3D Printing Provides the Innovative Edge
It’s no longer a question of if 3D printing should be used for your business, but how. 3D printers and supplies are affordable for businesses large and small to take advantage of the additive technology known as 3D printing.
Your return on investment benefits from reduced development time, increased creativity and accuracy, and significant gains in efficiency for the entire product development cycle.
Here are just a few examples of how to put 3D printing to work for you:
- Create parts otherwise impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing techniques. And with less material waste. That’s why GE prints numerous parts and products, including jet engine parts for GE Aviation. 3D printing eliminates the need for dedicated tools and the time needed to change production line tooling, advancing the manufacturing process while decreasing costs.
- Rapid prototyping to implement design changes within hours rather than months to truly accelerate the innovation process. That’s how Nike raced ahead in their development of cleats. Nike not only uses 3D printing for prototyping cleat plates, but they plan to use 3D printing for the final product. Creativity and accuracy reach new levels with rapid prototyping because design enhancements based on tactile sensory feedback are possible.
- Transmit designs electronically to different sites for printing, avoiding the expense and time delay of shipping. That’s how NASA is using current and developing 3D printing technology to learn how to print food on deep space missions, build a moon base from local materials, and print tools for use on the ISS and future missions to Mars. On-demand takes on new meaning with the possibility of offsite 3D printers that create the product you need at the location you need it.
- Streamline manufacturing and speed up testing through scale model production. That’s why GM uses 3D printing to rapidly create scale model components, such as several versions of side mirrors, for aerodynamics efficiency testing. Ford, Tesla, Daimler AG and many others streamline their manufacturing process through the use of 3D printed components.
- Disrupt traditional supply chains with speed and efficiency. A typical supply chain for a product goes from product design to delivery to the customer. In the following graph is a simplified example of typical supply chain for a product. Like many U.S. products, it is manufactured in Asia, and then shipped and sold here in the states.
Now let look at how 3D printing and fabrication can disrupt this traditional process by keeping prototyping and other time consuming aspects of manufacturing at home
The simplification is possible, because of a unique characteristic of 3D printing, which is the ability to manufacture different designs without building a complete production line for each and every product. It opens up the doors for localized production facilities close to consumer concentrations.
On a smaller scale, consider 3D printing for creating a custom cast, prosthesis, teeth, or joint replacements. Or how about architectural models, glasses frames, and game pieces? What about your automotive business where custom car parts, missing interior knobs, or specific tools are needed?
Niche businesses are a natural for 3D printing applications. Consider an audio company making specialized speakers for yachts, or a delivery start-up needing a fleet of drones.
If your business hasn’t been mentioned, it’s only for lack of space. How can 3D printing move your business to the next level?
Contact our team to discuss your manufacturing process and how 3D printing can be used for your business.