There is no comparable process that has the possibilities of metal printing. Where CNC and other means of production fail, this process is versatile and reliable for complex structures. It is now being used in many forms of transportation, from trains, planes to space travel. Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne puts a focus on the development and utilization of this process in his Swiss Advanced Manufacturing Center.
Both selective laser melting (SLM) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) produce parts via the same method as SLS with the main difference being that SLM and DMLS are used in the production of metal parts. SLM is used for producing pure metal parts while DMLS can also print with some alloys. Generally, unlike SLS, SLM and DMLS also require support to be inclu- ded to compensate for the high residual stresses generated during the build process, helping to limit the likelihood of distortion occurring. DMLS is the most well established metal AM process with the largest installed base.
PBF technologies offer a lot of design freedom (typically no need for support) enabling complex geometries to easily be built. Parts typically possess high strength and stiffness with a large range of post-processing methods available me- aning that often PBF is used to manufacture end parts. The limitations of PBF often involve surface finish (surface po- rosity and roughness), part shrinkage or distortion and the challenges associated with powder handling and disposal.