Benefits of 3D Printing Technology
Many companies have embraced 3D printing. Others have plans to introduce the technology and replace traditional subtract manufacturing. As a matter of fact, recent
shows that over 70 percent manufacturers have now adopted 3D printing. Additionally, over 50 percent expect 3D printing technology to be used for high volume product development, and about 22 percent others estimate that its effects on supply chains will become even more disruptive.
A 2015 report by Worthless Associates, a leading 3D printing analyst firm, estimated an annual 31 percent growth in the 3D printing industry between 2014 and 2020. In 2014, the 3D print industry produced approximately $4 billion global revenue. In 2016, over 275,000 3d printer worldwide according to Wohler’s yearly report. Projected growth shows that 3D printing will ultimately generate more than $21 billion in revenue across the globe.
Using 3d printing Technology can provide numerous benefits both for individuals and businesses alike. Here are ten significant benefits that 3D printing technology provides:
1. Faster Production
3D printing is quicker than conventional manufacturing including injection molds and subtractive production. Think the speed of a sports car versus the speed of a horse cart. Both will reach their destination, but the time difference is significantly huge. From a prototype to a final product, 3D printing tests ideas and designs quickly.
Faster design and prototype production means more time to iterate the prototype and find product market fit before competitors. 3D printing production takes just hours. Conversely, testing ideas and designs with conventional manufacturing methods can take up days, if not several weeks.
2. Easily Accessible
3D printing has been around for decades but it really did not take off until 2010. The explosion of 3D printing interests has brought easier to use software and hardware to consumers as more competition has entered the space. It’s never been easiar to learn the technology and you can incorporate it in a matter of days into your production cycle.
3. Better Quality
Traditional manufacturing methods can easily result in poor designs, and therefore poor quality prototypes. Imagine a scenario where someone wants to bake a cake by combining all the ingredients together, mixing them up, and putting them in the oven to cook. If the elements did not mix well, the cake will have issues such as air bubbles or a failure to cook thoroughly. That is how subtractive or injection molds can sometimes be. You are not assured of quality 100 percent of the time. 3D printing allows the step-by-step assembly of the object, which guarantees enhanced designs and eventually better quality objects.
4. Tangible Design and Product Testing
There’s no way seeing a product on the screen or virtually can compare to the actual feel of a prototype. 3D printing offers that benefit. It is possible to experience the touch and feel of the product prototype to physically test it and find flaws in the design. If a problem is found, you can modify the CAD file and print out a new version by the next day.
Labor costs play a huge role in determining the amount of money to be spent in developing a prototype. Traditional prototyping methodologies including production runs and injection mold are costly as they require a lot of human labor. Labor costs are also very high with conventional subtractive manufacturing. You need experienced machine operators and technicians to handle the production. Also, you have to pay these laborers and use expensive machinery. With 3D printing, however, labor can be as little as one person issuing a print command.
6. Creative Designs and Customization Freedom
Traditional manufacturing techniques are good at creating millions of copies of the same thing. It results in same dull and boring designs without the capacity to be improved much. Making each design unique with these techniques is extraordinarily hard.
3D printing allows for endless personalization, which makes it much simpler to accommodate personal touches that are requested from customers. Your imagination is the only limitation. You can make a crown that is precisely engineered to fit in someone’s mouth for example. This cuts down on the number of visits that a patient needs to make sure they have a properly fitting crown.
7. Unlimited Shapes and Geometry
Old methods of manufacturing rely on molds and cutting technologies to generate the desired shapes. Designing geometrically complex shapes can be hard and expensive with this technology. 3D printing takes on this challenge with ease and there’s not much the technology can’t do with the proper support material.
8. Can Implement Assorted Raw Materials
Product designers have to keenly calculate their steps when it comes to materials to use with either subtractive or injection mold manufacturing. Mass manufacturing doesn’t support the blending of raw materials as it can be expensive. Furthermore, combining chemical and physical elements is complicated. 3D printing easily accommodates a diverse range of raw material including glass, metal, paper, ceramics, biomaterial, silver, etc.
9. Less Waste Production
CNC cutting and injection molding result in a lot of wasted resources. Both involve the removal of materials from solid blocks. Unlike these two, 3D printing only uses material that is needed to create a prototype part – no more, no less. Additionally, reusing the materials from a 3D print is relatively straight forward. As a result, additive manufacturing creates very little waste, and saves a company a lot of money.
10. Risk Reduction
When it comes to product manufacturing, a good designer knows that proper design verification is crucial before investing in an expensive molding tool. 3D printing technology enables product designers to verify product prototypes before starting out on substantial manufacturing investments that can sometimes be disastrous.
3D printing enables you to turn a concept into reality faster than you can imagine. Products are built quickly and cheaply. The technology will no doubt continue to transform every industry, changing the way we work and live in future.
Advantages of 3D printing
A1. Less machine, material and labour costs
For any business, costs are important and one of the advantages of 3D printing is that it will help to bring costs down. The costs are split into three different categories known as Machine Operation Costs, Labour Costs and Material Costs.
A. Machine costs
Machine operation costs play a very small part in the overall cost of the manufacturing process. While the energy required to create parts in an industrial environment can prove to be high, the ability to develop and create complex parts and products in one step creates an increased level of efficiency and saves on time. Therefore, the cost of running the machines is offset by the savings made during the manufacturing process.
B. Labour costs
One of the good points of 3D printing is the fact that labour costs are kept low. Unlike traditional manufacturing where many different people may be required to operate a number of machines or a production line is required to piece together the product, 3D printing removes this. Each 3D printer will require an operator to start the machine before it begins an automated process of creating the uploaded design. Therefore, the labour costs are significantly lower as there is no need for skilled machinists or operators to form part of the process.
One of our customers said about the advantages of 3D printing: “On average it takes 2-3 design iterations before a product design is finalized for production. This can severely impact time to market, with up to an additional 30 business days added in. The cost of the 3D printed model costs less as, without any manual labor, it only takes 2-4 hours to create a model. You can read more here about the advantages of 3D printing for Orto+.
C. Material costs
As this is a relatively new technology that is gaining momentum, the material cost can still remain high. However, the range of materials is growing and this makes it possible for the price to decrease over time. But, in the same way as the machine operation costs, in comparison to traditional methods, the overall cost is a lot lower.
It is clear by now that one of the advantages of 3D printing is that it allows for the creation of prototypes that authenticate form and fit and most of all, the costs are a lot cheaper than those associated with other manufacturing methods.
Along with this, the cost of complexity does not change. Creating complex mechanical products or parts requires skill and precision and that results in an increase in cost. However, 3D printing does not require any additional costs for complex parts as the parts can be designed prior to being uploaded for printing and are then sent for creation in one simple process.