3D printing is no longer a science fiction concept or a niche service. The technology has evolved rapidly and one day, sooner rather than later, it will be a common presence in many companies that operate in the production field. 3D printing will revolutionize production and allow businesses to save a lot of money and time while enjoying bigger profits.
Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing can be used to create a variety of products. You can create from clothes and shoes to spare parts for the automotive industry. It is used in an impressive range of industries and many designers and engineers are absolutely impressed with its ability to turn their ideas into models that can be touched and felt.
But why is 3D printing useful for your business? Here are our top 5 reasons:
1. 3D printing saves a lot of time
With 3D printing, your ideas will come to life faster than you’ve ever imagined. You can 3D print your concept the same day you have designed it. This significantly reduces the production time. Complex designs will be available to see and touch in just a few hours. If with traditional manufacturing techniques a prototype can be manufactured in a few weeks, with 3D printing you will be able to receive and analyze it in just a few hours from the moment it was designed. This way you will be able to stay ahead of the competition!
2. 3D printing reduces manufacturing costs
The cost of product manufacturing usually involves machine operation costs, material costs, and labor costs. A 3D printer consumes the same amount of power as a laptop. The material costs vary depending on the technology used. For example, desktop FDM printers need filament coils that you can buy with about $25 per kg. Material costs are indeed higher than the ones used by traditional manufacturing techniques but if you think that 3D printers only need one operator instead of several machinists and operators, thus reducing the labor costs to zero, you will see that having a 3D printer helps you save money. Moreover, prototyping injection mold tools are a lot more expensive than 3D printers.
3. 3D printing cuts down risks
Having a 3D printer allows you to verify a design before investing a lot of money in buying traditional molding tools. You can just 3D print your prototype as many times as you need to make sure it’s perfect and ready for mass-production without worrying that you will need to invest a fortune. 3D printers allow you to redesign and alter existing molds fast and without compromising your budget.
4. 3D printing allows your imagination to go wild
There’s no limit to your imagination when it comes to designing prototypes. 3D printing is perfect to bring your concepts to life. You will have to work within some limitations regarding the minimum size features that can be printed. However, when it comes to the design and digital art, the sky is the limit. In just a few hours, you can enliven the most complex ideas, concepts or inventions and customize them as you see fit. The device prints the components one layer at a time, so you will need no undercuts, draft angles or tool access.
5. 3D printing is sustainable
Sustainability is more and more important for production companies. 3D printing allows businesses to cut down the waste materials to a minimum. While manufacturing techniques, like turning or CNC milling, result in high volume of waste material, 3D printing uses only the necessary material to build a prototype. Every bit is carefully calculated and the waste is always minimum. Moreover, due to their technology, 3D printers are created around the world, and there’s no need for them to be shipped over long distances. This way, the shipping requirements are reduced and 3D printing has a positive impact on the environment. The footprint of an industrial additive manufacturing system is much smaller than of a traditional manufacturing site. At the same time, the ability to produce spare parts on site reduces significantly the carbon footprint.