3D Printing vs Traditional Manufacturing: An Industry Perspective

New technologies are making traditional manufacturing methods change quickly. And one technology that is increasingly being used by the manufacturing industry is 3D printing. The computer-driven additive process produces parts and products from a digital model by laying down successive layers of materials. In contrast, traditional manufacturing includes the processes of injection, moulding, machining, forming, and joining. Let’s look at some of the advantages of 3D printing versus traditional manufacturing.

Cost Saving

3D printing enables manufacturers to produce items with less material than traditional techniques. That means items are less expensive to make. So, 3D printing can save manufacturers the cost of materials. Furthermore, with 3D printing technology, the cost of customized products is exactly the same for mass production products, unlike traditional manufacturing.

Ease of Access

In recent years, 3D printers have become much more accessible, with more local service providers offering outsourcing services for manufacturing. For instance, a reputable 3d printing San Diego company called 3D HUBS enables you to upload a CAD file and then get a free injection moulding quote and order prototype and production prints in less than two minutes.

Fast Prototyping

3D printing enables prototypes of products and parts to be produced more quickly and less expensively than with traditional manufacturing. Prototypes, and finished items, can be created within hours, so the whole manufacturing process is sped up. And modifications to prototypes can be completed much more efficiently.

Robust and Lightweight Parts

Although 3D printers can use a wide variety of materials to make parts and products, plastic is still the most commonly used material. And plastic has many advantages over materials like metals in specific manufacturing sectors like the automotive and aerospace industries. That is because strong and lightweight plastic can provide transportation with greater efficiency. Furthermore, 3D printed parts can be tailor-made to include specific properties such as water repellency and heat resistance.

Printing on Demand

Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing allows parts and products to be printed on demand. That means manufacturers do not need to have lots of space to stock inventory. Instead, 3D design files are stored virtually, and edits to designs can be done easily. By utilizing 3D printing, manufacturers can save both space and time.

Minimizing Waste

Compared to traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing saves a huge amount of waste. That is because the additive process only uses materials needed for the part it is making, resulting in little or no waste. Traditional manufacturing often involves cutting large chunks out of non-recyclable materials, which wastes resources and contributes to landfills. 3D printing is environmentally friendly in other ways too. For example, fuel efficiency is improved by using lightweight materials.

3D Printers Can Produce Almost Anything

In the early days of 3D printing, plastic was the main material used. Nowadays, 3D printing companies sell cartridges made out of all manner of things, including chocolate, sugar, metal, and ceramic. That means you can print parts for a complex machine or a chocolate bar. Furthermore, 3D printing can now use living cells to print organs for the human body, such as hearts and kidneys. Traditional manufacturing methods cannot do that!