Executive Briefings

True Innovation Lost by Applying Conventional Values to 3D Technology

A mentor often repeated this: "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." Product designers who are working with 3D printing design, development and manufacturing should take heed. Design the way you've always designed, and you won't get anything out of 3D printing that's different from what you've always gotten before 3D printing.

This is a key ingredient in the secret sauce of additive manufacturing, and it was one Todd Grimm, president of T.A. Grimm & Associates, a leading analyst, consultant, and industry advisor in the technology, hammered home recently. "Do not look at 3D printing as a substitute for what you’re doing well,” he said. “Look at things you’re not doing well.”

That, he meant, is solving strength, structural or use-performance issues with a complex part through 3D printing. And that requires designers to flip their thinking on its head – or, at least, its side – when conceptualizing a part and planning for the production of it. The manufacturing sector holds closely the doctrines of lower cost and greater efficiency. 3D printing may never match the speed of injection molding, but why should it, really? To apply conventional values to an unconventional technology is to miss out on true innovation.

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This is a key ingredient in the secret sauce of additive manufacturing, and it was one Todd Grimm, president of T.A. Grimm & Associates, a leading analyst, consultant, and industry advisor in the technology, hammered home recently. "Do not look at 3D printing as a substitute for what you’re doing well,” he said. “Look at things you’re not doing well.”

That, he meant, is solving strength, structural or use-performance issues with a complex part through 3D printing. And that requires designers to flip their thinking on its head – or, at least, its side – when conceptualizing a part and planning for the production of it. The manufacturing sector holds closely the doctrines of lower cost and greater efficiency. 3D printing may never match the speed of injection molding, but why should it, really? To apply conventional values to an unconventional technology is to miss out on true innovation.

Read Full Article