Advantages of 3D printing in Manufacturing
Unlike traditional manufacturing, where you take an object and remove material until you’re left with the desired design, 3D printing is what’s known as additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is the process of building up material until the desired design is achieved. This process comes with many benefits, especially when it comes to short-run products, a few of which we’ll touch on below.
One of the significant benefits of industrial 3D printing is the flexibility it brings to the manufacturer. In traditional manufacturing, any change in design requires a new tool or process to remove material. In 3D printing, there are no such limitations. In another sense of flexibility, the 3D printer allows manufacturers to implement creative ideas. For example, if a board that enters cutting and continues to crack in undesired areas, with a 3D printer, you can create custom supports for the board to prevent the unwanted defects. In line with creative solutions, the printer allows manufacturers to create custom fixtures that would otherwise be very costly and take anywhere from two to four weeks to ship.
When it takes up to four weeks for a critical fixture to arrive manufacturing timetables can be greatly delayed, especially if the fixture is an unplanned requirement. Having the capability to create custom fixtures that can withstand reflow temperatures is a huge advantage when managing tight timetables. Rather than weeks, the solution can be on hand in merely hours.
The plastics involved in 3D printing, even the more expensive and highly durable plastics, compared to traditional materials are much cheaper and accessible. Coming back to custom fixturing, ordering a fixture can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars, where 3D printing allows the fixture to be printed for just dollars.