Technology

Will 3D Printing Be the Game Changer in Manufacturing?

For the time being, 3D printing will not completely replace mass manufacturing, but it will greatly expand the possibilities for custom orders and small-scale production. With an installed production system, a company can create millions of identical products at a time, and a 3D printer will not match that scale. Rather, 3D printing will increase companies’ capacity for specialized parts and smaller, custom orders. However, if 3D printing becomes a large part of the manufacturing process, it could create tax issues for manufacturers.

Currently, American manufacturers hold $1.7 trillion of inventory, and up to 30% of mass-produced products never sell. The vast majority of this inventory sits in storage and is unused. With 3D printing, manufacturers can cut down on their inventory and move production closer to the market, improving innovation, product development, and speed to market. By reducing their inventory and allowing more customization, 3D printing is likely to revolutionize the manufacturing process and create entirely new lines of business.

With the increased control over 3D printing, engineers can now precisely manipulate the bonding of materials, allowing them to design more complex shapes. Additionally, they can insert electronics inside 3D printed objects, enabling them to serve multiple purposes, including individualization and a variety of aesthetics. With the help of advanced software and 3D printers, engineers can even design and build custom parts with voxels.

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