Customer’s today are very different from 10 years ago.

The world is different from 10 years ago.

Today’s customers demand different services like, flexibility and speed. Manufacturing industries are always searching for new techniques to decrease costs and materials, and expand their capabilities to meet those demands of their customers.

With different demands and continued industry growth, comes additive manufacturing, this is the next industrial revolution, also called Industry 4.0.

The traditional manufacturing method, which has been the go to process since the 40s, refers to a subtractive method and typically implemented in a commercial space. Traditional manufacturing is still used today, but companies are starting to use more and more additive manufacturing methods for their businesses.

Additive manufacturing, also referring to 3D printing, is changing the manufacturing process.

Why is that?

Companies are transitioning to 3D printing to increase speed, to increase design freedom and customization, and to become more cost-effective.

Increased speed and design freedom with 3D printing, but how?

When comparing the two methods of manufacturing, additive manufacturing is much faster, taking only a couple of days for an application to be printed, shipped and in hand, where traditional manufacturing can take upwards of 15 days to 2 months. This difference in speed is because additive manufacturing does not need tooling in the process, eliminating that time that tooling would be built, unlike traditional manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing offers more freedom in designing applications. This is because additive manufacturing can print in low volumes, resulting in the ability to make an unlimited amount of changes to a design. The printing speed also allows for more design freedom because companies can get their applications in their hands in roughly two days compared to a few weeks.
For example, Ford used 3D printing to print brackets for the parking brake system on the Ford Mustang. They had a total of 19 different design iterations where they could address all the failures that came across during the validation process. They had one instance that the bracket cracked, they figured out why it cracked and redesigned it and had another one printed the next day being cost-effective and timely.

How does 3D printing become more cost-effective than traditional methods?

Additive manufacturing can have low production volume and remove the tooling, compared to traditional manufacturing where mass production would have to take place to even out overhead costs, like tooling, labor and production. With additive manufacturing, the cost remains the same no matter the amount, resulting in lower costs and the ability to produce low volumes.
For example, again, when Ford used 3D printing to print brackets for the parking brake system on the Ford Mustang. They had a cost avoidance that came from tooling, where traditional manufacturing would require stamping the tooling.

3D printing is the new today.