The manufacturing sector is constantly seeking new and inventive methods to operate more efficiently with lower costs.
Commercial 3D printers have been considered the most viable alternative for mainstream industry usage in recent years. As operating costs for 3D printing technology, equipment, and materials, have decreased due to recent technological advancements.
But many companies are still unsure if commercial 3D printers have advanced enough to be suitable for mass manufacturing. So, to determine the scale in which commercial 3D printers become viable options for mass production demands, this article examines the benefits commercial 3D printers provides compared to traditional manufacturing.
Commercial 3D Printers Production Volume
When switching to production 3D printing, businesses will be able to contemplate short-run part production, allowing product teams to introduce new products more often. Commercial 3D printers provide an agile development process for physical parts, as well as the potential to speed up manufacturing and time to market, well beyond the limitations of traditional manufacturing approaches.
When manufacturing the initial few hundred pieces, commercial 3D printing is undeniably superior to traditional methods. But for large-scale manufacturing, commercial 3D printing has its faults. Despite the fast advancement of production 3D printing, in most situations, commercial 3D printers cannot match the significant production scales of traditional manufacturing methods like injection moulding, for example.
Commercial 3D Printers Design Complexity
One of the most significant advantages of production 3D printing over traditional manufacturing methods is the capacity to create nearly any shape that a designer may conceive. There are no design boundaries when it comes to production 3D printing because 3D printed objects are developed virtually first and then produced in a very short amount of time.
Standard production processes have stifled product design for many years. However, with so many advancements already achieved and more to come in the future with the power of commercial 3D printers, the design possibilities are infinite with production 3D printing.
Geometries previously impossible to produce, such as holes that change direction or square internal chambers, are now these sorts of designs are more feasible and less challenging to create with production 3D printing.
Commercial 3D Printers Production Costs
What about the price, though? Traditional manufacturing processes are notoriously costly, but production 3D printing enables the manufacture to produce more affordable and accessible goods, depending on the magnitude and complexity of the design.
Unlike traditional manufacturing, which requires many people to operate a variety of machinery or a production line to put a single product together, production 3D printing eliminates these requirements.
Before the commercial 3D printers begin manufacturing, each 3D printer will require an operator to turn it on. As a result, when commercial 3D printers are used for production, labour costs are considerably reduced because trained machinists and operators are not required.
Due to the design flexibility that commercial 3D printing offers, companies can check a design before committing it to large-scale production. This reduces the chances of mistakes, wasted resources, and money, especially when considering that a 3D prototype is easier to modify and change than anything made using a traditional approach.
Plus, manufacturers will no longer need to create minimum order quantities to justify the production expenditures with production 3D printing. Traditional manufacturing processes rely on mass production efficiency and require a huge number of assembly employees, but production 3D printing only requires the filament material and not much more to complete an order.
Commercial 3D Printers Production Line Flexibility
A production 3D printing line is more accessible to modify than a typical manufacturing production line, making commercial 3D printers more viable choices for production efficiency.
The whole manufacturing process may be modified and adapted to match the printing line’s speed. As a result, technological upgrades, print speed adjustments, and even product changes may be made practically immediately. Compared to previous production systems, making necessary modifications and resuming production might take several weeks or months.
Thanks to production 3D printing, it is now feasible to create ideas more quickly. It may be feasible to design and print 3D ideas on the same day in some cases, but in terms of large-scale production, it is unquestionably quicker than traditional methods. This can help businesses cut their manufacturing time from months to days while staying ahead of the competition.
What are the Obstacles to Production 3D Printing?
As a result, compared to conventional production, commercial 3D printers for manufacturing offer various exciting and distinct advantages. Efficiency, speed, waste reduction, fewer mistakes, and lower prices are just a few advantages of adopting 3D printing for production.
Nonetheless, it is also essential to highlight the obstacles commercial 3D printers face when used for large scale production. Identifying the hurdles that production 3D printing offers will assist businesses in determining if commercial 3D printers will work for their unique circumstances.
When it comes to the production of large-scale parts, utilising commercial 3D printers have various obstacles that businesses must overcome, such as:
- The initial cost of the equipment,
- The resources accessible to you in your field,
- Needs for post-processing,
- (Lack of) expertise,
- Capabilities and software development,
These are not the only obstacles organisations will encounter when utilising 3D printing, but the financial consequences will be the most significant.
The Final Answer: Can Commercial 3D Printers Keep up with Mass Production Demands?
There is no easy solution to this article’s question; there are simply too many variables.
Traditional manufacturing processes, for example, can create a million plastic pots faster and cheaper than commercial 3D printers. Why? Because a million pieces is a large amount, but also because a pot isn’t a highly complex form.
On the other hand, if you need a quick and inexpensive way to create complicated forms, commercial 3D printers are the way to go. Why? Because creating an object with a detailed form is incredibly difficult and costly with traditional manufacturing.
The best answer is that commercial 3D printers can be used for mass manufacturing, but it depends significantly on what you want to make!
Discover how your business can start to implement production 3D printing with a leading Commercial 3D Printer Supplier. Catering for a range of budgets, functions, and technologies, suitable for R&D professionals, production lines and the classroom, get in contact with the experts today. They are ready to help you choose the best product for your application with expert advice!