By Tania Longeau

Three-dimensional printing is an innovative 21st-century technology that streamlines your business. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing technology helps your business use fewer employees, less equipment, and fewer resources.

How Does 3D Printing Work?

You may have wondered, how does a 3D printer work? Essentially, a 3D printer uses molten plastic, or whatever material is loaded into it, and spurts this material from a small nozzle. Following the computer design plans, the 3D printer creates a three-dimensional object by slowly layering plastic on plastic, so that it builds the object from the bottom up.

This inspiring technology can reduce your overhead costs by keeping most of your manufacturing line in-house. When there’s a repair needed, you can replace or fix the problem much more quickly than with traditional machinery.

Your customer base will be more satisfied with the excellent quality of your product and the hyper-customization available when you work with additive manufacturing. Here are nine ways that 3D printing can benefit your business.

1. Resource Reduction

Three-dimensional printing is a whole new way of manufacturing goods. In the traditional reductive method of production, you start with a large amount of a resource and create a product from it—like carving a statue from a block of marble.

With additive manufacturing, you only use an exact amount of resources, reducing the material needed to create your product. This additive method of manufacturing is beneficial to both your overhead and the environment.

2. Customization

Especially for small businesses, 3D printing makes customizing your product, even those produced in large batches, extremely accessible.

In medical fields, 3D printing makes customizing implants or prosthetics a common practice. The aeronautics industry uses 3D printing to create exact pieces of machinery instead of trying to adapt a piece of machinery to a different use. With 3D printing, you can customize products for your customers efficiently and quickly.

3. Prototype Development

Often, companies need to create prototypes to attract investors and potential customers. In some instances, you need to create a prototype for every stage of development. However, this can be costly and time-consuming, especially if your production unit is not an in-house entity.

With additive manufacturing, you can easily create working prototypes at every stage and if there is a minute adjustment or error, it does not take a lot of time or money to correct the mistake.

4. Simplify Your Production Chain

With 3D printing, you can easily print replacement parts or other vital elements for your manufacturing chain without having to lengthen your production time drastically. Three-dimensional printers can replicate exact models of the missing piece or broken part, so you don’t have to order it or stop your whole supply chain to fix the problem.

5. Less Manpower

A traditional manufacturing plant is much more labor-intensive than a plant that uses additive manufacturing. Since a lot of 3D printing technology is computer-controlled, you don’t need as large a manufacturing plant, nor do you need as many employees to work the equipment, which cuts down on your overhead costs.

Additive technology is very adaptable; it can be operated remotely and uses a variety of raw materials. Much of the time, you can customize your 3D printing technology to your plant’s processes with a switch of software.

6. Fewer Pieces of Equipment

Three-dimensional printing equipment is more efficient than traditional manufacturing equipment because it uses fewer pieces to create a similar or higher-quality product. It can even be augmented or adjusted quickly to create a different outcome.

With less equipment, your company uses less space, which reduces the operating costs of your business. With additive manufacturing’s unique adaptive abilities, you won’t have to shut down your whole production line to adjust one piece of machinery. You can do it quickly with a versatile 3D printer, trimming time from your manufacturing process and saving you money.

7. Little-to-No Maintenance Fees

The prices of 3D printing supplies and printers are dropping, and additive manufacturing is becoming more reliable.

With only a few pieces of equipment to maintain, your maintenance fees and the cost of paying people to support the machinery goes down drastically, reducing your overhead.

8. No More Outsourcing

For many businesses, outsourcing is a necessity. You may need to order a particular piece or element of your product from an outside source. Outsourcing is a commonplace practice in the 20th- and 21st-century manufacturing world.

However, 3D printing can change all that. If you have an in-house 3D printing division, you can print the objects or elements that you need for your production line at minimal cost to your company. This practice also cuts down on the time it takes you to create your product, as you will not have to be reliant on another company’s timeline.

You may choose to use 3D printing but opt for hiring outside printing services for your company. Even using an outside 3D printing service can save you time and money. If the 3D printing service is not making your quota or is consistently late in delivering their product, you can choose a different 3D printing service that meets all of your expectations and deadlines.

9. Higher Customer Satisfaction

If all of these reasons aren’t enough to start looking into 3D printing as a viable manufacturing process for your business, consider what additive manufacturing can do for your company’s efficiency. With resource costs and manufacturing time lessening, you may see a spike in customer satisfaction with the delivery time and with the product itself.

Final Thoughts

Three-dimensional printing is becoming the chosen method of manufacturing for lots of companies. With additive manufacturing, entrepreneurs evolve into their own manufacturers and can produce product prototypes in a day instead of a week.

This new and versatile method of producing goods is becoming the best choice for companies in the 21st-century marketplace. Keep your company on the cutting edge of technology by adopting additive manufacturing.

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