How 3D Printing Can Boost Business Innovation
Many believe 3D printing will be the core of the next industrial revolution. Thereby changing how we design, service, and distribute products. As such, it opens more than a few ways to boost business innovation:
1. Rapid Prototyping
3D printing technology enables rapid prototyping by using different materials, most commonly ABS 3D printing filament.
With rapid prototyping, you can significantly shorten the development stage and ease the development process. With the right industrial 3D printer, you can produce and customize high-quality versions of your prototypes quickly. This allows you to physically assess, compare, and adjust them. But, at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional manufacturing.
By taking advantage of other technologies compatible with 3D printing, you can improve your design even more and have a viable product in a shorter period. These include:
- 3D CNC Machining
- Rapid Tooling for Injection Molds
- Automated DFM, an engineering review to help you make early adjustments before printing
2. Affordability, Efficiency, And Customization
3D printing is often touted as the manufacturing of the future. Applications often find uses for 3d printing across industries today, mostly for one or more of the following advantages it offers:
Cuts down on manufacturing costs
3D printing cuts down on labor, machine, and material costs. Traditional manufacturing requires different machines and many people on a production line to put the final product together. A 3D printer, on the other hand, requires an operator to start the machine and upload the design. From there the process is automatic. It’s evident how this significantly lowers the labor costs.
The machine operation costs themselves are also lower. Studies show 3D printed products need 41% to 74% less energy than mass-produced goods.
Cuts down on waste
3D printing technology is also known as additive technology. It means 3D printing adds and deposits material precisely to make products, layer upon layer until the product is complete. Unlike standard manufacturing technology, where they often remove material to produce a product, 3D printing technology builds products with less waste that is easier to reuse and recycle.
Reduces production time
3D printing technology fits the fast-paced world we live in. It has the ability to develop and produce complex end-parts and products in one go, with a high-efficiency level. There is no need to have different parts of the product formed in various factories and then spend time assembling them into a single product ready for the market.
Enhances competitive advantage
With 3D printing technology, businesses can gain a competitive advantage by creating more prototypes and perfecting them in a shorter prototyping phase. Thereby reducing errors, and considering the feedback from potential customers and investors. It enables businesses to test the market and have the best product ready for an effective launch. All within a shorter time than with the standard prototyping and manufacturing processes.
Enables on-demand production
3D printing is ideal for creating complex end-parts and building a product in one go. In fact, it offers almost limitless possibilities for customizing intricate designs and changes. All with high precision and impressive structural integrity.
Businesses and hobbyists can take advantage of 3D printing to grow business revenue.
3. New Business Models
3D printing technology is a disruptive technology. As such, it brings about new business models and ways how innovators can boost their business innovation:
On-demand manufacturing can produce on-demand. Meaning once the sale has been confirmed or when it comes to the point of need. With the possibility of customizing products to their needs, customers are happy to get the products they want when they need them. Businesses can produce and deliver small products at much shorter notice because there is no tooling for 3D printing.
Manufacturing as service
Manufacturing as a Service (MaaS) is a service-based business model where manufacturers’ infrastructure, equipment, and other manufacturing capacity networks for more efficient production. The MaaS system enables a customer to make an order that gets routed to a facility that can best fulfill the request. This workflow digitization enables 3D printing to allow for more production flexibility. Additionally, this can increase profitable on-demand production of small quantities and one-offs.
Supply chain consolidation
With the manufacturing environment becoming more volatile and unreliable, 3D printing can simplify the supply chain by manufacturing end-use parts in-house. It helps businesses reduce the number of procured parts, no matter how complex in design and geometry. This process, otherwise known as part consolidation, lowers the supply chain complexity.
3D printing allows companies to respond to consumers’ demands. Especially those looking for one-off custom products for their needs, ideas, and preferences.
Direct to consumer business model
The Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) business model is becoming increasingly popular for allowing brands to enter the market directly, avoiding a middle-man entity. The 3D printing itself helps them adopt this model to build and create products faster and cheaper.
The Promising Future Of 3D Printing
The 3D printing technology offers many advantages over traditional manufacturing techniques and processes. With time, expect to find even more applications across different industries. Consider how you can utilize 3D printing and boost business innovation in your industry. Especially in a world burdened with climate change and a shortage of natural resources. Not to mention the manufacturing environment being more uncertain and volatile.