- April 23rd, 2016
- Categories: 3D Printing, News
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What Can 3D Printing Do for the Manufacturing Industry
3D printers give rise to a new outlook for a lot of industrial applications. One area of the business world that could see a major shift is the manufacturing side of modern industries. Manufacturers have long operated inside large factories, pumping out just about any type of product a person can imagine. Once the product is ready, it is shipped through the supply chain and eventually to the retail outfit for consumer access. Yet, much of this tried and tested business landscape could quickly become outdated and irrelevant as 3D printing becomes more commonplace in modern businesses. While some are openly concerned about this trend, worried it could shut down many traditional manufacturing plants sooner than expected, others are embracing the emerging 3D manufacturing revolution with open arms.
Instead of outsourcing orders for products to factories, modern businesses will see a move towards in-house manufacturing occur as 3D printer technology becomes cheaper. In essence, 3D printers will eliminate the need to rely on complicated logistics to ensure products make it to their destination on time. If a company needs a particular product or part, they will simply load up the schematic and print the part they need. This in-house manufacturing transition will essentially raise some questions as to what to do with all the factories that industries used to depend on in the past. The idea of manufacturing without factories seems like a strange idea, but this outcome is fast approaching.
Opening Business up to Smaller Manufacturing Outfits
Another major change that is coming is that literally anyone will be able to use 3D printing technology to get into the manufacturing game. From large corporations to small hobbyists, anyone will be able to design and print what they need to supply their own enterprise with parts and products. No longer will the manufacturing of products be dominated by companies that operate using high dollar, specially tooled machinery. Basically, 3D printing technology makes it possible for anyone to manufacture and sell products right out of their own home. The only catch appears that such individuals will need to have access to sizeable stocks of raw materials for these home-based manufacturing processes. This could potentially put a whole new spin on how people use their garage. In many of these in-house operations even the need for assembly lines used to manufacture larger products, piece by piece, will be eliminated as well by affordable 3D technologies.
Examples of In-House Manufacturing Operations
If a person wanted to start their own company selling specialty chocolates, 3D printing is well suited for this task. From designing the customized shapes of the chocolate to any engravings, intricate printing will ensure a perfect product every time. If a company needs a specialty part, for example, even this is not beyond the reach of an in-house 3D printing station. There were already situations where custom made zero differential valves were needed in the oil industry, and having one made the old fashioned way was either impossible or too expensive. One advancement that could prove to change how we think about manufacturing is with the automotive industry. A lot of times people own an older car, and they are stuck unable to get their hands on aftermarket parts. With a 3D printer on hand, a local automotive repair shop could theoretically print just about any part for any model and year of any car that enters their shop. This manufacturing feat would literally erase the long waits involved in locating and ordering such parts. This in turn will ensure that people will be able to get their vehicles back on the road quicker than in years past. Even the military will be able to upgrade how it manages manufacturing of parts in the field, reducing its own dependence on major supply chain procedures that played a huge role in last generation warfare; thus, giving the military the ability to print weapons and vehicle parts when and where they are needed on site.
Education and 3D Manufacturing
As manufacturing moves more towards in-house 3D printing, the need for specialists who know how to get the most out of this printing technology will increase in kind. Aside from knowing how to design the parts that need to be printed, there will also be issues involving quality standards and how to properly handle raw materials used in such printing applications. According to this source, with the increase in 3D manufacturing jobs on the rise over the next few years, people are being encouraged to obtain hands on experience with 3D technologies and also to keep current on where the future of 3d technologies is heading.
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