Tech

How 3D Printing Has Changed Manufacturing

Advanced technology continues to make its move into the world of manufacturing. Robotics and the internet of things (IoT) have made production quicker and easier to monitor for potential production outages. Now, 3D printers are making an enormous incursion into this industry.

Here are a few ways 3D printing has changed manufacturing.

Prototypes
3D printers have been in existence for nearly three decades. However, their cost and size kept them from being used on a regular basis. Now that both variables have been considerably reduced, more manufacturers utilize them for modeling prototypes.

Previously, models were made from various materials like clay, plastic, or sheet metal. Once the prototype was completed, the unused materials were recycled or discarded. Prototypes crafted by 3D printers are very precise. Whatever is designed doesn’t require cutting down or leaves leftover materials to reprocess. In turn, manufacturing costs are reduced.

Product development
One of the reasons more manufacturers are jumping into the world of 3D printing is to accelerate product development. It gives them an opportunity to increase their product lines and produced customized items without the purchase of additional equipment.

Faster testing of new products
Prior to the increased use of 3D printers, manufacturers would need to create brand new molds to test various iterations of a new product. This would involve several weeks or months of work. Today, 3D printers can create those molds in only a few days. In addition, they can now test several versions of a product all at once.

Increased Innovation
The ability of 3D printers to produce objects that are not only more useful but also less complex has ignited a new revolution in innovation. As manufacturers continue to add more of these printers into their stable they will be able to re-imagine all their products. Eventually, items that once contained multiple parts may only feature one that is more efficient and cost-effective.

Lower environmental costs
3D printers are active contributors to reducing the carbon footprints of manufacturing plants. Prototypes and completed products are precisely created without wasting material, therefore reducing the amount of required raw materials. In turn, this helps minimize CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, as 3D printing technology advances it will be able to use more recycled products. Some already use recycled wood in production, and this further reduces a manufacturer’s environmental effect on the surrounding area.

As you see, 3D printing has changed the world of manufacturing in a short period of time. As advancements in the technology continue to be added, we should be able to see the results in products that are easier to use. In addition, the cost of these items might be reduced as the cost of the manufacturer to create them is also minimized.

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