When the assembly line was first introduced, no one could have predicted the implications it could have had on society. As 3d printing is poised to be the next big addition to manufacturing, it is important to reflect on how 3d printing is changing prototyping and manufacturing all over the world.
Industries such as automotive and aerospace have begun exploring 3D engineering solutions for prototyping. Utilizing 3D engineering is becoming a growing trend because they allow companies to become time and cost efficient when creating prototypes; companies need to stay up to date with 3d engineering technology to keep up with their competitors. Today, 3D printing remains a small part of manufacturing due to their prohibitively high costs; However as we find new discovers in 3D engineering which makes the costs cheaper, more companies will switch to 3D printing as they provide many benefits to the user.
The first advantage of 3D engineering is efficiency. Since 3D printers create objects by layering materials guided by a design file, they eliminate the waste of traditional manufacturing by up to 90 percent. In addition to being cost efficient, using 3D printers is also cost efficient as printers can work all night and day. Users of 3D printers are able to print interlocking parts which eliminates the need for assembly. 3D printing will shorten supply chains and intermediary companies will become extinct when 3D printers become financially feasible in households; this will result in cheaper prices for consumers of products as markups can be avoided with no intermediaries.
Another advantage of 3D printing is the free complexity which comes along with it; 3D printing provides technology which allows shapes to be created in any way. Users are able to design the perfect prototype through altering the CAD file and prevent the numerous amounts of failed prototypes in traditional prototyping. By using 3D printing, we can expect more creations and innovations to be made as the possibilities are limitless with 3D printing.
3D printing will completely change how innovation and patents are processed. In many specialized fields, minor changes to a product can require recertification. With accessibility which comes along with 3D printing, companies will have to create a flexible approach which focuses on processes rather than products. For example, if a company wishes to create a competitive advantage and create dominance in an industry, they will have to invent new products rather than modifying their existing products.