Prototyping is a costly business. Turning an idea or invention into a prototype will typically entail substantial production costs, freighting expenses and of course the professional fees of prototype makers “ if you are contracting one. With design firms, this requires the production of the actual pieces, a method that can get costly in the process of doing iterations. But with 3D printing systems, you can conveniently create your prototypes on demand.
Ford Motors (NYSE: F) stated that 3D technology is conducive to innovation and is helping them a lot in reducing production costs. The multinational automaker was able to minimize the production time for prototypes by around 25% to 40% depending on the parts. General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) meanwhile reports more than 30% savings in the production of certain parts of a probe with the use of 3D printers. Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT) did not disclose pertinent statistics but the toy manufacturer did mention how this technology is making it easier, faster and cheaper for them to produce customized parts of toys; particularly Hot Wheels, Max Steel and Barbie.
Are replacement toner cartridges TOO pricey? Learn the basics of toner cartridge recycling and trim down printing expenses for good.
Cost of Traditional Prototyping
Manufacturers invest substantial amounts just to come up with a mere sample of an invention and even much more for a working product. Designer firms that develop 3D digital models can charge firms from between $30 to $30,000 depending on the complexity, the size and functions of a prototype. These designs will then be routed to professional prototype makers “ they are skilled craftsmen commissioned to produce the physical form of the 3D model.
Prototype manufacturers can charge firms from between $50 to $5 million depending on the physical size of the prototype; required materials and equipment, and the level of finish; not to mention the intricacy of methods involved in its production.
Impact on the Prototype Production Process
With the surge of 3D printing technologies, many manufacturing companies see its favorable impact on productivity. In fact, GE Aviation and Mattel believes that this technology is helpful in many ways. 3D printing systems allow these companies to pilot test and then fine tune the prototype first hand without encountering lengthy delays. It also makes it so much easier to locate design flaws, which resulted to faster prototype fixes. This way, final working pieces with little to no errors and malfunctions can be made available for less the time.
3D printing technology likewise affords the world substantial energy savings. This is because commercial and professional 3D printing solutions require far less energy compared to that of big, bulky equipment used by machinist prototype makers. 3D printing also dispenses with the need to commission domestic or overseas professional prototype makers. This would allow companies to forgo with costly freighting expenditures that are incurred in the dispatch of prototypes for iterations.
The Future of 3D Technology
The 3D printing industry came out swinging this year and has experienced remarkable growth. According to the IT research company Gartner, “”Combined end-user spending on 3DPs will reach $412 million”” this year. This represents 43% growth from last year’s spending of $288 million. Indeed, the market is rapidly expanding in the mainstream with design firms and manufacturing industries taking an interest on what this technology can offer.
Looking for the highest quality printer consumables available at factory direct prices? Visit http://www.lasertekservices.com today for the best deals in compatible toner cartridges.
The use of thermoplastics like Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polylactic Acid (PLA) has made 3D printers more affordable. In fact, prototypes are now being produced in-house. This greatly reduced design and production costs, which is exactly why this technology is starting to penetrate consumer markets. 3D printed airplane and car parts, printed replicas of common household tools and a 3D printed house are scheduled to be set up in 2014 but we are yet to discover the inherent capabilities of this technology. 3D printing has great, if not infinite potential. And it is certainly the future of manufacturing.