It’s no secret that 3D printing has come an extremely long way in a fairly short period of time. The technology was originally developed in the 1980s by Charles Hull, as a means of producing polymer items.
As we wrote in a blog earlier this year, if there is one industry that looks set to explode in coming years, it is 3D printing. From human organs to complex components for aircraft, 3D technology has made some colossal inroads in recent years. Much of the excitement surrounding 3D printing can be pinned on the fact this type of manufacturing process enables companies to ‘grow’ parts and products rather than “subtracting” materials. Consequently, as Forbes notes, 3D printing, also known as Additive Manufacturing (AM), is being welcoming by both large industrial corporations, SMEs and young entrepreneurs.
So will having the ability to ‘grow’ the likes of Sferax linear bearings, Sirem Gearboxes, Tschan rollastic couplings and Zurrer worm gears, opposed to buying them from the manufacturer, help save businesses money?
Forbes writer Joann Muller, who specialises in industrial innovation within the auto industry, notes how industrial 3D printing will transform business and save money.
Describing how “growing parts by laser” will dramatically change business, Muller writes:
“There is a profound opportunity ahead to design objects that are “value-engineered” to simply do more. We see this cross all markets, from consumer to medical, where our customers are investing new categories of business.”
“Moreover, such innovations can truly be made anywhere in the world – thereby promoting domestic production and greater in-country consumption. Beyond its reshoring possibilities, AM now means build-it-where-you-sell-it: create to local needs in only the volumes necessary. And radically change supply-chain economics along the way,” Muller added.
Reducing the costs of manufacturing
The Guardian talks of how the business world is beginning to understand the potential of 3D printing, as a “cost-effective, efficient and environmentally-friendly” form of manufacturing.
“With increasing adoption, the technology will revolutionise manufacturing as well as the supply chain and logistics which surround it,” states The Guardian.
One of the reasons businesses will be able to save on manufacturing costs is related to transportation, as businesses will be able to station local manufacturing centres closer to strategic markets. Such regional manufacturing centres will also tackle concerns involving inventory, particularly, as The Guardian writes, “For the industrial spare parts and consumer sectors selling highly customised products.”
So far has the 3D printing industry become that according to the analyst firm Canalyst, the industry looks set to reach £10.3 billion by 2018.
As the cost of 3D printing becomes increasingly competitive, this advanced form of manufacturing looks set to improve business’s manufacturing turnaround times, ultimately providing more cost-effective solutions for industrial parts, such as Berges speed bels, Centrex clutches, Danfoss bauer industrial gearboxes, and other vital industrial components.
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