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3D Printing: Redesigning Industrial manufacturing

3D Printing: Redesigning Industrial manufacturing

November 12, 2016 1:56 pm

Manufacturing industries are relying on 3D Printing to speed up the time to market and cut the costs. We take a look at this technique that has redesigned Industrial Manufacturing.

3D Printing has brought a revolution in the manufacturing industry. According to a research on 3D Printing Market by printer type, material type (metals, plastics, ceramics and others), material form (powder, liquid, filament), process, technology, software, service, application, vertical and geography – global forecast to 2022, the 3D Printing market is expected to reach $30.19 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 28.5 per cent between 2016 and 2022. Let’s take at how 3D Printing has brought a change in the industrial manufacturing.

The booming market and the fall in the cost of the printers will give birth to some new competitors in the traditional market. In addition to this, the innovative new products that will be used as prototypes are going to significantly reduce the price and the risk factor of fabricating them. The 3D Printing technology is going to have a significant impact on the way how manufacturers do their business.

A Billion Dollar market
Industrial materials, automobile parts and heavy duty machinery are the primary markets for 3D Printing.Sectors like tools, moulds and casting parts form the secondary market for 3D Printing. A tremendous amount of integration by a number of industries is taking place at the prototyping stage of production. Miniature equipments that are required for a smartphone are now being manufactured using 3D Printing technology.

3D Printing will soon dominate the manufacturing market across the globe for the functional parts, fit and finish components and the moulds and tooling area when it comes to heavy duty equipment or machinery.
Mass production of industrial parts is an area where 3D Printing will have a major opportunity. Developing prototypes, functional and medical parts are the areas where the application of this technology lies in. The speed at which the technology has developed, the flexibility and the perfect size dimensions makes it a blessing for this technology to achieve new opportunities in manufacturing.

When asked P J Mohanram, Senior Advisor, IMTMA about the emerging role of 3d Printing in industrial manufacturing, he says, “Beginning from early 2000’s 3D printing has been gaining popularity. The growth in its sales have driven down prices drastically. Rapid prototyping was initially used as a tool to create 3D samples of new designs to check appearance, aesthetics and functionality. Over the last few years 3D printing has developed to produce intricate components in metal, plastics, ceramics, etc. which can be directly used in industrial products. 3D printing is expected to be an important manufacturing method in situations requiring complex parts in smaller numbers, such as in aviation, medical instrumentation, etc.”

Material cost saving
Manufacturing process will be extremely precise and will have infinite options with the help of 3D Printing. The 3D Printing process is an additive process, in contrast to the current process that is known as a subtractive one. To understand this in a better way, let’s take an example. With the current technique, if a part from aluminium block is to be made out, the block is placed into the the CAD system and the excess material is cleared out. In the process, almost 60-70 per cent of aluminium is wasted as scrap, depending on the complexity and the shape needed. The scrap is melted and used later.

In case of 3D Printing , the manufacturers have the benefit of using the minimum material that is needed to fabricate a part. With the help of a 3d printer, the melting down of excess scrap material can be easily eliminated. This will deduce the material cost for the manufacturer. In general, this will be a boon for the material industry as the 3D Printing technology will significantly reduce the capital that is stuck up in the raw materials.

Speaking about the emerging role of 3D Printing, D S Totre, Vice President, Premier Ltd says, “3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is well equipped to transform product development lifecycles with unforeseen design freedom, affordable customisation, a manufacturing revolution lowering costs stateside, and encouraging innovation by engineers for unique needs and applications on-demand.”

He further says, “We can quantify the impact of 3D printing in manufacturing by evaluating the past few decades and, through past advancements, determine how 3D printing will continue to transform, benefit and revolutionise current production business models. Instead of designing for manufacturing, we can manufacture for design. Rather than using 3D printing to make simple objects that don’t take full advantage of the unique benefits of this technology, 3D printing should be viewed in light of distinct, challenging and custom objects. Around 67 per cent of the 100 industrial manufacturers surveyed are using 3D printing in some way, with 25 per cent stating they plan to implement 3D printing in the near future. GE in particular is leading the way in taking full advantage of the benefits offered by 3D printing.

Rapid prototyping a product via 3D printing prior to hard tooling is a key solution to long lead times and expensive machined or handmade prototypes. 3D printing offers fast iterations with excellent precision, tolerance and repeatability.

Additive manufacturing is frequently used to make high fidelity, quick turnaround master patterns with excellent surface detail for silicone tools and investment casting.

Improving cost calculation
The 3D Printing technology has the potential to drastically cut down the incremental unit costs for a manufacturer. There are great chances that a part designed on a 3d printer could probably cost lesser than the one that is manufactured using the traditional process.

The industry is closely inching to a point where the fully allocated costs associated with 3D Printing will fall well below the traditional manufacturing process. In that case, then there will be a complete shift in the way industrial manufacturing is done.

Future Implication of 3D Printing
Automotive industry is inching to reap the benefits of 3D Printing , mostly for prototyping and parts manufacturing. There are high chances that 3D Printing will be applied in front line manufacturing due to the fast processing speed, high production units, and viable manufacturing methods for finished parts. The measurable benefits and cost-cutting in using 3D Printing instead of heavy processing manufacturing machinery and equipment, it makes parts which are cheaper, lighter and faster with improved product cycle. These salient features on the 3d Printing technology make it a boon for the manufacturing industries.

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