Implementation of 3D Printing in the Manufacturing Industries
Published by : Industrial Automation
3D printing is one of the suitable for hardware design and development cycle for the manufacturing industries. 3D printing is one of the most flexible and cost-effective prototyping methods. There are few better ways to test designs at a cost-effective price point, helping designers iterate through the rapid prototyping development cycle from low-fidelity concept models to near-production prototypes.
How to Speed Rapid Production through the adoption of 3D printing?
The upfront tooling costs of injection molding also pairs with a slower time to production. 3D printing is well known for its speed, which enables a user to design a 3D CAD file, upload the file to get an instant quote from 3D printing services like Xometry and send the part straight to the printer. Some 3D printing service bureaus can even print hundreds to thousands of parts overnight with proper build configurations. It may be possible, for example, to fit 300 small parts, or parts within a 2” bounding box, into the build bed of a single industrial printer. It should be noted that parts of different sizes are typically more cost-effective for rapid production via 3D printing over injection molding, too. Creating a small mold via CNC machining, for example, may require specialized lathes and may incorporate higher tolerances, both of which can dramatically increase tooling costs.
In contrast to the speedy ordering and production of 3D printed parts, injection molding is a multi-step process. It first requires detailed consultation with injection molding experts on the design and manufacturing of the mold (typically created via CNC machining) as well as one or multiple trials runs on the mold. The mold must be adjusted and finalized with further machining or a remake of the mold. This pre-production tooling may take an average of 10 days, which adds to the lead time of parts. At this rate, 3D printing production is certainly the best bet for getting the product to market.
How to scale manufacturing processes with 3D Printing in the industries?
3D printing is a process that’s most frequently used for rapid and functional prototypes, but also produces parts that are suitable for end-use environments and applications. When thinking about whether to scale production of plastic parts with injection molding or 3D printing, 3D printing has the advantage when it comes to rapid production and on-demand inventory management. In addition, 3D printing production is cost-effective when upfront tooling costs are prohibitive or final quantities are unknown. Finally, industrial 3D printed parts are extremely durable and have a range of surface finishing options that make the parts comparable to the mechanical and cosmetic qualities of injection molded parts. For many applications such as automotive, medical, industrial, and more, 3D printed part quality works extremely well.