You’ve seen them on the internet, in libraries and schools and maybe you even know someone who owns one. 3D Printers have changed the way the world and continue to provide many benefits for a number of industries. But how do they work?
Does additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, benefit the industrial market? Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, benefits the industrial market by reducing tooling costs, allowing for faster manufacturing, and eliminating the need for inventory.
How Additive Manufacturing Works
With additive manufacturing, objects are designed using computer-aided design software (or CAD software) and are then saved as .stl files which are then digitally sliced into ultra-thin layers. It is these layers that are extruded through a hot nozzle or print head and deposited onto the previous layer. The process is repeated layer by layer until a 3D object is formed.
There are several different materials used in additive manufacturing. Thermoplastics are the most common materials used. These include PET, PEEK, Nylon, ABS, Polycarbonate, etc. Other materials that are often used include metal, ceramic, rubber, and even bio-materials.
What Are the Benefits of Additive Manufacturing?
The benefits of additive manufacturing, particularly for the industrial space, are many!
Reduced Tooling Costs
Tooling cost is a major driver in the manufacturing industry. And the upfront cost can impede many low-volume manufacturing companies, where a significant amount of capital expenditure is required before the first unit is even produced. But with the lower tooling costs of additive manufacturing, low-volume manufacturers can finally enter the marketplace.
When the success of a business is won or lost based on speed to market, the ability to quickly manufacture goods is imperative. One sure-fire way to be one of the firsts to market is to leverage additive manufacturing to reduce lead time. With 3D-printing, the production time is reduced by weeks or even months.
No Need for On-Hand Inventory
While traditional manufacturing requires warehouses full of premade parts and products, additive manufacturing allows a business to have a virtual inventory. Part information is stored in the cloud via .stl files and can be printed on demand. This removes the need for warehouse space, saving businesses space, rent money, and piles of parts.
Additive marketing, or 3D printing, is the manufacturing process of the future. Because of its ease of use, quick turn-around, and relatively low cost, additive manufacturing (AKA 3D printing) is quickly becoming one of the go-to manufacturing processes for a wide variety of industries.
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