Industry Trends

How to Maximize 3D Printing in Manufacturing

3d printing manufacturing

Manufacturing is about maximization. It’s what makes efficiency the primary objective of any manufacturing business. In a time where efficient, effective innovation is the largest driving force of business continuity, it should come as no surprise that 3D printing presents manufacturing business owners with the opportunity to perform as efficiently as possible.

Although it’s still young, 3D printing is already challenging best practices within the manufacturing industry. Therefore, it’s best to warn you: Don’t get left behind now. This isn’t information you should be unfamiliar with, though. As early as 2014, researchers at PWC collected data indicating that a little over 11 percent of manufacturing companies were using 3D printing to maximize not only the potential of 3D printing, but also that of their entire business.

We believe it’s safe to assume that this number will only continue to increase exponentially. We also believe it’s safe to assume that, on whichever day you find yourself reading this blog post, you’re probably feeling that innate, compelling desire to perform at the best of you and your business’ abilities. That’s where we come in. We’re breaking down how to maximize 3D printing for your manufacturing business.

Design Functional Prototypes

Modern manufacturing is growing in efficiency by the day. It makes sense, then, for you and your business to do the same. Prototyping is a good place to start. Often, however, the time spent on not only designing prototypes, but also quality checking them, is hard-earned money lost. That makes in-house, 3D prototyping worth serious consideration.

Take Bodo Huber, chief technology officer of PHYTEC, a module and computer manufacturing company, as an example.

“It (now) takes us 12-18 hours depending on the size and complexity of a board to print a PCB (Printed Circuit Board), this is easily 10 to 15 times faster than ordering PCBs the traditional way, Huber quoted in a recent article. “So within one working day, our production facility gets access to the first new PCB of a new design.”

That’s an impressive turnaround, as well as a significant increase in efficiency. This is about functionality, especially in the context of our modern industry. Now imagine what prototyping in-house could do for you and your business. You’re probably thinking about the ways in which you’ll constructively spend time producing materials and monetary gains you and your business deserves instead of passively waiting for someone else to make mistakes for you. And for good reason, too.

Facilitate Product Maximization

Product maximization is rooted in innovation. That’s what makes it difficult, yet integral, to the long-term success of your manufacturing business. 3D printing makes that process easier, and arguably, more enjoyable for you and your team. It’s a tangible experience. But it’s also one that can provide intangible skillsets, visions and insights to better products for your targeted demographics.

Simply put, this leads directly to profit maximization, or what ultimately determines the profit value of the product or services you and your business are providing. And it relates to what FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. said in a recent interview:

In recent years, we’ve seen significant advances in the modernization of drug manufacturing, including shifts to continuous manufacturing and the first 3D-printed drug. These advancements have led to improved products for patients and consumers and the opportunity to have a more stable and lower cost supply chain.”

By facilitating product maximization, and ultimately allowing your manufacturing business’ products to be the best they can be, 3D printing will also increase your profit margin. In turn, that will allow your business to grow in ways that could have been potentially unimaginable.

Produce Efficient Volumes

Aside from allowing your products to being better versions of their previous selves, as well as maximizing the value of them within the process, 3D printing can also accomplish another money-saving objective: producing an efficient volume level. In other words, 3D printing decreases you and your business’ set-up costs by doing the majority of setting up on it’s own.

Molds are expensive. They’re arguably one of the most expensive parts of your manufacturing business’ supply chain. But once parts are involved and, eventually, order numbers, the entire process could become a sunken cost — a lost opportunity for you and your business to grow within exponentially growing potentiality. Why take that risk? By committing to 3D printing, you’re committing to your future.

That said, it’s logical to consider 3D printing as a comparatively inexpensive alternative method for facilitating a functionally efficient supply chain. When it comes down to it, decisions like these will further not only the stability of your business, but, arguably more importantly, the innovative standing it will represent.

Create Virtual Inventories

With the preceding maximization call to actions in mind, one entity is, quite literally, being built up: your manufacturing business’ new virtual inventory. 3D printing facilitates efficiency in every aspect of business planning and organization. It’s in that way in which the future of your business lies. Especially because, at the end of the day, manufacturing is about sustaining a consistent profit margin while also maintaining as little waste as possible.

There is little reason, especially in our modern context, to continue creating only to allow work go to waste. In fact, it’s exactly that kind of waste that weighs you down. Why create when there isn’t need? And in turn, why store when there isn’t demand? It’s these questions that showcase the true benefit of 3D printing: leveraged maximization.

Let’s talk 3D printing in manufacturing

As a business owner, your primary objective is to allow your business to continue production at a high level for years to come. It makes sense, then, to rid your business of anything that could, potentially, negatively affect your plan. That’s where 3D printing comes in. At this point, it still may sound like a foreign concept, but given the direction our world is headed, as well as the benefits listed within this blog post, it is important to keep in mind just how 3D printing can maximize your business for years to come.

How is your business utilize 3d printing in manufacturing? Share your stories with us on twitter at @AppleRubber.