Only a small minority of North American and European businesses consider their technology “advanced”. And with new tech incorporating faster, smarter systems with computer learning, complex algorithms, or even delivery drones, it can feel impossible to find the right equipment for your company. One of the possibilities is 3D printing.
The changing additive manufacturing field
Additive Manufacturing (or AM) refers to the technologies that create three-dimensional objects of all different sizes and materials. Just a few short years ago, 3D printing was only a small, budding aspect of the number of machines and software that go into producing these products.
Initially, a 3D printer could make smaller, plastic objects that had little to no relevant use or functionality. Think toys, decorative pieces, and early prototypes of more complex designs. The printers could create objects much faster than traditional machinery, thus allowing companies to test designs and functionality more efficiently.
Today, the capabilities of 3D printers have evolved beyond their initial use, and the true potential for the technology is starting to come to fruition as they are able to make bigger, more complex 3D objects faster than their predecessors. This reality poses a number of questions for manufacturing companies relating to how they will structure their business in the near future.
What happens from here?
As development for 3D printing grows, manufacturers will be happy to know that the technology is growing more affordable and accessible by the year. Owning a 3D printer and knowing how to use it properly can help prepare manufacturing businesses for the not-so-distant future.
Additionally, in 2019, certain 3D printers are aiming to incorporate new features that allow it to print using metal. The ability to print with this new material opens it up an entirely new manufacturing industry, and presents new alternatives to plastic. This likely means that more complex designs and large, heavy objects won’t be as much of a challenge to make on a 3D printer. Vehicle parts, construction machinery, and even weapon manufacturing would then be possible with these devices.
Like any technological breakthrough, 3D printing comes with its fair share of skeptics and people unwilling to adapt to the changing market. However, as the potential for these machines continues to grow, it looks as if 3D printing is here to stay.
Manufacturers need to constantly stay on top of the news and be flexible enough to adapt when necessary. And while it is no doubt a tumultuous, uncertain time in the AM field, there’s no denying the financial potential 3D printers add to the industry. So, while it may be a little longer before 3D printing becomes the standard tool for most manufacturers, it’s only a matter of time until the better technology wins out.