IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


13th May, 2024 Science and Technology

Source: IndianExpress

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended 


  • On May 9, 2024, ISRO successfully tested a liquid rocket engine, PS4, for the fourth stage of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), manufactured using additive manufacturing technology, commonly known as 3D printing.
  • This advancement showcases ISRO's commitment to innovation and efficiency in space technology.


  • 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that constructs three-dimensional objects layer by layer using computer-created designs.
  • Designers create a 3D model of the object using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, which is then sent to a 3D printer. The printer builds the object layer by layer, stacking materials such as plastic, composites, or bio-materials to form the final product.
  • Unlike subtractive manufacturing, where material is removed from a solid block to create an object (e.g., sculpting), 3D printing adds material layer by layer to form the desired shape.

Advantages of 3D Printing

  • Complexity: 3D printing enables the creation of intricate and complex shapes that would be challenging or impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods.
  • Efficiency: By eliminating the need for multiple parts and weld joints, 3D printing reduces material waste and production time.
  • Customization: It allows for customized designs and adaptations, catering to specific requirements with minimal adjustments.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Despite initial setup costs, 3D printing can be cost-effective for small to medium-scale production runs, especially when considering savings in material and labor.

Application in ISRO's PS4 Engine

  • Redesign: ISRO redesigned the PS4 engine for production using 3D printing technology.
  • Simplification: By leveraging 3D printing, ISRO reduced the number of parts in the engine from 14 to a single piece, eliminating 19 weld joints.
  • Material Savings: The use of 3D printing saved 97% of raw material compared to traditional manufacturing methods.
  • Time Efficiency: Overall production time was reduced by 60%, showcasing the efficiency gains achieved through additive manufacturing.

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Q.  Discuss the significance of additive manufacturing, particularly 3D printing, in the context of industrial development and innovation. Highlight its potential impact on various sectors, challenges, and future prospects.  (150 words)