3D Printing Technology: The Perfect ‘DISRUPTION’ to Your Creative Cycle

3D Printing Expert

Posted on September 14 2016

What 3D Printing has done is brought offshore prototype molding to your engineer’s workplace.

It’s a simple structure, a complex cycle, and it’s tameable. Companies are usually sedated in adapting because leaders have ironed out the negatives and have built annual plans around the system they're using, which usually is bound by dynamic creative hurdles that they simply weather every year as they innovate and bring new and different goods to market. 3D Printing lets you cut that “creative cycle” by literally months. In fact, you can go from “pencil and paper” to a full-size replica in the exact materials you envision overnight if you choose. What did you use to do? Decide a design, ship it overseas where it waits in line to be molded, then the “prototypes” are shipped to you weeks after the design was finalized. Imagine all the keen thoughts you had at the point of design that, if you didn’t memorialize, have simply evaporated in your mind because it’s difficult to remember the cool nuances you thought of during the creative flow if you didn’t “log” your suggestions to assess when the prototype finally lands on your desk. 3D Printing cuts all those corners. Here’s what's critical to that flow: your designs, your secrets, your approach and your colors, the full bundle of your idea sits comfortably, securely, in your desk drawer. It’s not in the hands of an OEM provider where who knows who has access to your best ideas that will change your sales next season. Here’s a quick “3D Print 101 For Slow Adapters,” in the terms, anybody can understand. The molding is enriched because the machinery actually builds your product from the inside out, instead of from a glob that it whittles down to your desired shape. So, a more careful, keen approach is taken from the outset. This technology is so mind-boggling groovy, any key critical thinker will understand the value of this asset that could be sitting in the wasted corner space of your engineer’s cluttered domain. George Jetson would be envious of this technology!

THE HISTORY: AM -- Additive Marketing .... dates back to 1983 and the invention of stereolithography. AM & 3D Printing are interchangeable terms: Printing because it “layers on” “A process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies.” In common practice, the terms “AM” and “3D printing” are used interchangeably. AM can aid their companies’ performance, growth, and innovation goals, we offer a detailed framework in our report 3D opportunity: Additive manufacturing paths to performance, innovation, and growth, available on Deloitte University Press. We also offer specific insights for key industries:

3D opportunity for aerospace and defense: Additive manufacturing takes flight

3D opportunity for the automotive industry: Additive manufacturing hits the road

3D opportunity in medical technology: Additive manufacturing comes to life

For a complete catalog of material available from Deloitte on additive manufacturing, please see here.

Advantages of AM Design complexity: AM enables the creation of intricate designs to precise dimensions that are difficult or impossible to create using traditional methods.Speed to market: AM systems can manufacture products with little or no tooling, saving time during product design and development and enabling on-demand manufacturing.Waste reduction: AM typically uses less extraneous material when manufacturing components, thus significantly reducing or eliminating scrap and waste during production. This makes AM a more efficient process. Advantages of traditional manufacturing Mass production: Traditional manufacturing is well-suited for high-volume production where fixed tooling and setup costs can be amortized over a larger number of units. Additive manufacturing is generally more competitive for low-to-medium volume production runs.Choice of materials: Traditional manufacturing techniques can be deployed to a wide variety of materials, while additive manufacturing predominantly uses a narrower range of polymers, metals, ceramics, and composites. Manufacturing large parts: Compared with AM systems, which are constrained by the envelope sizes currently available, traditional machining is better suited to manufacturing large parts. Overall, AM offers companies an array of time efficiencies and cost reductions throughout the product lifecycle and supply chain, as well as greater flexibility in design and product customization than traditional manufacturing. These benefits will likely drive increasing levels of AM adoption going forward. Two key areas of benefit include: Workflow streamlining: AM can reduce prototype development time and shorten review cycles. Since AM processes are viewed as generating less scrap and using fewer tools, materials, and parts than traditional manufacturing—as well as reduced assembly and inventory demands—substantial cost benefits can be anticipated. Flexible design and product customization: AM processes offer rapid iteration of designs and enable low-volume print-on-demand applications. The ability to engage and influence the customer experience through custom, same-day production may have ramifications in consumer and industrial products end markets.

AM PROCESSES, TECHNOLOGIES, AND APPLICATIONS Functional prototypes and end-use parts built through AM technologies have wide applications in industries such as industrial & consumer products, automotive, medical, and aerospace. AM technologies use a variety of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and composites, and deploy multiple different processes to address issues such as design complexity, surface finish, unit cost, the speed of operations, and others. To meet diverse requirements, industrial-grade AM systems are available in the market ranging in cost from less than $10,000 to $1 million—and more.

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