. Using additive manufacturing techniques, the sequential layering of composite materials from 3D printer heads is an advanced manufacturing process that can reproduce an electronic 3 dimensional model in real form. The burning question on the minds of many is- how can 3D printing change pipe protection manufacturing.
Whoever said ‘the wheel could not be re-invented’ surely stands in shame, and so will anyone who believes that three dimensional printing has reached its peak. Additive pipe protection manufacturing allows for limitless innovation when it comes to the way pipes are designed to make them more durable. Whilst past manufacturing methods had limits as to what was possible, three dimensional manufacturing allows for designs that use methods that previously restricted the protective properties added to manufactured parts. Today, parts and shapes are now being designed with enhanced protective features that were considered either too heavy, costly, or simply impossible to assemble.
Take for example plastic materials like polyamide and nylon; which, when mixed with aluminum and used in powder form in the sintering process, provide for greater flexibility, durability, and strength to the resulting end product. Other industrial grade manufacturing materials include powder stainless steel –which can be printed into various pipe designs that are resistant to rusting- and powder cobalt derivatives, which were once hard to use in composite designs.
Not only does 3D printing extend the possibility of innovation, it is also a customizing tool for pipe designs that are meant for a specific use. Pipe protection that allows for specialized fitting needs reduces the headaches and risks of trying to force installations.