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Robust 3D Printing in Manufacturing: All You Need to Know

3D printing technology is transforming the manufacturing industry in a 360° manner. From designing to prototyping, and large-scale production, this advancement drives productivity. This technology is changing how the B2B manufacturing domain works. This technology offers higher flexibility and agility across every production stage; it gradually replaces the conventional setups.

Table of Contents:

  1. What Is 3D Printing Technology?
  2. Progressive Evolution Of 3D Manufacturing
  3. Latest 3D Printing Trends
  4. Integrating 3D Printing with Traditional Manufacturing
  5. Driving Agility in The Manufacturing Agility

What Is 3D Printing Technology?

3D printing technology or additive manufacturing is making three-dimensional solid objects by successive layers of material deposition. This technology can create an object in an additive fashion, layer by layer. It means you can build up the structure of your model from scratch rather than taking it down into pieces.
3D printing machinery receives the instructions for each layer from 3D computer-aided design (CAD) models. The 3D printers convert this information into physical forms using various materials like plastics, steel, titanium alloys, and many more depending upon requirements. Engineers use 3d printing technology for prototyping or functional testing before full-fledged mass production commences.

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3D printing technology offers a significant advantage as it can be used for both prototyping and production. During prototyping, engineers can easily visualize and test designs before producing them in large numbers. Manufacturers have the flexibility to switch from quick prototyping to full-scale production within no time.

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3d printing

Progressive Evolution Of 3D Manufacturing

Earlier 3d printing was used for creating simple, single-material objects. As this technology advanced, the engineers started to print with multi-materials and in full colour. It ultimately led to the creation of complex shapes that are complex to produce through traditional means.

As we progress towards Industry 4.0 advancements, 3d printing is playing a revolutionary role. Today, 3d printing is no longer only limited to creating static models. Now, engineers use industrial 3D manufacturing to create high-performance prototypes and end-use parts.

3d printing is helping manufacturers in designing products that are fit for both consumer and industrial use. With the help of this 3d printing, companies can quickly develop prototypes for testing, which later can be demonstrated through prototyping platforms. From design to prototyping to production, 3d printing in the manufacturing process delivers promising results.

Now, companies are leveraging 3D printing technology for on-demand digital manufacturing. With this, business owners can cut down their logistics and warehouse overheads.

Latest 3D Printing Trends

Be it automotive or aerospace; companies are leveraging 3D printing for manufacturing to its fullest potential. The use of 3d printing is increasing across all manufacturing sectors – aerospace, defence, automotive, medical and dental, jewellery and precious metals, mould and tooling and finally, general manufacturing.

Light-Weight Parts

The latest trend in this domain is the creation of lightweight parts that deliver the highest level of performance. 3D printed parts are lightweight and more economical than conventionally manufactured components. Whether you require a few functional prototypes or a large number of end-use production parts, 3D printing can deliver.

Earlier manufacturers were sceptical about adopting this technology as it was not reliable enough for mass production needs. But now, the scenario has changed as additive manufacturing technologies such as selective laser melting (SLM) have advanced quite a lot.

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On-Demand Manufacturing

Another trend that is disrupting the industry using 3d printing is on-demand manufacturing. This technology has enabled companies to achieve high levels of customization at reduced costs. Now companies are delivering products that cater to specific consumer preferences and needs. In addition, as they don’t need to produce parts in bulk and store in warehouses, it’s bringing higher agility.

Manufacturers can now produce high-quality parts at reduced cost without worrying about MOQ (minimum order quantity) restrictions.

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Integrating 3D Printing with Traditional Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is a disruptive and revolutionary technology for manufacturers. Manufacturers can combine 3d printed components and parts made from conventional methods like CNC machining to create high-performance end-use components. These parts can withstand extreme conditions and are highly cost-effective. This integration is enhancing the design possibilities of engineers like never before.

Manufacturers can use 3d printing for effective rapid prototyping. It increases the speed of the product development cycle. Today, engineers can quickly iterate with their designs and test for performance after each iteration. Thus, manufacturers can identify the problem areas and develop a solution that delivers superior results.

Along with small batch production, additive manufacturing can also handle large-scale productions. Manufacturers can use this technology for mass production as it delivers cost-effective and lightweight components.3d printing in manufacturing offers a direct impact on the bottom line. It is because manufacturers now have access to lower total landed costs (TLC). TLC is the sum of all costs associated with bringing any product from its point of origin to the hands of consumers or users. 3D printing enables companies to get more sophisticated parts without adding too much to their overhead.

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For example, if you are manufacturing car components by hand each time, you will incur unnecessary labour costs. At the same time, additive manufacturing technologies eliminate these extra charges. The additional savings can directly contribute to business savings or be invested in products that offer higher ROI.

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Driving Agility in The Manufacturing Agility

Industry 4.0. and 3D printing go hand-in-hand, and it’s driving agility across the industry seamlessly. The fourth industrial revolution is here, and it’s disrupting traditional manufacturing. Manufacturers who adopt new technologies like 3D printing can achieve higher levels of efficiency, reduce downtimes and increase productivity.
Traditional manufacturing processes often result in the creation of bulky components. They prevent designers from achieving desired aesthetics. Thus, they must consider the limitations imposed by conventional manufacturing methods. But with 3D printing, designers have complete freedom to take their designs to a whole new level and drive agility.

The technology is already being used in the mass production of consumer goods at several brands. It’s helping them gain a competitive edge over others by driving agility and delivering cost savings. In addition, as this technology offers seamless design communication, the entire process becomes faster.

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From high-performance parts to components that offer efficiency, the possibilities are endless with 3d printing. Now manufacturers can bring disruptive changes at lower costs than expected.

Entirely new opportunities are opening up for engineers as they embrace this technology across all aspects of production.

3D printing has opened doors for advanced prototyping, end-use component production, small-batch productions and mass production.

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On-demand-manufacturing 3d printed parts

3D Printing Benefits in Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing brings in several advantages for manufacturers of all sizes. Some key benefits of 3d printing are:

  • Designs become easy to iterate for product development
  • Higher TLC due to lightweight 3D-printed parts components
  • Mass production is cost-effective and offers high ROI
  • Drives agility by removing traditional manufacturing barriers
  • It empowers companies to embrace Industry 4.0 applications

3D Printing Applications in Manufacturing

From aerospace to automotive, this technology has quickly made its way across different industries. The innovative applications of 3d printing are working to change traditional manufacturing processes. Some of the transforming applications of 3d printing in manufacturing are:

  • Functional prototypes
  • Tooling
  • Lightweight components
  • On-demand parts manufacturing
  • Creating custom jigs and fixtures
Metal 3D Printed Automotive Parts

Wrapping Up!

We hope this E-book helped you understand 3d printing in manufacturing with a detailed perspective. This technology is the future of manufacturing and several other domains. As it becomes more accessible and affordable in the future, we will see more innovative implementations.