It's difficult to pick up a newspaper, magazine or log on to your local browser without yet another story popping up on how 3-D printing is revolutionizing one industry after another. We read about the astonishing things being done in the medical profession, how it is impacting the auto industry and the strides it is making on how fine jewelry is now being manufactured.
And as a business owner you say, "Wow, that could really help my business, but I am not ready just yet to invest in a high-end, 3-D printer."
This is why some companies have skirted their budgetary restrictions and enlisted a service bureau capable of taking their CAD design and turning it into 3-D reality. Here are five reasons why the time might be right for your company to join the 3-D print revolution by working with a 3-D printing service bureau:
A great option to turn to if you don't have the resources: Taking advantage of a professional additive manufacturing service bureau is a great option for those companies that do not have the volume demand or fiscal resources to purchase a machine of their very own. It is also a terrific way for those who have never been exposed to 3-D printing to evaluate specific technologies, applications and materials that may be useful to their businesses.
Take advantage of engineering expertise: If you are a small start-up or an inventor who has come up with the "next big thing," many service bureaus are staffed with engineers with degrees with whom you can collaborate with to bring projects forward. Engineering assistance helps create, design, and select the proper materials to prototype with – and usually at no cost, or one that is significantly less than engaging a product-development or design firm.
The strategic benefit of rapid turnaround: Let's face it – everyone wants it fast, and using a service bureau is a tremendous strategic tool. Fast prototyping support means faster product evaluation. Faster product evaluation means faster time to finalized designs. Faster finalized designs means faster time to production and to market. Faster time to market is a tremendous competitive advantage.
Gaining access to multiple technologies: Many companies that do have additive technology in-house are able to take advantage of varying technologies and materials that a service bureau can offer without having to make multiple investments or investing in inventories of raw materials that may only be used periodically.
The security question: In this day and age, the theft of intellectual property occurs on a daily basis. Many companies send their product development overseas only to find their projects pirated. Keeping ideas and designs secure through a working relationship with a trusted resource goes a very long way in securing your intellectual property.