From niche, futuristic curiosity to the way of the future, 3D printing has certainly come a long way in the past ten years. Nowadays, there’s no denying the impact this new technology is having on the world of manufacturing. The costs, waste, and materials involved in production are all being reimagined thanks to the advent of 3D printing. A lot has already changed, and we can only assume that the future will see the 3D printing revolution continue. So how exactly have 3D printers changed the manufacturing game? Here’s a basic rundown.
Cutting Down On Waste
Traditional manufacturing produces exorbitant amounts of waste, much of which proves harmful to the environment. When using a 3D printer, you can use the exact amount of a particular material that the product calls for. Imagine making a cake; you can adjust the measurements of the ingredients to account for the size of the pan. Using a 3D printer is much the same, meaning the entire process produces significantly less waste that older methods.
Cutting down on waste also decreases production costs, since companies don’t have to pay for materials that they never actually use. Not only is this helpful for companies hoping to turn a profit, but it will also prove beneficial to society at large. Many firms will use their savings to invest in innovation, allowing them to develop new and exciting products that will benefit society.
Developing Products Faster
3D printers have made the news recently because of how quickly they can be used to develop new products. As ventilators and other machines needed parts during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, brilliant engineers with 3D printers were able to come up with the goods in record time. This is representative of a general trend with 3D printing. Since a single machine can quickly accommodate new designs, it’s possible to develop new products and get them in circulation almost immediately.
Increased Flexibility In The Materials You Can Use
Unlike most machines used in traditional manufacturing, 3D printers don’t require you to use particular materials. This means you can make products that are otherwise identical using whatever materials are available and suit the purpose of the product. This gives manufacturers a level of flexibility that they never could have dreamed of previously. Instead of waiting for materials gummed up in the supply chain, companies can find a replacement and get back to work immediately.
3D printers make it much easier to customize individual products. With traditional manufacturing, machines are unchangeable and therefore can only make standardized, identical products. A certain mold makes a particular product, and the only way to change the shape of the product is by making another mold. With 3D printing, manufacturers can produce a unique product while using the same machine. This will provide more diversity of goods and give consumers a wider variety of choices on the market.
More Demand For Engineers Versed In 3D Printing
The sudden rise in 3D printing means that many companies are in desperate need of people who can deftly handle this new technology. While the industry might suffer in the short term from a skills gap, there’s no denying the potential for new jobs being created by the circumstances. The coming years should see countless engineers master 3d printing before going on to lucrative careers in the manufacturing industry.
Every generation sees the sudden proliferation of a new technology that changes the face of industry. For the current generation, it seems that 3D printing will be the major revolutionizing force, changing manufacturing in all the ways mentioned above and more.