3D printing is now manufacturers’ favorite as it offers exhaustive benefits to the manufacturing companies. 3D printing or, as otherwise termed, additive manufacturing helps create or construct three-dimensional items from a digital 3D or CAD model by using a 3D printer. With the demand for the 3D printer being high in the trade market, owning a 3D printing business appears to be beneficial.
However, similar to other advanced technologies, 3D printing has both advantages and disadvantages to offer to us.
Advantages of Owning a 3D Printing Service?
The manufacturing industry considers 3D printing as a more beneficial way than other traditional methods of manufacturing products. The advantages are-
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1. Flexibility in Design:
3D printers help in manufacturing more complicated designs as compared to the traditional process. While traditional manufacturing processes have limitations, 3D printing offers cutting-edge technology in fast prototyping. A 3D printer only takes a few hours to create several hundred prototypes of an item.
The process is quicker, cost-saving, and work-efficient than any traditional production machine.
2. On-Demand Printing:
The on-demand printing facility is a great advantage. You can stock the 3D printing inventory in less space than the traditional process. Moreover, the flexibility of on-demand printing means you can avoid bulk printing save cost and space.
3D printing uses a virtual storage library to store as STL or CAD 3D model. This virtual storage ensures easy editing at a lower cost.
3. Leightweight, Yet Strong Parts:
Plastic is the primary material in use while 3D printing. Thus, the products you get are mostly lightweight than any metal product. It is because of this feature that the aerospace and automotive industry choose 3D printing. To add to the features, 3D printing offers customization where you can add features like higher strength, heat resistance, etc.
4. Faster Production:
As mentioned earlier, 3D printing services offer faster designing and production. The complexity of the design determines the time it takes to manufacture a product or its part. Even editing the STL or CAD file is faster. Hence it improves delivery time.
5. Waste Reduction:
The 3D printing process utilizes or cuts maximum chunks from the raw material to manufacture parts in an attempt to reduce wastage. It reduces the cost of raw materials and saves resources.
Based on the information above, we can easily conclude that the 3D printing business is not only time-saving but also cost-effective in the following ways-
- All manufacturing processes in one machine
- Semi-automated manufacturing method
- Doesn’t need operator’s assistance
- Makes optimum use of raw materials
- Faster bulk production
The majority of the manufacturing company now prefer to outsource 3D printing services as the initial investment for machinery is high.
3D printing technology reduces raw material wastage. As the manufacturing process uses non-recyclable raw materials, their optimum use adds to the eco-friendliness. The process is also fuel-efficient.
Disadvantages of a 3D Printing Business
Though the 3D printing procedure is beneficial in several ways, the technology is not free of drawbacks, affecting businesses in the long run.
- Setting up a 3D printing business requires a high investment in machinery in the initial phase.
- Procuring raw materials for 3D printing can be exhausting as the technology works with selective plastics and metals, and not all the raw materials available are recyclable or food-safe.
- The print chambers in 3D printers are small in general, restricting the size of products or products parts. Thus manufacturing bigger parts can be time-consuming and costly, as you will need manual effort to assemble those parts.
- A 3D printer needs post-processing cleaning with sanding, water jetting, etc. It can is an additional cost to the manufacturing process. In short, 3D printing requires high maintenance.
- One of the biggest challenges with the 3D printing process is that the products it delivers have laminated layers. These layers always have a probability of delaminating under specific stress conditions, thus making certain products brittle.
- Depending on the printer or machinery you purchase for the 3D printing process, a lower-tolerance machine often delivers products that differ from their original blueprint. Fixing these errors lead to an increment in the production cost.
- 3D printing service, now becoming an easily accessible production technology, often leads to copyright issues for businesses. It even leads to quality control problems.
3D printing is a promising business opportunity in the modern world. The production of lightweight, cost-saving, and eco-friendly natures has urged the healthcare, automobile, and aerospace industries to choose 3D printing for manufacturing different equipment and their parts. Though there are certain challenges with the production process, it still remains advantageous for a business owner.