As a concept, 3D printing has been around since the mid-1940s but didn’t actually exist until much later in 1971. The idea was to provide a faster and much more efficient way of making things, so it was always meant to benefit manufacturing in one way or another. Today, the technology within 3D printing has proven to provide more than speed and efficiency. This is why a growing number of manufacturers are taking advantage of the many benefits of the technology. Here are just a few of those benefits and how 3D printing can help literally every stage within the manufacturing process.
Use within R&D
One of the most prevalent uses in manufacturing is in the R&D department when making prototypes of products within all stages of development. It’s a matter of using proprietary software to design a part or product which will then be sent to the printer. However, unlike traditional printers, you won’t get a two-dimensional illustration on paper. Instead, the 3D printer will produce the actual part or product. Instead of going through model after model until a working product can be realized, it’s a quick tweak in the software design until another prototype can be printed.
Immediate Production of Tools
When it comes to manufacturing a product that requires specific tools to produce or operate, there is no longer a need to batch order hundreds of welding fixtures, holding fixtures or even routing tools. A manufacturer can use a service such as https://www.rapidpsi.com/rapid-tooling/ to have as many printed as necessary for the current batch of products being run. The specifications will already be saved, so every time a new order comes in, you can have a new batch of tools printed, saving time, money and warehousing space.
Reduction in Waste
In the past, prototypes were often created by tool and die makers. They would cut the product, part, or tool from the desired material, leaving scraps of unused waste material. By printing the prototype to the exact specifications, there is no waste. Taking it one step farther, the same can be said of the manufacturing process. There is no waste because nothing is being cut but rather the final product is printed.
With all of the above in mind, 3D printing is an eco-friendly process simply because there is a reduction in waste. There is nothing to be sent to recycling or landfills. If you are looking for processes that will not harm the ecology, 3D printed products within the manufacturing sector are environmentally safe.
The final benefit within 3D printing is that it cost effective. With a minimum of labor and waste, the costs for production remain significantly lower than traditional means of developing and producing products. In fact, if you are looking for manufacturing processes that offer the highest ROI, 3D printed products and tools offer the biggest return on a smaller investment. In business, it’s all about your bottom line and that is the best advantage of all.