3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is a truly fascinating technology and it has experienced exponential growth over the past few years. The popularity of 3D printing has skyrocketed within the last five years, even though the actual technology has been around much longer than that. Terry Wohlers, President of Wohlers Associates, Inc., predicts that the worldwide 3D printing industry will grow to $12.8B by 2018, and exceed $21B in worldwide revenue by 2020. By now many businesses realize that 3D printing is starting to shift supply chains and really make its mark on a worldwide scale.
When it comes down to it though, makers, entrepreneurs and businesses want to know… What are the real advantages of 3D printing? Here is our answer…
- Quick turnaround. Speed is a major advantage with 3D printing. Building a CAD file and printing a prototype can be completed in mere hours (depending on size and complexity) instead of weeks with more traditional manufacturing methods.
- Cost Reduction. The product development timeline is shortened with 3D printing, and material costs are substantially less when you are able to use material only where it is needed.
- Complex Shapes & Structures. This is where things really get interesting. Unlike with traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing can print a myriad of complex shapes. Structure design is now only limited by your imagination.
- Less Waste. By accurately estimating how much material will be needed to build a prototype, or multiple quantities for a short manufacturing run, 3D printing allows you to cut down on any unnecessary material.
- New Material Combinations. This is where a lot of change is taking place. New materials and material combinations are rapidly being developed. By reducing the costs associated with mixing materials, 3D printing is breaking the mold on what is possible.
3D printing technology is quite fantastic and it is changing business as we know it, but there is a lot of hype surrounding the technology as well. It is important to remember that 3D printing is not a “cure all” technology but merely another tool to add to your robust business toolbox.
Have questions about 3D printing technology? Please send them our way, firstname.lastname@example.org
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.