Cutting edge benefits of 3d printing in the mining industry
3D printing technology has gained rapid speed in the demanding mining industry. The technology that already benefits the automobile, oil and gas, medical, aerospace and space industries is now ready to sweep in the mining sector.
Custom 3d printing can transform the mining industry in multiple ways with its on-demand offering to drive efficiency. This technology can streamline several complex mining tasks and speed up the overall process. On this note, let’s check out how companies can grow using 3d print on demand services:
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Mining companies spend billions of dollars to store massive inventories in remote areas. By using online 3d printing services, companies can optimize the warehousing space and reduce storage cost, which is further added to boost the bottom line. Moreover, it enables on-site supply chain optimization by reducing significant inventory levels and transportation costs while increasing product life cycle management.
Companies can digitize their inventory and store as many needed parts in digital CAD files. This advantage will allow the mine to print as many components as needed rather than holding a large inventory. In addition, companies can order 3d prints with a shorter turnaround time than conventional manufacturing.
Easy spare parts replication
Using 3d printing and 3d scanning technology, companies can quickly reproduce or replicate spare parts. This ability will reduce manufacturing risks and improve the overall business performance. Moreover, it reduces downtime and allows on-site workers to complete the job faster.
In outdoor working conditions, the entire production comes to a halt due to machinery breakdown. In addition, the team can’t resume the work until the damaged spare part is replaced with the new one. 3d printing speeds up this process and allows mineworkers to continue work without waiting for the damaged part. In this way, companies can get back their cash flow and complete production fast. In addition, engineers can quickly scan the damaged part and prepare a CAD file to prepare 3d printed products.
Complex geometric prototyping
Using a 3d prototyping service, companies can build and test complex models and designs. These days, 3d printing services provide designers with an opportunity to create almost any geometrical shape with the help of CAD software.
In addition, one of the key benefits of additive technology is virtual testing. Companies can use this technology to design a virtual model on computer-aided design (CAD) software for testing various parts of products before they are manufactured on a mass scale. For instance, engineers can optimize an older spare part’s design and create a modified prototype to boost the overall efficiency. As a result, it helps in faster decision-making and reduces time to market.
This technology can help in designing products faster with the help of virtual trial simulation using 3D software. As a result, it shortens the product development cycle, which saves companies money. Moreover, it allows designers to fine-tune designs, test them virtually for durability before producing parts out of additive machines.
Cost-effective drone manufacturing
Drones play a vital role in the mining industry as they help in tailings dam management, stockpile management, and many more operations. By using online 3d printing services, companies can bring down their drone manufacturing cost.
With the latest 3d print solution, it has become possible to print certain parts of drones and ensure higher operational time without any delay. In this way, mining companies can save time and money by using 3d printing to produce spare parts. In addition, it means the drone is ready for its next mission earlier than ever with no downtime. Some critical operations of drones in the mining industry are health monitoring of tailings dams & seeing the minerals in the ground before digging it up to avoid any unexpected outcome.
Advanced drilling mechanisms
There are several 3d printing designs that can outperform traditional drilling mechanisms. For instance, these machines are more efficient than conventional ones if the depth and speed of drilling are increased. In addition, companies can use an advanced 3d print service for manufacturing individual parts of these drillers. This technology allows designing complex structures with intricate geometries and ensures higher durability.
Another example is Planetary Mixer Drives (PMD) – a mechanism used in the smelting furnace industry that rotates at high speeds. Traditional PMDs manufactured using cast iron often fail due to wear and tear and lack of ductility and malleability after several uses. However, additive manufacturing has made it possible to print these drives with advanced metals – 3d printed tungsten carbide, which offers much higher performance.
Print personalized PPEs
Mining is among the top risk-surrounded industries, and the workers need higher safety to work efficiently. Unfortunately, conventional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is costly and often fails to keep the workers safe while handling harsh environments.
3D printing can be used in mining to produce customized PPEs giving company employees a new level of safety with little cost. In addition, it allows designing heat-resistant gloves using 3d printed materials at minimal cost that protect the hands from high temperatures prevailing in this sector.
In addition, companies can use 3d rapid prototyping services for testing and manufacturing flame-retardant overalls and shoes made from materials such as polyamide and polylactic acid (PLA). These parts help shield the body against harmful gases, chemicals and other elements which could damage critical organs.
Even small mining companies can use 3d print online services
Additive manufacturing is not only for large-scale organizations. As several companies offer affordable 3d printing services, small mining companies can also take advantage of it. These days, several services provide on-site 3d printing solutions. Such companies can upload the CAD file and receive the print at their sites quickly after placing orders.
Be it OEMs, full-fledged mining companies, or logistics agencies; additive manufacturing can offer multiple benefits to all those willing to explore this technology.
Future of 3d printing in the mining industry
Concerning the growing number of benefits additive manufacturing offers in this industry, it is safe to predict that this segment will grow exponentially. Mining companies have started taking a keen interest in 3d printing for designing innovative products and processes in mining works.
In addition, the government’s efforts to encourage investments in the mining sector would also add fuel to the widespread adoption of this technology. As additive manufacturing becomes more accessible, the overall 3d printing cost will go down in the future. As a result, companies can quickly get 3d printing quotes and get started with transforming their mining operations to drive higher productivity.