3D Printing can significantly reduce the costs of error and rectification
How could companies exploit the potential of Additive Manufacturing to gain an edge?
Additive Manufacturing or 3D Printing can help companies identify product design, functionality or ergonomics errors through physical validation much early in the design cycle. This can significantly reduce the costs of error and rectification. If the same errors are detected at the time of production, then rectification and re-production would not only be extremely expensive on the production budget but will also be very time consuming.
3D printing technology is now also being used as a production machine for final parts production. This is ideal in case the companies require limited batch production and the volume is not high. Part can be customised and built as per requirement. Companies do not have to engage their entire production set-up and assembly lines for limited batch productions. This can turn out to be cost effective and also parts can be built in a few hours as against weeks required in traditional processes.
Apart from being used for Prototyping, fit form, visualisation and small batch production, Additive Manufacturing is also currently being used as manufacturing tool for making jigs & fixture, moulds, inspection gauges and tools required for mass manufacturing. This has helped companies eliminate inventory of tools, reduce lead time , reduction in tool weight, thereby increasing the operator efficiency and last but not the least freedom of design to have complex geometries which are not possible to manufacture using conventional process.
3D printing can thus add lot of value and help companies gain competitive edge.