As we boldly march towards the future, we are continuously moving through innovation. This holds true for industries, lifestyle and world in general. The same is true for manufacturing also, as continuously changing manufacturing processes, the philosophies, and manufacturing equipment keep on advancing.
The manufacturing, logistics, supply chain and transportation industry are experiencing a period of fast and unprecedented change. The future of these industries lies in technology and innovation. It was not long ago that technologies like Augmented Reality (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), drone delivery and 3D printing were just considered as science fiction. Today, these innovations are cautiously used by the businesses and service providers for giving quicker, less expensive, more sustainable and reliable business policies. One such innovative technology that has the power to disrupt manufacturing is 3D printing.
3D Printing has been here for quite some time, but it has gained popularity in only recent years. The beauty of this technology is that it is a simple technology that can have its application on various fields. It has streamlined processes and lowered the barrier for anyone to design or create.
Let us understand about this technology in detail;
3D Printing or Additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a computerized document.
The production of 3D printed objects is achieved by using additive processes. In an additive process, an object is made by setting down progressive layers of material until the object is created. These layers can be viewed as thinly sliced cross-section of the object formed.
Through 3D printing, one can create complex shapes using less material than customary manufacturing techniques.
How 3D printing work ?
A typical 3D printer is particularly like an inkjet printer worked from a PC. It develops a 3D model layer by layer, from the base upward, by repeatedly printing over a similar region in a strategy known as Fused Depositional Modelling (FDM). Working completely automatically, the printer creates a model over a period of hours by transforming a 3D CAD bringing into heaps of two – dimensional, cross – sectional layers- adequately separated 2D Prints that sit one on another, without the paper in the middle. Rather than using ink, which could never develop to much volume, the printer stores layers of liquid plastic or powder and circuits them together (and to the current structure) with adhesive or UV light.
3D Printing Industry
3D printing has been adopted by large number of industry and those who are yet to place additive manufacturing in their supply chain somewhere are currently part of an ever-contacting minority. Initially, when 3D printing was just appropriate for prototyping and on-off assembling, it is currently transforming into a production technology.
A large portion of the present demand is industrial in nature. Acumen Research and consulting estimates that the worldwide 3D printing business would reach $41 billion by 2026.
As the technology advances, 3D printing innovation is bound to change pretty much every significant industry and change the manner we live, work and play in the coming future.
3D Printing in Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is continually looking for novel and innovative methods for working and in the recent years, 3D printing has been at the forefront of the businesses. Due to the advancement in the 3D printing technology, material and equipment cost has been driven down, making It a progressively feasible choice for manufacturing.
Traditional Manufacturing needs to manage the ever – developing demands of the world yet it has a few limitations. That is the place 3D printing can step in to dominate. 3D printing comes with various unique and exciting advantages when it comes to manufacturing.
Advantages of using 3D printing for manufacturing
Conventional manufacturing techniques are costly, through 3D printing, the manufacturing of parts is less expensive and readily available. Unlike conventional manufacturing where a large workforce might be required to work on various machines or requirement of production line is there to piece together the product, 3D printing eliminates this.
Every 3D printer will require an operator to start the machine before it starts a computerized procedure of making the uploaded product design. Thus, when using 3D printing for manufacturing, the labour cost is lower as there is no requirement of a qualified mechanical engineer or operator for the process.
The risk of error, money and material wastage is eliminated when the businesses can check and confirm the design before it goes into the production. Production through 3D printing increase confidence in the process as redesigning and altering a 3D prototype is easier than the doing the same with traditional manufacturing.
Also, the risk for failure is reduced as the processes at which the product is created through 3D printing can be slowed down.
Through 3D printing ideas can be developed a faster pace. This can help in reducing the manufacturing time from months to days for the company, thus providing a competitive advantage.
Less wastage and storage space
The resources are used more efficiently in 3D printing technology. The 3D printer only utilizes the material that passes through the extruder and used to assemble the product. So, in mass production 3D printing technology will amount to lower wastage.
Also, numerous businesses have to store parts and items that they need or sell. This implies a lot of extra room is required to house merchandise that can stay for quite long time or even years. This require a lot of cash. Through 3D printing for manufacturing, expenses can be cut by diminishing the measure of extra room that is required. 3D printing makes it workable for products to be made as they are sold. This implies there will be no overproduction and decreased stockpiling costs.
The advantages of 3D printing can not be ignored. However, there are certain limitation of the technology because of which manufacturers are still sceptical to use the technology.
· The equipment’s cost
· The material required for the industry
· The Post processing requirements
· Software capabilities and development
· The recyclability of the product and material
However, despite the challenges 3D printing can shape the future of manufacturing.
For efficiently using any technology, proper planning and restructuring is required. It is important for the businesses to not only the parts and products they can manufacture through the technology but also understanding the manufacturing strategy as a whole and how 3D printing can be integrated in the system. This is down to the fact that innovation and value of operations can be enhanced through technology. At the end it’s not about finding the products that are fit for the technology but to ensure that the technology is fitting the business model and the product.
This article is written by Kalyani a Marketing student from IMT Ghaziabad and a Maths graduate from Delhi University.