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3D Printing - The Future of Manufacturing?

3D printing is something that has been on the rise many industries, as it is a process that can be used to create a variety of objects through three dimensional solid products or objects using a digital file which is produced using a 3D modelling programme.

The 3D printer creates an object by laying down thin successive layers which eventually produce the object of desire.

Over the coming years the popularity of 3D printing will continue to grow, as we learn much more about the impact it can have on our manufacturing and scientific industries.

 

How we use 3D printing in manufacturing

It has long been used in general manufacturing mainly to produce prototypes, but as the complexity of materials used is beginning to vary and more advanced 3D printers are being produced the potential of 3D printing is growing rapidly.

In the automotive industry, 3D printing is used to make prototypes or unique parts for one off cars and in aerospace it is generally used for prototyping. However, as 3D printing moves to creating objects in metal, it is likely to become a lot more popular in aerospace to specifically create small parts.

In the medical area it is used to make artificial limbs, which are transforming amputee’s lives.

It is still in its infancy of use in the food industry, even though there are 3D printers available that 'print' sweets and chocolates.  More recently, an Italian based business Barilla has produced 3D printed pasta, Oreo have used it to create Oreos with different flavour fillings and NASA have made a machine that creates pizza from a digital image.  You can read more about that in this article from Business Insider.

 

The benefits of 3D printing in manufacturing

The lure of 3D printing is that it saves costs, wastage, reduces the environmental impact and it has the potential to give owners complete control of manufacturing full objects, as parts would not need to be ordered in.

In short, 3D printing saves manufacturers time and money, whilst being sustainable. What business wouldn’t invest?

We’d like to hear your thoughts on 3D printing. Do you think it has a place in the mainstream? Let us know via our Linked In Groups for EngineeringSupply Chain or Food & Drink.

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