3D printing, which was born about 30 years ago, is also known as additive manufacturing (AM). At first, 3D printing was only a small hobby, and it was soon used in rapid prototyping (RP) and manufacturing workshops. Faster, lower cost production processes. Nowadays, new production-grade printers and materials that can replace metal and glass-reinforced parts have already made their debut, opening up a new frontier for the application of 3D printing in manufacturing.
Why choose additive manufacturing?
One of the biggest advantages of additive manufacturing is the ability to produce disposable or small-scale 3D printing quickly and economically. Design engineers in all fields are using 3D printing technology to quickly prototype designs. The iteration cycle has been shortened from a few months to a few days. Many designers set up design files the day before and get the latest 3D designs the next day. .
Component life cycle sustainability
There are many factors that affect the life cycle of components, such as the environment, manufacturing materials, etc. The use of additive manufacturing instead of traditional processing methods can not only greatly reduce the impact of the environment on the parts, but also have a positive impact on the environment, such as environmental protection, due to the ability to design Parts with better strength-to-weight ratios, lightweight parts for vehicles such as airplanes and automobiles further reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
In addition, it saves a lot of material. Because the 3D printing process uses only the materials needed for the design. By using digital technology, you can optimize the part’s build process by placing the material where it is needed. This not only reduces waste but also reduces the energy required to produce parts.
Richer part functionality
Of course, for parts, the shape is important, and the function is more important. As sturdy, durable materials continue to increase, people can use carbon fiber reinforced materials to print higher-strength parts and use flexible materials to print parts with active hinges. , as well as printing multi-material parts. Multi-material 3D printing can print both metal and ceramic materials, as well as a variety of non-metallic materials. In short, 3D printed parts are more abundant and powerful.
Supply chain reset
More and more companies have technology as the core, they need to constantly think about how to shorten the distance between producers and buyers, whether the original supply chain model is suitable for the status quo. As a result, many companies have added additive manufacturing to their existing supply chains and used 3D scanning technology to enable customers to become product designers to acquire personalized medical models and equipment. Tailor-made products for patients based on medical scans and imaging data mean that additive manufacturing products can be completely customized without adding cost, which is unmatched by any other manufacturing process.
Then, use additive manufacturing to produce products, shorten lead times, save on transportation costs and reduce environmental impact.
This shows that 3D printing technology helps many companies reset the supply chain.
Compared to traditional machining processes, additive manufacturing enables the production of more complex and structurally sound parts. The parts produced are highly functional and lightweight. In addition, 3D printing can achieve economical and rapid iterations, cutting off the relationship between scale and cost, and promoting the development of customization.
Now, how is the development of 3D printing in different fields?
Aerospace is the primary application area for additive manufacturing technology because of the high strength-weight performance and design freedom of the additive manufacturing process. Not only can parts be geometrically optimized, aircraft weight is reduced, fuel life is extended, and engine efficiency can be improved through part design optimization, so more and more parts are produced through additive manufacturing.
The automotive industry was the first to start applying additive manufacturing for rapid prototyping. With the development of 3D printing technology, its application in the automotive industry has gradually increased and is constantly improving. From conceptual design and early prototypes to small-scale component production for demonstration and test models, additive manufacturing has become a routine application in automotive product development processes.
Consumer goods and fast moving consumer goods
The consumer goods industry is one of the major application industries for 3D printing technology, especially for rapid iterations of design prototypes. 3D printing brings design freedom to the consumer goods industry, enabling rapid iterations and faster time-to-market. Similarly, cost-effective small-scale production makes design iterations possible. At the same time, advanced materials for printing add to the functionality and value of the product.
3D printing has been used to manufacture surgical cutting tools, implants, prosthetics, and related insole and rehabilitation splints for specific patients. CT and MRI scan data can also be used to print patient pathology for preoperative planning, education, and physician training. Surgeons can use these models to plan complex surgical procedures in advance, reducing surgery time and associated costs and risks.
Nowadays, 3D printing has become a norm in the education industry. Many universities have begun to increase the opportunities for students to learn 3D printing technology and understand the manufacturing process that is most suitable for 3D printing. 3D printing technology will also play an active role in education.
Although it is impossible to accurately predict the growth of the additive manufacturing market, it is undoubted that the adoption of additive manufacturing technology as a growth and innovation engine has reached a certain level, and subversion is already close at hand!