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In today’s highly competitive marketplace, innovation must be achieved faster and cheaper. That’s why manufacturers have to be more innovative in their delivery by making product design easier, shortening development cycles and reducing costs to survive and win.
As of now, the fourth industrial revolution 3D printing sweeps around the world and is tipping at the point; it is fundamentally reshaping how an organization operates and its employees work in manufacturing.
It empowers manufacturers to use data-driven intelligence to transform their business processes and enrich their market by combining value-added services with innovative products. However, 3D printing has been around for 30 years. But how did it come into existence? What had it accomplished? What was the need for it? Want to know the answers to these questions?
If yes, buckle up your seat belts as in this article; we are going to take you through the 3D printing journey that changed manufacturing forever.
3D printing is the process of creating a three-dimensional object from a digital document, and it uses an additive approach to make a 3D printed solid object. In an additive process, the 3D object is made by layering down successive layers of material.
While creating a 3D object in an additive process, you can see a thinly sliced cross-section of the thing. As subtracting manufacturing is cutting out and hollowing out a piece of metal or plastic, for instance, a milling machine, 3D printing is far opposite.
It all starts with creating a 3D model. You have two choices. One, you can make it from the ground up, or you can download it from a 3D library. From industrial grade to open source, you will find many different software tools.
But if you are a beginner, we will recommend you start with Tinkercad. Tinkercad is a free software tool that works in your browser, and you do not even have to install it on your computer.
Tinkercad comes with a built-in feature that will allow you to export your 3D model as a printable file like OBJ or STL. Now, you have a printable file, and next, you have to prepare it for your 3D printer, known as slicing.
Slicing: Slicing is known as cutting down your 3D model into hundreds or thousands of layers, and it is done with slicing software. Once your printable file is sliced into pieces, you are ready for 3D printing.
Firstly, you have to feed your sliced file into your printer using USB, Wifi or SD. After doing that, your sliced file is ready to be 3D printed layer by layer.
3D printing has a disruptive behaviour that is beginning to change the manufacturing industry. As 3D printing has reduced the costs and resources used, it has caused a shift in how many companies manufacture their goods.
3D printing changed the manufacturing industry entirely. For example, how many manufactured goods are made, how companies benefit from 3D printing and the economic effects of 3D printing.
The disruptive nature of 3D printing uses multiple printer jets to lay down different materials simultaneously. That’s why many companies are developing conductive materials and methods of printing micro batteries directly into the surfaces of consumer electronic devices.
Due to the enormous appeal of limiting assembly work, 3D printing pushes manufacturing equipment to grow larger.
From food to medical supplies to astronauts flying aircrafts, 3D printing can democratize the production of goods. Now, it is making its way to the home, business and even outer space.
Below, we will talk about where 3D printing is used to progress many of the Global goals and can make a further impact.
3D printing is used to get essential goods and services like affordable housing to disaster areas and refugee camps. It will allow workers and stakeholders to have access to the tools to recover. For example, the United Nations is incorporating 3D printing for Earthquake response, including customized pipe parts.
3D printing is also encouraging us to use more old and sustainable materials. Using 3D printing, many researchers have found out how to convert carbon dioxide into concrete. As we approach climate action and sustainable living, the creative use of former waste to create future products opens up new possibilities.
In 2020, Coronavirus created a pandemic with significant mortality that poses challenges for health workers and patients. It resulted in shortening the PPE kit, overwhelming the healthcare system.
In this case, 3D printing addresses the shortage of face shields, masks and ventilators and suggests potential applications for creating PPE kits for healthcare workers. The primary advantage of 3D printing is the potential for innovative and cost-effective applications for addressing this global crisis.
In 2014, the ISM project at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center sent the first 3D printer. It used a fused filament fabrication process feeding a continuous thread of plastic to create 3D objects.
It created dozens of parts that researchers analyzed and compared with claims made on the ground. They revealed that microgravity had no engineering-significant effects on the process. Also, it demonstrates that a 3D printer works typically in space and paves the way to new logistics systems for a long-duration space mission.
Restaurants like Melisse and Food Ink are using 3D printing as a unique selling point to attract customers worldwide.
Here is one of the best examples of how 3D printing is revolutionizing the goods being produced? SavorEat is a company that is known for creating alternatives to meats through 3D printing. Recently, they announced a partnership with Sodexo to provide their customers with gluten-free and vegan products.
Nowadays, 3D printed implants are common to see. But still, it is a fringe technology in the medical and healthcare sectors. More than 100,000 hip replacements have been 3D printed over the last decades.
A hexagonal cell structure called the Delta-TT cup is characterized by 3D printing that imitates trabecular bone morphology. Another 3D printed healthcare product that did a great job is a hearing aid.
3D printing technology is also used in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are made using inkjet techniques. Layers of living cells are put onto a gel medium creating a 3D structure, and we can call it bioprinting.
Students and educators are also using 3D printing to materialize their ideas in fast and affordable ways. Universities have started offering courses on 3D printing like CAD and 3D design.
However, many university programs turned into 3D printing in terms of prototyping that are common in the arts, animation and fashion studies.
Image Source:- investopedia.com
It doesn’t matter if a new idea has travelled through rails; 3d printing offers many benefits over traditional processes. Below, we mentioned some of the benefits.
3D printing has created many positive and negative impacts in the manufacturing industry. Due to its disruptive nature shifted how companies manufactured their products as costs, resources, and waste were reduced. The technology removes all the extra or unnecessary parts of production in many companies, thus significantly increasing their productivity.
Lastly, we can say that 3D printing is the prime example of disruptive technology as it reshapes the manufacturing industry through technological determinism.