How Additive Manufacturing is Making an Impact
This article by Greg Conrad appeared on the MANUFACTURING TOMORROW website
Part 2 of 2 parts
Cost Calculation Redefined
3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) undoubtedly impacts the material and production cost in a production environment. Depending on the purpose, the price of a 3D printer can be between $5,000 to $500,000 depending on the purpose and material requirements. However, in a massive manufacturing setup, the ROI would certainly make up for the cost. An industry that has migrated fully to 3D printing would hit the breakeven point significantly quicker than integrating other process technologies.
Creative Way of Getting More Done
Now that a lot of time is saved by precise prototyping using 3D printing services, the companies may put more effort into getting things done the right way in lesser time. A lot of the ROI could potentially be saved so that companies might make some investment in sectors they don’t usually do. Such experiments with the finances are supposed to bring the company benefits, without conducting a full-fledged cost analysis on every end. Being able to easily and cheaply make prototypes allows companies to really get creative, and the budget is a little more lenient to allow for trial and error.
3D Printing Benefits the Environment
Most of the countries in the world now have very bold and strict environmental laws for industry to protect the community around them, as well as nature in general. By using additive manufacturing strategy, 3D printing can actively contribute to lesser carbon emission. Many of the aerospace manufacturers now use 3D printing to produce modules that require precise cut and structural uniformity. By doing so, they reduce wasting raw material and eventually the CO2 emission to nature is reduced by a significant amount. Some 3D printers can actually use recycled wood, reducing the environmental effect of what little waste does occur.
What does the future look like?
3D printing’s future is bright nonetheless, but somewhat unpredictable at the same time. The market share is increasing and more production industries are acquiring 3D printing units. Subtractive manufacturing has been rendered less effective, but there are many industries that are reluctant to give up their old ways. 3D printing will most likely take over the R&D and maintenance sectors for production, but taking over the entire production facility will certainly take some time.