Today, almost everything can be made with the help of 3D printers. From necessities such as houses and women’s cosmetics to more complex technologies such as self-driving cars and bionic arms, 3D printing has made it possible to improve product design and streamline production.
For designers and manufacturers, this means cutting down time, expenses and impediments to enhancing a product.
The Advantages of 3D printing
3D printing allows for the quick and accurate delivery of designs from a functional material. For many businesses, this translates to the following benefits:
Speed is one of the main advantages of 3D printing. With traditional manufacturing processes, it would take days or weeks to receive a prototype. Having your own 3D printer cuts this down to a few hours. The fast and cost-effective production of prototypes also makes it easier and faster to verify and develop design ideas.
For many products, 3D printing simplifies multiple manufacturing processes into three stages: design, 3D print then installation. With 3D printing, you finalise the CAD design, upload the design to the 3D printer and wait for the product to be completed in a matter of hours.
On the other hand, standard manufacturing processes require numerous machines and various processes such as cutting, welding and polishing.
Significantly Lower Costs
3D printing cuts design costs, machine operation costs and labour costs.
As designers are able to easily create prototypes, they can quickly test their ideas and discover what doesn’t work. 3D printing does not eliminate design failures, but it makes it more cost-effective to create or alter a prototype rather than repeatedly investing in moulds.
With 3D printing, machine operation is the lowest contributor to total manufacture cost. Using desktop 3D printers, you can create prototypes or objects with the same amount of power a standard computer uses. Industrial 3D printers may use a great amount of energy but its ability to create complex geometries eliminates the need for modifying a machine or hiring or procuring a second machine. This results in higher efficiency and shorter turnaround times.
Labour costs are also significantly reduced as most 3D printers require only one operator and most of the labour costs won’t come in until post-processing. Traditional manufacturing, on the other hand, requires numerous highly skilled machinists throughout the manufacturing process.
Lower the Chances of Errors
Investing in 3D printing mitigates the risk of errors during the prototyping process. Creators can verify a design before investing in moulding tools and it is far cheaper to modify a 3D prototype than to alter or redesign an existing mould.
3D printing also lowers the chances of errors by enabling clear communication between the designers and manufacturers. Conceptual images have helped produce the majority of the products we are using in our day-to-day life, but providing manufacturers of what the product ought to be from every angle eliminates any risk of ambiguity. This level of clarity in communication extends to clients and designers, brands and investors and more.
More Effective Market Tests
3D printing allows for the quick and cost-effective way of creating prototypes and receiving market feedback. You can have an FGD or unveil your prototype at a trade show and allow your target market to get a feel of what your design offers. 3D printing also enables creators to gain the buy-in of investors or raise capital by pre-selling on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
Freedom from Current Manufacturing Machine’s Limitations
Standard machines have limited product design. They can only create shapes they have been configured to do and often require extensions or modifications to create components that are not typically created. With 3D printing, as the machine constructs a component layer by layer, designers can design products that have new or complex geometries. Whether you need square holes to body-specific hearing aids, 3D printing can create it. 3D printing also eliminates the need to consider factors such as draft angles, tool access and undercut, making designing easier.
Improve Your Business’ Sustainability Practices
3D Printers have paved a way for the easier adaptation of additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is a process that goes against the grain of traditional or subtractive manufacturing processes such as CNC milling or turning. Unlike subtractive manufacturing where the process starts with a block of raw material which is then significantly cut to the shape and size required, 3D printing builds a component from scratch. This means that almost only the materials needed are used, minimising waste.
Since the entry of 3D printers in the mainstream market, 3D printers have become relatively more accessible. 3D printer manufacturers and suppliers in your area can be easily found online. There are also 3D printer models that are made for industrial use and are significantly more accessible in price than the earlier types.
Unlike 30 years or 10 years ago where only a small segment of the manufacturing industry can afford to procure and operate 3D printers, a vast range of industries now are actively relying on 3D Printers for their operations.
Recently, the global 3D market has been greatly increasing in size. From 2013-2015, the global 3D printer market doubled in size from a value of 2.5 billion USD (1.90 billion GBP) to 5.17 billion USD (3.92 billion GBP).
Setting Up Your In-house 3D Printing Facility
3D printers have so many applications. From creating educational materials for schools to 3D printing spare parts for satellites, almost any business or organisation can benefit from having a 3D printer. If you’re considering setting up your own 3D-printing facility, you’ve come to the right place.
RAM Peripherals LTD is Europe’s leading professional CD and DVD duplicators and printers supplier. We are an official 3D Printing Partner of Makerbot, Ultimaker and Craftbot. We have years of experience providing businesses in various sectors with comprehensive printing solutions and are well positioned to help businesses that wish to start 3D printing in-house.
Apart from world-class products, we provide clients with comprehensive technical backup and support. Our sales team have expansive product and industry knowledge while our engineering team offer technical support.
For enquiries or scheduling of product demonstrations, call us on +44 (0)20 8 543 9696.