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ADDITIVE HYBRID TECHNOLOGY How additive hybrid technology is transforming the future of manufacturing

Jan 21, 2022

Today’s manufacturing landscape is rapidly evolving as new technologies hit the market, requiring modern manufacturers to adapt and capitalise on the latest opportunities if they wish to maintain a competitive advantage. By optimising production throughput and efficiency, additive hybrid technology is enabling domestic manufacturers to compete at the next level — effectively leveling the playing field for manufacturers of all sizes. The article explores the challenges and opportunities of hybrid manufacturing.

Hybrid technology combines the advantages of 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing with those of traditional CNC or subtractive, machining, enabling manufacturers to perform both operations on a single machine. Individually, each process has unique benefits, and together, they’re driving innovation in design and manufacturing.

Because additive hybrid offers myriad benefits, manufacturers across a wide range of industries are embracing the technology. “It lends itself to a number of different focus areas,” says John Harrison, Director – Additive Manufacturing, Phillips Machine Tools, “Anywhere there’s a part that’s pretty expensive to replace but capable of being repaired.” Before hybrid manufacturing, parts and components fabricated on an additive machine typically required significant post-processing to meet specifications, driving up lead times and costs. Now, harnessing the advantages of additive hybrid technology, manufacturers are increasing efficiency, cost effectiveness and throughput to take their capabilities to new heights.

Unprecedented demand, unparalleled growth

In recent years, demand for additive hybrid manufacturing has increased exponentially. While the market growth is largely due to the growing demand from the aerospace and healthcare industries, manufacturers across a variety of industries are adopting hybrid technology.

In 2019, the global additive hybrid manufacturing market size was $80.7 million. And experts forecast the market will reach an estimated value of $8.43 billion by 2027, growing at an average rate of 24.3% from 2020 to 2027. Companies & industries worldwide are enhancing traditional manufacturing processes with Additive Manufacturing, driving faster, more cost-effective production and in return, they’re experiencing significant growth. The tool, mould and die industry is a prime example.

Manufacturers are increasingly turning to hybrid technology to make or modify moulds because it speeds up the production process and produces better quality parts. As adoption rates continue to rise over the next several years, the industry is projected to grow at an annual rate of 14.4%.

Hybrid manufacturing delivers key advantages

  • Combines additive & subtractive capabilities in one machine

  • Facilitates easy operation with user-friendly features

  • Saves money by increasing operational efficiencies

  • Saves time with one-time part handling

  • Has a low material cost from using readily available welding wires for additive

  • Has a small footprint, which requires less floor space

  • Creates clean, streamlined processes

  • Allows for faster lead times

  • Enables all manufacturers to compete at the next level

With these proven benefits, what’s stopping manufacturers everywhere from implementing hybrid manufacturing? Several barriers make it challenging for companies to adopt the technology. Firstly, additive machines can be expensive, requiring high initial investment. Additionally, many hybrid solutions have a significant learning curve — requiring leadership and workers to acquire new skill sets and knowledge. And finally, many manufacturers are accustomed to using two different machines to perform additive and subtractive tasks, so changing to a single machine can be a big adjustment.

Switching from traditional manufacturing methods to hybrid requires a shift in mindset or an understanding that adopting additive technology is a key way to maintain a competitive advantage in an evolving market. Making the transition may require learning a few new skills. But with the right hybrid solution, one can broaden his/her manufacturing capabilities, drive business growth and set himself/herself apart from the competition — all without breaking the budget or having to navigate an entirely new system.

Creating novel capabilities across a range of industries

Additive hybrid technology is broadening the manufacturing capabilities of organisations within a diverse range of industries, including:

  • Aerospace

  • Defence

  • Education and research

  • Tool, mould and die

  • Automotive

  • Oil and gas

  • Medical

  • Mining

  • Repair facilities

Powering new manufacturing functions, additive hybrid allows manufacturers of all sizes to benefit from cutting-edge technology. With a hybrid model, one can perform a variety of capabilities on the same machine, maximising his/her resources and streamlining the production process.

Leading industry applications for hybrid technology

  1. Repairing parts, moulds and components

    Parts, moulds and components that are used and reused daily in the manufacturing process can wear down or even break over time. With additive hybrid, one can repair them quickly and easily, ensuring one’s back up and running in no time.

  2. Modifying parts to add new features

    Before hybrid was available, modifying parts would bring the manufacturing process to a halt. Now, by integrating hybrid technology into the shop, one can make modifications more efficiently, and in some cases, avoid the need to make a completely new part.

  3. Prototyping

    Creating prototypes can be a complex and time-consuming process. With additive hybrid, one can simplify and speed up the process by performing all the necessary steps on the same machine — making it easier to create and test multiple prototypes without maxing out resources.

  4. Printing to near net shape and finish

    Rather than removing material from a block, one can 3D print and finish expensive materials, such as titanium, to near net shape with additive hybrid technology — all from a single machine. This cuts down on material use, significantly improving the bottom line.

A new generation of manufacturing technology

By integrating the innovative laser-metal deposition technology of Meltio with the world-renowned CNC manufacturing technology of Haas, Phillips has created a hybrid solution unlike any other on the market: three machines in one with a small footprint, full access travels and the complete machining capabilities of Haas CNC — all at a great price point.

By allowing manufacturers to perform both additive and subtractive machine functions, hybrid technology makes for limitless possibilities:

  • 3D print a large range of materials with multiple laser power options

  • Print to near net shape and machine to final finish

  • Make repairs and add new features on parts

  • Quickly design and create prototypes to speed up time to market

  • Open new revenue streams by cost-effectively producing intricate parts

The difference is in the details

Designed for seamless integration and maintenance, Phillips Additive Hybrid solutions include:

  • Precise laser welding technology to expertly craft fine details

  • Wire-fed feedstock system for increased safety and durability

  • Familiar, user-friendly Haas controller interface

  • Leading value for an affordable price

Driving manufacturing success now and into the future

When it comes to manufacturing, the narrative has often illustrated that the best technology is only available to the largest, most financially successful companies in the industry. But what if one could get cutting-edge technology today? Additive hybrid machines are levelling the playing field, enabling manufacturers of all sizes to compete in the global marketplace with next-gen technology. Hybrid represents the future of manufacturing and to maintain competitive advantage, one must get ahead today.

Courtesy: Phillips Machine Tools

Image Gallery

  • Phillips Additive Hybrid integrated with a Haas CNC machine

  • Phillips Additive Hybrid adds material just where it is needed

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