The role of 3D printing for manufacturing has evolved over the last several years, with many companies opting to design end-use parts using additive processes. Businesses of all sizes are taking advantage of additive manufacturing processes for custom precision parts. The combination of speed, limited overhead and overall cost, and design flexibility are making 3D printing more practical than ever.
In traditional manufacturing processes, the more complicated or complex a part is, the more expensive it is likely to be. However, with additive manufacturing, complex pieces can actually be more efficient and less costly to produce.
The flexibility and adaptability of the additive manufacturing process also gives engineers and designers the ability to introduce new improvements and, as a result, increase the overall value of the finished product.
Production speed is another benefit of 3D printing. The luxury of producing parts on demand and on the fly is quite significant. It speeds up the initial prototyping phase, and additive manufacturing can be used in a pinch or when your traditional processes have failed.
And as more and more materials are introduced that are compatible with additive manufacturing processes, production speed will only increase.
The actual process of producing parts on a daily basis will also see a benefit from additive manufacturing. Engineers can introduce design improvements, upgrades and new features as needed. The same is possible with traditional manufacturing, but the lead-time needed to produce brand new prototypes with upgraded features and renovated designs places a real limit on the creativity of designers.
Modern 3D printing also features a quicker time-to-market than traditional manufacturing processes. Shorter design times, increased quality control and the availability of raw materials all contribute to the overall efficiency of additive manufacturing.