Since its inception, 3D printing has mainly been used for prototyping and customized or low volume production. Thanks to recent advances in technology, however, the ability to produce high volume amounts of large, functional parts and products using additive manufacturing technologies is on the near horizon. This capability will greatly benefit manufacturing companies, as they would be able to rapidly produce tailored and fabricated parts and products and do so at a dramatically cheaper cost compared to traditional production methods.
In addition to this, 3D printers will soon provide manufacturers the ability to commercialize their products faster. By 3D printing products, much of the tooling associated with traditional production methods is eliminated as they are able to produce products in a single part – or minimal parts. This will ultimately allow manufacturers to cut their production cycles by over 50% in most cases.
Another revolution 3D printing will bring in the near future lies in supply chain efficiency for the customer and manufacturer. Customers could potentially customize the product they want on the manufacturer’s website, purchase it, have the manufacturer 3D print the product, and receive it in just a matter of days. Manufacturers can eliminate inventory costs as 3D printing will provide them with on-demand production. This will also boost customer relations because the delivery time on products will be consistently fast.
The performance and quality of 3D printing materials, especially carbon fiber, will also be phenomenal as they will be stronger and lighter. 3D printing companies such as Markforged, renown for their carbon fiber and metal 3D printers, and the creator of the first ever large, industrial 3D printer, BigRep, are driving the development of 3D printing technology to soon make this new industrial revolution possible.
(Original Source: Greg Jack, Director of Business Development, Arevo)