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The term Additive Manufacturing, often used interchangeably with 3D Printing, refers to the process of creating a product with a layering manufacturing process. While you are probably already aware of this process, you may be wondering why additive manufacturing is a good idea to incorporate into your business. Additive manufacturing’s time to market, through the 3D printing production of parts, is a major reason for most businesses. Understanding the benefits of, and finding, additive manufacturing services can help grow your business in unexpected ways.

Many industries benefit from using 3D printing services instead of traditional manufacturing methods. Industries that employ engineers or other experts that need specialized designs for their tools or components can work faster and more efficiently through this process.Industries like factories, automotive industries, and aviation production companies can all use 3D printing as a way to create the specialized tools and custom plastic parts they need. This is by no means a comprehensive list of industries that can benefit from additive manufacturing. Here are some of the many benefits that await your company when you switch to additive manufacturing.

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Affordable Outsourced 3D Printing

More available suppliers and materials have helped reduce the cost of 3D printing as an outsourced manufacturing method for prototypes and production.

Outsourcing additive manufacturing to dedicated suppliers can be more affordable than having in-house machines. Suppliers are experts in operating printers and producing parts. They can buy material in bulk and scrap less product. This saving is transferred to the customer with lower part prices.

Furthermore, most service bureaus have multiple 3D printers which can correlate to faster lead times than what you can do in-house.

Efficient Materials Usage

A lot of money is wasted in production on excess materials and energy costs in traditional manufacturing. Because of the nature of 3D printing, a lot of the waste is eliminated. A base layer is produced and then more layers are added until the part is complete.

The only parts created during production that you may not use are burrs or supports that hold up the object while it is in creation, but those are minimal. You can even save more money by nesting several parts into a single build which cuts down on time and material costs.

Less Expensive Prototypes

Creating prototypes quickly and on a budget becomes easy with 3D printing. You can experiment more with rapid prototyping because it takes less time to create and less money in materials than it did in the past. This means you go through multiple design iterations at a greatly reduced cost to find the perfect fit.

Small Production Benefits

With other manufacturing processes, you have to create a mold to create each part, but with additive manufacturing, you can design the file and gather the material and you are ready to go. If you work in lower quantity product runs, then you will benefit greatly from the speed and lowered expenses of 3D printing for your parts.

Then, when you need to scale your order, additive manufacturing is still the answer for high-volume orders!

Less Inventory

If you are producing products through traditional manufacturing, then you likely have a warehouse of parts to be used or sold at a later date. The overhead costs of a warehouse and the manpower needed to manage all the inventory so it doesn’t go to waste can add up over time.

With additive manufacturing, you can have a virtual inventory with all part information stored online. The parts can be printed on demand so there is less inventory, less waste, and no need to store extra parts. 3D printing offers a true Just-In-Time manufacturing method.

Design on the fly

Because your parts are created on-demand, you have the flexibility to improve part reliability whenever it is warranted. You can look into using a different design or different materials to create your parts with no waste in products and a very small delay in production if any. This saves you time and money when it comes to support calls and rework costs.

Consolidate Assemblies

You can also make the assembly for your components smoother and faster. Complex parts used to require more steps, materials, and labor costs. Each part needed to be created, and then it all needed to be assembled. With additive manufacturing, you can print your products with minimal parts, allowing for easy post-processing.

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