For any business to turn a profit, it is important to spend as less as possible on labor, transportation, and raw material. A new technology which is helping manufacturers do so is 3D printing, by reducing the material wastage during conventional processes, by up to 10%.
Additionally, it is an automated process, which reduces the requirement for labor, and, in turn, operational costs. Though some skilled labor is needed, the technology still results in substantial cost savings, especially for complicated processes.
With the use of 3D printing, not only have 20 parts combined into one, but the final product has also become lighter and more efficient. Thus, with the technology becoming popular among manufacturers, the 3D printing market
is expected to progress to $31.8 million by 2023, from $8.5 billion in 2017, at a 24.6% CAGR during the forecast period (2018–2023).
On the transportation front, the new technology does away with the need for manufacturing individual parts at distant places and then shipping them to the assembly line.
The process involves manufacturing a product by adding material in successive layers. For instance, General Electric Company is using the process to manufacture jet nozzles, which earlier required individually producing over 20 parts and then welding them together.
The technology is used for product development, prototyping, efficiency increment, innovation, supply chain improvement, cost reduction, and several other purposes.
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During 2013–2017, its widest adoption was for prototyping, owing to the rapid adoption of this process, primarily in the automotive, electronics, consumer products, aerospace & defense, and medical industries. Prototyping helps companies test the products before commercialization and implement changes, to improve their efficiency.
With 3D printing, prototypes can be produced quickly as well as cost-effectively, which is important in times of the rife competition among businesses.