How 3D Printing Is Changing the Manufacturing Industry

Even though many people think 3-D printing has been around only a few years, the technology has existed since the 1980’s. However, as with other types of technology, it took many years before it could be perfected and become accessible as well as affordable to businesses. Now that it is, it has become an essential part of today’s modern manufacturing industry. From cars and medical equipment to architecture and airplanes, 3-D printing has without a doubt revolutionized how manufacturers approach projects. If you are fascinated with the many aspects of 3-D printing and wonder just what kind of impact it has had on manufacturing, here are some fascinating details about this seemingly futuristic technology.

Greater Efficiency

If there is one thing all manufacturers strive for, it is greater efficiency. While there are many ways to go about achieving this goal, 3-D printing is leading the way. Whether a manufacturing company requires low-volume production of parts or instead demands high-volume production that can be done as quickly as possible, 3-D printing can be easily adapted to needs that may constantly change.

Design Flexibility

When engineers and industrial designers are trying to decide on the best way to create a product, they go through many design stages before the final product hits the market. But in years past, each stage of the design process would not only be time-consuming, but also costly. But as 3-D printing has become more affordable and easier to use, engineers and designers now have far more flexibility when deciding how to create various parts or products. Since a 3-D printer can quickly create a prototype, this gives designers the chance to perform various tests on items before moving on to the next stage of production. Thus, if problems are found, they can be easily corrected before being used on consumer items that may later need to be recalled.

 

Easy Implementation

 

Whether it is the aviation, automotive, medical, or other industries, it is easy to implement 3-D printing technology into virtually any type of manufacturing environment. As costs have lowered, the size of the equipment has also been greatly reduced. As a result, printers can now easily fit into offices, on manufacturing floors, and can even be mobile so that they can be taken from one location to another if needed. Because of this, it is now possible to introduce this technology into many more small businesses, allowing many startup businesses the opportunity to use this technology to grow their customer base.

 

On-Demand Manufacturing

 

For many companies, one source of their biggest financial losses is having a large inventory of products on hand that are not selling well. But as 3-D printing has now become more common within manufacturing companies, this problem can be solved by using on-demand manufacturing. When this is used, companies can manufacture parts or products only when they are actually ordered. This not only saves money for companies, but also frees up time, money, and space within buildings that can be put to better use, making the company far more efficient and competitive.

Creation of New Products

As 3-D printing becomes more widespread within manufacturing companies, it is allowing for innovation when creating new products. This has been especially true with medical manufacturers, who have been able to use the technology to create and make great improvements in such items as pacemakers, insulin pumps, and other devices. Along with this, 3-D printing is now also widely used in the production of prosthetic limbs, which has led to limbs that are more comfortable, lifelike, and able to let a person perform many more functions than before. In the years ahead, medical manufacturers believe the technology may also help them create 3-D internal organs, bones, and other items that can be transplanted into a person.

 

Due to it allowing companies to automate many manufacturing processes while receiving a greater return on investment (ROI), there is little doubt the technology is here to stay and will only become better in the coming years. As a result, more and more people will reap the benefits of 3-D printing.

Alex Hamilton