What is the future of 3D printing?

3D printing has been around for decades, and only in recent years has it seen a period of rapid development. Before that, there was still a lot of skepticism about 3D printing. Now, 3D printing has taken great strides forward and is likely to become an important pillar in manufacturing in the future.

Improve efficiency to achieve mass production

When 3D printing began, it was mainly used to make various kinds of prototypes, and until today, it is still the biggest use of 3D printing.

Then, 3D printing gradually expanded to production line fixtures, medical models (especially orthopedics), aerospace parts and many other fields. It is easy to find out that the cost-effectiveness is tied to the number of parts when several processes can achieve part performance. When the number of parts is less than a certain number, 3D printing is cost effective (individual parts cost less).  When  the number of parts is greater than a certain number, injection molding, casting, and other manufacturing processes that require the use of molds are cost effective.

Nowadays, as the efficiency of 3D printing increases, 3D printing is becoming more and more cost-effective. Some parts that are produced in small quantities are already using 3D printing processes.

Making the Supply Chain More Resilient Through Digitization

In the past years, manufacturing has used labor-intensive methods in order to achieve cost efficiencies. Cost efficiencies were achieved by concentrating materials in one place for mass production.

However, for 3D printing, there is no difference in the cost effectiveness of intensive labor and decentralized labor, if you count the cost of transporting materials, decentralized labor is rather more cost-effective.

And that, this allows the supply chain to be flexibly deployed around the world based on factors such as the origin of raw materials and market demand. It also allows for a significant reduction in stockpile inventory and on-demand production. Experts predict that an inventory system based on 3D printing can reduce inventory by 90%.

Offering Greater Flexibility and Customized Designs

With the improvement of living standards, consumers' demand for customized products is increasing year by year, which to meet their personal tastes and preferences.

Personalization and customization can be easily achieved with the low-volume production capabilities of 3D printing. 3D printing provides brands with greater flexibility in responsive design. Without having to make advanced market forecasts, manufacturers can produce small batches and go to market directly, allowing designers to adjust product designs based on customer feedback.

The Future of 3D Printing is all about Materials

3D models, 3D printers, and materials, are three elements of 3D printing. 3D printing has entered a period of rapid development for many years, but has not yet to achieve a real explosion. The limitation mainly comes from two aspects, one is the printing speed of 3D printers, the other is the type of material. At present, the types of materials that can be 3D printed are still limited, and many of these materials are still unable to meet the mechanical properties of industry products, and can only be used to make prototypes.

If there is any kind of plastic-like material that is suitable for 3D printing and can achieve the performance of current plastic products, then it is likely to lead 3D printing to achieve a breakthrough.

Creating a More Sustainable Future with 3D Printing

3D printing has the lowest material loss of any process available. Aside from reducing waste, 3D printing also conserves energy, with fewer steps compared to CNC processes. Making the same part, 3D printing uses roughly half the energy of CNC.

Additionally, 3D printing can reduce transportation costs and inventory costs if supply chain influences are in place, which leads to a more sustainable future.

Now the technical capabilities are constantly updated, technology and equipment have been greatly improved, because only continuous progress will not be eliminated by society. And now it is not just 3D printing processing and 3D printing processing services, can bring greater benefits to enterprises. Therefore, what are the advantages of 3D printing?

 1. No additional costs for manufacturing cluttered objects.

In terms of traditional production, the messier the object shape, the higher the production cost. With 3D printers, there is no added cost to manufacture objects with messy shapes. It doesn't take any more time, skill or cost to make a gorgeous object from a cluttered shape than it does to print a simple box. Making messy items at no additional cost will break traditional pricing forms and change the way we calculate production costs.

 2. Product diversification does not increase costs.

3D printers can print many shapes and make different shapes every time like a craftsman. Traditional manufacturing equipment is less versatile and limited in shape and variety. 3D printing saves the cost of training craftsmen or buying new equipment,  and all a 3D printer needs is a different digital blueprint and a new batch of raw materials.

 3. No assembly required.

Stereographic printing allows for the integration of parts. Traditional mass production is based on assembly lines in which machines produce identical parts that are then assembled by robots or workers. The more components a product has, the more time and cost it takes to assemble it. 3D printers can print both doors and support hinges without the need for assembly by manufacturing in layers. Eliminating assembly shortens the supply chain, saving labor and transportation costs. The shorter the supply chain, the less contamination.

Overall, 3D printing technology as a major change in the traditional manufacturing industry, but also to make up for some of its disadvantages, is the future with a promising technology equipment.

What is the future of 3D printing?
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