The potential of 3D printing is, no doubt, endless. Over the past couple of years, 3D printing has taken innovation to the next level by initiating dramatic changes in various industries. Be it primary applications for creating products for consumer usage or industrial implementation, the subject of 3D printing has always been a hotbed for discussions since its inception.
Prototyping has been made seamless and easy with 3D printing technology. Owing to the viability and benefits that this provides, 3D printing’s real potential lies with the manufacturing industry. And the future forecast in this realm shows promise.
In fact, research suggests that 3D printing will grow into a $4.8 million industry with three-fourth of its revenue being accounted for by the industrial applications.
The increasingly competitive environment of the manufacturing industry is going to fuel this emerging trend immensely. The implications of 3D printing are expected to revolutionize traditional methods of manufacturing and change the existing scenario for the better.
Rapid changes in 3D printing are poised to usher automation in the manufacturing industry. 3D technology can be implemented to create manufacturing materials that are of high complexity in a considerably less amount of time.
Apart from that, the materials used are no longer restricted to plastics and glass. The 3D technology can now be utilized to print objects using metal. For example, NASA had made a breakthrough in this by successfully printing a rocket engine injector using metallic powder. Such high-level of automation reduced the manufacturing time to 4 months, saving 75% of the time.
As 3D printing quickly reconfigures the manufacturing industry, it has the ability to help this industry become self-sufficient. Dyes, molds, additional parts and other raw materials can be printed easily.
Reducing Material Costs
Traditional manufacturing methods require extensive analysis, solid modeling and other complex production procedures to create the finished product. This is not only time-consuming, but expensive as well since excess material ends up becoming scrap. However, with the additive manufacturing aspect of 3D printing, the entire process becomes more precise with minimum material usage.
In addition, 3D printing provides the advantage of prototyping. These prototypes can be tested out at first. Consequently, any rectifications necessary can be identified easily and implemented in the final model. This helps in eliminating further mistakes, thus making the entire process far more effective while lowering costs of manufacturing.
Offering Repair and Maintenance Services
Servicing of products is one of the domains that many manufacturing businesses do not concentrate on. The entire focus of a manufacturing company lies with the production, while the repair and maintenance are usually provided separately. Apart from that, shipping repaired goods on time to customers located at remote sites is a major concern as well.
However, with 3D printing, this is no longer an issue. 3D printing solves this problem with the help of downloadable blueprints. With the help of this, spare parts can be stored digitally and if 3D printing technology is available at the location, these parts can be produced as and when the requirements for replacement arise.
Through such benefits, small companies will no longer need to worry about providing further support to consumers at distant locations. As a result, wide business networks can be set up without incurring further expenses.
Creating High-Tech Jobs
3D printing has taken a profound leap in the manufacturing industry with numerous companies taking up the initiative to employ the technology on large-scale manufacturing. In fact, 67% of manufacturers are already using this technology. As a result, the right skill sets are increasingly on demand to fill the positions that this technology has created.
Be it on an engineering level, or designing or even support level, 3D printing has been reshaping the job requirements of the manufacturing industry. Even though the usage of machinery may imply a decimation of the job market, but for every job lost, more than one job opportunity will be created. This is because, someone needs to man the machines, supervise production and handle distribution.
With increased adoption of 3D printing, costs of industrial printers have plummeted, increasing viability. With reduced expenses, businesses are expected to grow exponentially, thus creating learning opportunities for existing employees.
Even though there have been scores of skepticism over 3D printing, it trumps the utility card with its immense benefits. 3D printing continues to evolve with the risks associated with it and holds potential for transforming the manufacturing industry in leaps and bounds.