Manufacturing AUTOMATION

PODCAST: Reducing metal 3D printing costs for manufacturers

February 23, 2021
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Photos courtesy Diana Facchini, NRC (left) and Mihaela Vlasea, University of Waterloo (right)

Additive manufacturing (AM) – also known as 3D printing – is increasingly being used to produce strong, complex, custom parts made of metal.

But due to the high costs of metal powders and the machine tools required to print them, the metal 3D printing process is currently largely limited to low-volume parts.

A seven-year partnership between the University of Waterloo’s Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (MSAM) and the National Research Council (NRC) is aiming to reduce the cost of metal additive manufacturing for manufacturers.

This episode of Machine Language features an interview with Mihaela Vlasea, an assistant professor at the MSAM, and Diana Facchini, team leader at the NRC’s new facility in Mississauga, Ont., who discuss the collaboration and walk through the challenges and benefits of production with 3D printing.

“When considering scalability, three general challenges come to mind specifically for manufacturers – the speed at which parts are fabricated, the size of parts that can be produced, and process quality,” says Vlasea in the episode.

“When considering costs, AM tech becomes a viable production option only when there is a competitive advantage to using such technologies when compared to conventional manufacturing.”

Listen to the episode below!

Machine Language: The Podcast covers the latest news, technologies and trends in industrial automation for the manufacturing market through interviews with industry experts.

Topics are related to automation and machinery, including safety integration, robotics and sensors, motion control, software solutions, Industry 4.0 and the IIoT, cybersecurity and networking, and artificial intelligence.

Find all of our episodes on MA’s Podcasts page or on Annex Business Media’s site, as well as on Annex Business Media’s SoundCloud and iTunes accounts.

If you have an idea for a Machine Language podcast episode, email host Kristina Urquhart at