One of the biggest technological advancements to hit the manufacturing world is 3d printing. This allows manufacturing companies to take what would normally just be seen on paper or a computer screen, and print it on in its actual form. That way, they can see what the item will truly look and feel like, giving them a better understanding of what their customers will receive. With a 3d printer it’s much easier to see if there are problems with a particular item, because holding it in the hand is much different than seeing a representation of it on paper. If problems are detected they can be corrected at the prototype phase, before they ever reach the actual manufacturing line or make their way to the end user.
How Do 3d Printers Work?
A 3d printer works by taking the information that is provided to it through a computer interface or a 3d scanner, and using a moldable medium such as plastic to create a 3d object in real time. This replaces what a standard printer would do, which would be to produce an image on paper. By creating a three-dimensional representation of the needed object, a manufacturer is much better able to see what that object would truly look and feel like. This allows the prototype to be created more easily and much faster, as well, and that can mean a quicker time from conception to production. Putting a new product into the hands of customers before a competitor has a chance to is always a good choice for a company that wants to succeed.
Are the Steps in the Manufacturing Process Slowing Companies Down?
When compared with 3d printing technology, traditional manufacturing is a very slow process. Just coming up with a prototype that works and that follows specs can take weeks or months. Once the creation has been developed on a computer, it has to be developed in real life. Naturally, that takes time and effort. It also takes trial and error, and may not be right the first, second, or even 10th time it is created. Because of the time it takes to get through the process, customers who are hoping for a new product or who know that product is “in the works” can become very tired of waiting and look for something else that will meet their needs. Being able to create something and get it to market far faster is a huge benefit as long as the quality stays high.
What Can Manufacturing Do With a 3d Printer?
The manufacturing sector can really make nearly anything with a 3d printer. They can print an entire item, or they can print parts of an item that can be put together in order to build something larger. The 3d printing industry is still developing, as well, and more items will be able to be printed in the future than can be printed currently. That’s worth keeping in mind, because the ability for manufacturing to create things and get them to market faster and easier than ever before is only going to continue to improve with time. In the future even more items will be able to be created, and that will mean happier customers getting more of what they want on a timeline they’re very happy with and for a price they can accept.
Can Anyone Make Anything?
Theoretically, anyone can make anything with a 3d printer. They have the ability to print something out that has been designed by their own hands or created by someone else. Theory isn’t always reality, though. Right now, 3d printing is still in its infancy. People can’t afford to have these kinds of printers in their homes, and they aren’t going to be making all of their own things so they don’t have to buy products anymore. Still, the potential to make something does exist, and this could happen in the future. That would mean a booming market for companies that make 3d printing technology, because smaller businesses and even consumers would start to buy units they could use personally.
Are There Risks to This Creation?
As with any new technology, there are always a few risks. Safeguards will be needed as manufacturing changes and 3d printing continues to develop, to ensure that both companies and individuals are protected. There are very few concerns with this type of printing, though, since it isn’t widely used and there are only certain types of machines and materials that can be properly used with it. If any concerns develop as 3d printing becomes more popular, the industry will be able to catch these and regulate them to help improve the customer experience.
How Will Companies Mitigate the Costs?
Cost is a big factor for 3d printing, because of the technology still being so new. Right now, it’s not always cost effective for a company to 3d print items for prototypes. The printed items themselves aren’t that costly, but the printer is expensive. Once the price comes down more, smaller companies will be able to afford 3d printers that they can use for their development and manufacturing needs. Then these companies can create items that are a fair price but that are also able to be created quickly. That will keep customers happy and help build loyalty between consumers and businesses.
Will 3d Printing at Home Put Companies Out of Business?
There’s always the chance that 3d printers will eventually become as common as more standard types of printers, but that day will be very far off if it ever arrives at all. That’s largely because the cost of these printers will take a significant amount of time to come down to a more affordable range, and the price may never fall in line with current printers. Additionally, it’s not realistic to print some types of things, or to print the parts and put them together, so manufacturing has little to worry about in that regard.