3D Printing is revolutionizing many different businesses and industries. Its impact on business is just beginning to be felt. The biggest constraint on 3D printing is the need to design models using 3D drawing software. 3D scanning is changing all of this and allowing anyone capable of using a scanner can create a design that can be printed on a 3D printer.
According to Forbes, 22% of manufacturers predict 3D Printing will have a disruptive effect on supply chains in the next 3 – 5 years. As 3D scanning becomes cheaper and more available, 3D printing will change the ways we do business in many ways. Here are just 7 ways that 3D scanning and printing can enhance your business.
1. Quick Prototyping
If you are trying to come up with a new product, your company spends a lot of time prototyping, especially if you are sending your work offsite. With 3D printing and scanning, you can keep it on site. You can rapidly prototype potential products so that any design flaws or problems can be quickly corrected. The prototype quality can be as good as the final product. This opens a tremendous avenue to quickly develop new products and get them on the market.
2. Custom Parts Manufacturing
In just in time manufacturing, any downtime can grind a business to a halt. This means that if a part goes out on a machine, you need to wait for the replacement part. Even with FedEx overnight, there is too much costly downtime. 3D printed can change this.
An old part can be scanned in and a design can be created. Once the design is created, the product can be quickly printed out. Some forward-thinking companies have already made design files for replacement available for customers to print out their own replacement parts and avoid downtime.
3. Experimental Design
3D printing and 3D scanning encourage much more experimental design in companies. Since products can be cheaply and rapidly prototyped, engineers and designers can experiment with their designs and functionality. TriMet said, “Through experimentation, they can discover new designs that look better and discover better ways to tackle problems.” These new designs can set your business apart from other business. Your perceived product value can increase as well as the value of your business.
4. Environmentally Friendly
3D printing is extremely environmentally friendly. Plastic filament stock can be produced from recycled plastics. It opens up many avenues for plastic recycling and provides a ready market for plastics. Being able to have products that use recycled plastic is a product enhancement and a good selling point.
Since 3D printing can result in less waste and fewer production runs, it’s green footprint goes beyond just recycling to also reducing consumption. This not only helps sales but also reduces production expenses.
5. Small Scale Manufacturing
Plastic injection molding is the typical way to make most plastic parts used in businesses. While injection molding is a cheap process, it can be very expensive to start manufacturing a new product. Molds can be very expensive to have custom designed. It’s just not economically feasible for small production runs. Conversely, for small runs, it can be cheaper to utilize 3D printing.
You can imagine the opportunities that being able to make small customized productions runs would have on your business. Instead of needing to place orders of at 10,000 pieces, you can manufacture parts on demand and not keep money tied up in inventory. This alone can revolutionize your business.
6. Be More Customer Centric
Market differentiation is an important tool to build value in your business. Many customers have ideas about products they want, whether a look or a functionality. Some customers are valuable enough to create customized solutions just for them. In traditional product development, this can be very difficult and costly, but with 3D printing, you can provide the customer-centric service that sets your business apart from others. You can deliver specialized and customized products that you couldn’t normally provide.
7. Be at the Forefront
It’s time to put your business at the forefront. 3D printing and scanning can do this. According to INC, this is a revolution. If you don’t have a plan yet to adopt 3D printing into your business, then you can bet that your competitors are doing it. Customers will begin to seek out 3D custom solutions. If you can provide these before your competitors can, then you will put your business on a higher level.
It’s 21st century and 3D scanning and printing are shaking up the business world. It’s time to take advantage of this and enhance your business. These are just 7 ways that you can put your business on a higher level with 3D printing. Experiment and you’ll find even more.