But that's just scratching the surface of 3-D printing's potential.
There’s still room to maximize the technology across their entire value chain, from design and engineering to the production floor and beyond. In a hypercompetitive industry like manufacturing, it’s important to leverage all the tools at your disposal. Here are six ways you can make the most of 3-D printing.
Manage Shorter Lead Times
While it can take months to build parts via traditional manufacturing, 3-D printing can build parts in just days or hours. There is no time lost developing a tool or waiting for a first shot off the mold. Design files are sent straight to the printer for fabrication, then post-processed as needed.
It can also expedite product development since any design tweaks don’t require added set-up costs for machining or tooling production, which can lead to delays. With 3-D printing, all it takes is a quick update to the design file, helping companies get to market quicker.
Design for Function
One of 3-D printing’s biggest benefits is its design freedom. Using traditional manufacturing methods, companies tend to design parts more for the manufacturing process rather than the part’s function, which means they could be left with a part not fully optimized for its intended use. With 3-D printing, there are no such compromises. Designers can maximize a part’s function through its design because 3-D printing allows them to incorporate challenging features directly with no added difficulty in the manufacturing process. Businesses still getting their feet wet with 3-D printing can get a fast win by using it to build manufacturing tooling and bridge production components.
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