Foundry Management & Technology recently highlighted 5 top reasons for considering additive manufacturing, and the sooner the better.
1. Time to market – By using 3D printing, manufacturers are able to cut out much of their secondary tooling processes, such as injection molding, resin tooling, mold making, and soft tooling. A company can have a product concept one day, a 3D CAD design the next, and a printed prototype on the third day.
2. Helping the bottom-line – Save money by 3D printing low-volume parts. Items can potentially be mass-produced without high fixed-capital costs related to their specific design.
3. Pre-marketing capabilities – 3D printed parts are useful for communicating the design intent to marketing and sales departments, as well as manufacturers and suppliers. After seeing and handling the 3D printed version of the product, marketing and sales will be better prepared to support it when it is released. Manufacturing and supply chains will help to determine if the product can be economically manufactured, and to identify potential issues.
4. Seeing is believing – With all of the materials offered by 3D printing, potential customers could be evaluating the product without even knowing they are holding a prototype.
5. Working within the budget – Enlisting the capabilities of a manufacturing service bureau is a great option for companies that do not have the volume demand or fiscal resources to purchase a 3D printer of their own. It also is a terrific way for those who have never been exposed to 3D printing to evaluate specific technologies, applications, and materials that may be useful to their businesses.
>Read more by Andy Coutu and Justin Coutu, Foundry Management & Technology, March 12, 2016