3D printing is also called rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing and rapid manufacturing. 

The long-term universal outlook for the mining industry is pretty much above the level. The economic growth will stretch with the demand of energy minerals and metals. 

The mining industry faces numerous challenges while shifting the mining operations to remote locations, searching for a living place for the workers, etc. All these operations are necessary, therefore the mining industry cannot go with the major changes. But Geospatial technologies have paced up the entire process.

In the last decade, the growth of 3D printing has stimulated increasing. 3D printing has turned out to be more efficient and cost-effective. One of the major reasons the mining industry has adopted this geospatial technology of rapid manufacturing is accelerated mining operations. The productivity of mining operations often slows down due to the unavailability of parts of essential mining equipment. 

Working of 3D Printing

3D printing advances a digital approach to manufacturing. On a layer by layer basis, it builds a solid object from a digital model. The approach of 3D printing involves the progressive layering of material into its ultimate structure. The 3D printer works this way – 

  1. 3D concept and design – A digital model is created by optimising the existing ones or simply creating new ones. Upload that file onto the system with all the design specifications. 
  2. 3D printer – The system will use its advanced printer based on the specified development requirements. 
  3. 3D printed product – Your model is ready.

Yes, it’s that easy!

There are several 3D printing technologies.

3D Printing Technologies

  1. Stereolithography Apparatus – In SLA, the material is hardened layer by layer by concentrating a beam of UV light on the surface of a vat. Liquid photocurable photopolymer fills this surface. 
  2. Selective Layer Sintering – This technology uses a later which melts small particle powders. These melted small particle powder solidifies to form a particular layer. It is similar to SLA.  
  3. Fused Deposition Modelling – This process extrudes powder. As the powder leaves the extrusion nozzle, it hardens forming layers.

The principles of all the technologies are the same even though the material and processes differ. All the technologies print layer-by-layer. 3D printers can develop anything of any size. 

Benefits of 3D Technology

  1. Increased Customizations – Now, mining quipments have the customized components. Customisation has increased the hopes of the miners. Also, one can store the digital copies of the products in their system making the replication process possible and easier. 
  2. 3D models – Develops physical models of mining operation easily. This helps to create geological as well as topological data. 
  3. 3D Mining Equipment – Now, all the spare parts of essential mining equipment are available through additive manufacturing. This has overcome the challenge of operational delays. 
  4. Energy-Efficient – Rapid prototyping is a more energy-efficient and material-efficient method. This reduces the wastage of raw material. 
  5. Conformal Cooling – This process has reduced the cycle time for injection moulding. Also, this decreases design time and mould production cost.

Additive manufacturing is evolving. It helps exclusively in the manufacturing sector. It introduces the benefits of minimal setup times, reduced wastage and minimal usage of tooling. Rapid printing guarantees the printing of archaic spare parts where the volume doesn’t warrant the production line. 

Barriers of Additive Manufacturing

  1. It’s necessary to determine the product quality and safety.
  2. The production cost and speed must be lowered. This includes labour and raw materials. 
  3. Complex input and range limit the practical applications within mining. 

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