The world is evolving at a rapid rate. What seemed like new technology yesterday is quickly being outdated by more advanced equipment and ideas. Similarly, the job market is changing with specialist recruiters such as Nesgt.com keeping up with rapidly developing trends. The question is, will all of this innovation stick around or will it be whipped away as quickly as it came? Well, let’s take a look at one of the latest technologically advanced concepts of recent years – 3D printing. While 3D printers were originally extremely expensive and inaccessible, desktop models are now in circulation. In fact, 3D printing looks to be an increasingly successful industry. It’s an example of how innovation is launching us into brand new realms of possibility – but is there any room for 3D printing in the global manufacturing market?
Improves efficiency and eliminates waste
While there’s no denying that 3D printing is a manufacturing process that requires precision, time, skilled individuals familiar with 3D printers and often expensive equipment to get the job done properly, the process can effectively improve efficiency and eliminate waste – something which, if honed, could dramatically enhance the manufacturing market.
When a part is made out of aluminium today, for instance, material is cut away using a subtractive process. This often results in around 60 – 70 percent of the aluminium block ending up as scrap depending on the shape and the complexity of the structure needed. In contrast, 3D printing gradually layers materials in order to fabricate a specific object. It is a precise action which significantly reduces the amount of materials used and therefore works to drive down the overall manufacturing costs.
Faster, more accurate production lines
Traditional manufacturing processes require impeccable communication between the production line and sales teams. Toys, for instance, can’t be marketed and sold unless they’ve been immaculately and professionally put together and assessed according to quality control standards. While machinery does much of the hard work, manual labour is also a key component of the industry, so how could 3D printing improve the process?
In theory, 3D printing would give the production team increased flexibility with the capacity to produce goods at a faster rate. Of course, designing the digital file takes time and energy, but once the prototype is ready, 3D printing requires virtually no set-up with assembly being a single operation. A faster, more accurate production line could also potentially make it easier for marketing and sales teams to better plan promotions, special events and regular stock orders.
3D printing already in use within the manufacturing world
While there may be some way to go before 3D printing replaces trustworthy manufacturing lines in factories, it is already being used by well-known companies across the globe. It’s no stranger to the automotive industry, for instance, with many formula 1 racing teams using 3D printing to create customised, unique and innovative car parts. Indeed, it’s thought that instead of having singular manufacturing locations, micro-factories will pop up where needed to allow people to choose exactly how they want their customised vehicle to look.
3D printing has plenty of scope
While 3D printing is gradually edging its way into many production lines, it’s also gaining support from well-known figures such as will.i.am. Speaking candidly about his passion for 3D, the star – who is currently collaborating with Coca-Cola on both eco-friendly ideas and 3D projects – said: “It will revolutionise society. In 10 years, everyone will have a 3D printer in their house. Your friend will say, “Let’s go, hurry up” and you’ll go, “Wait, my shoes haven’t finished printing yet.” In 20 years, you’ll be able to print a new kidney.”
With all the hype surrounding this relatively new concept, it seems there’s still plenty of scope left for 3D printing to make its mark in the manufacturing market.