3d Printing will change manufacturing

There’s absolutely every reason to believe that 3D printing will change the way things are produced especially in the manufacturing industry. 3D printing technology is reshaping the world of manufacturing, ushering in a whole new era. If you haven’t seen it demonstrated, you may likely think that 3-D printing sounds futuristic. However 3-D printing is rather straightforward: It is a step beyond spewing toner on paper. It involves putting down layers of resin or plastic until the layers add up to an object. The procedure includes the creation of products by depositing layers of materials (plastic or ground metal) to a prototype, after which the material is lasered into place. The process is repeated to build the required product (which could be anything from replacement hips to aircraft engine parts). It is slow, sometimes taking hours to make a part. New 3D techniques are on the horizon such as SLA 3D printing. SLA uses a polymer liquid which is much faster and allows different hardness materials, from a soft rubber like a sponge to a hard plastic like nylon.
What though is the implication of this for manufacturers? Will 3D printing revolutionize business models, upset supply chains, and improve customer relationships?
One thing is certain: 3D printing will significantly improve business especially in the manufacturing sector. For years 3D printing has been exclusively in the region of prototyping and low-volume items. The technology has not been cost-effective enough to efficiently take on the production of high-end products. But 3D printing has an enormous potential to impact manufacture, supply chains and shipping in the future.
Improved Customization and Assembly line transformation
Logistics represents the biggest challenge for most retailing companies like Amazon. Warehouse maintenance, stock management and shipping orders continue to present a challenge. But what if it is possible to cut out all of the hassles; move production closer to your customers worldwide, demand for an item, and deliver it directly to the consumer? Is this feasible? Experts projected that 3D printing would bring customization and manufactured product closer to customers. That is exactly what Amazon is trying to do. Amazon recently filed a patent application for trucks fitted with 3D printers that will take online orders and produce the finished item while en-route to the delivery address or at the customer’s door. A significant implication of this is that 3D printing will eliminate the need for large warehouses housing millions of dollars’ worth of stock. Moreover, instead of having parts already on hand to ship, a company can send the electronic code for making a part to a local 3D printing facility. The part can then be made in the same town as the end user. The person can then go pick up the part in just a couple hours.
Furthermore, throughout the process of manufacturing, the production team must work in close knit with the sales teams to meet delivery deadlines. However, with 3D printing, the manufacturing process is reduced to a single operation; hence the production team is afforded more flexibility. As a result of the increased flexibility in this new assembly line process, sales representatives can complete orders quicker and in a greater capacity. Then the entire production process can be streamlined and done at a shorter time and lower production cost. There will be marked improvement in goods customization because modifying them will not involve retooling; only tweaking the software instructions.
Material Cost Savings
This new technology also has the potential to have a substantial effect on the way manufacturers do business especially in relation to shifts in material cost, product pricing strategies and incremental cost calculations. 3D-printing technology can potentially make manufacturing processes tremendously precise and infinite. For instance, today, if you need to make a part out of aluminium using what’s known as “subtractive process,” the aluminium block is placed into a CAD system. The extra material is then cut off to make the part. Using this process, almost 70% of the aluminium block finishes up as scrap subject to the shape and complexity required. The excess material is melted and used in the future for other manufacturing needs. 3D printing technology, on the other hand, is an “additive,” process and manufacturers can easily use the smallest of material required to produce a part. In essence, a 3D printer could eliminate the process of melting down excess scrap material, eventually reducing the total costs of materials for the manufacturer. For manufacturers, this could potentially reduce capital used to salvage scrap or tied up in purchasing raw materials.
Restructuring supply chains
Companies globally are always looking for ways to get their products to the market quicker and at the same time become more flexible so as to adapt their products to customers and local markets. This is where 3D printing technology comes into play; by localizing manufacturing operations and processes, it 3D printing significantly impacts the amount of inventory companies hold, specifically low-volume, obsolete chunks. 3D printers can be used to produce parts that are, and businesses will be able to reduce costs expended on warehouses and factories. Creativity will be at the fore as companies will think about new products that may not have been possible using old methods. Companies will be compelled to examine their production process and think about the way they create and design objects as well as how such products are distributed to the consumer.
The bottom line is that this new technology may not revolutionize the manufacturing industry completely, but it sure has a vast potential to enable change across businesses — irrespective of their size and supply chain. At the moment, the impact of 3D printing technology on the manufacturing industry is purely theoretical, but business owners and manufacturers who decide to disregard the transformational benefits associated with this technology may fall prey to those that embrace it. 3D printing technology continues to grow at a fast pace, with continuous progress each day. What began as fabrication of small parts and plastic screws made of glass has fully developed into full manufacturing of complete end-products. The above facts proves that 3D-printing technology has endless possibilities for manufacturers
3d Printing will change manufacturing 3d Printing will change manufacturing Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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