3D printing is becoming more widespread and popular, which means that the number of companies offering 3D printing solutions is growing as well and the technology itself is getting cheaper. 3D printing is no longer seen as a tool useful only for rapid prototyping, but increasingly as an important element of regular production processes.
3D printing sounds like the best solution for companies that produce items designed for specific customers, such as in the dental and art/design industries – and in fact, this technology is particularly popular with companies in this field. We think of 3D printing as a solution for producing a limited number of items. However, this printing technology is also great for making products where larger elements are injection moulded and smaller parts are made of polyamide.
As BOM the product grows and becomes more complex, the product life cycle becomes more complicated, too. Some parts will fit into a few generations of the product, while others will be frequently improved, requiring constant re-doing of projects. That’s why more and more companies decide to combine elements made in different ways – to save both time and money.
Decisions about incorporating additive methods for the production process (or part of it) should not be based only on the cost of the injection mould divided by the number of elements to be printed – there are many other aspects to consider. Because it takes only a few hours to produce individual 3D-printed in-house elements, 3D printing technology offers new opportunities in terms of process flexibility. Reducing material planning time is also a major benefit of 3D printing. However, you should be mindful of certain factors that can affect production management and scheduling, such as stock availability and part accessibility, so finding the right filament supplier is important. The number of filaments available for 3D printing continues to grow, offering more and more options for production.
Prototyping can be an expensive and slow process, but it’s an unavoidable phase of every production process. Working on a new product version often requires several attempts to create a prototype, interrupted by corrections a modifications; it may be necessary to adjust the project to the requirements and redesign the production line, which often causes downtime in daily manufacturing operations. Therefore, it is difficult to prepare a few proposed versions of new products to choose the most functional or the one that best meets consumer expectations.
But this is where 3D printing comes in – this technology is known as the perfect solution for developing prototypes. Many companies that manufacture mass-produced products use 3D for prototyping new solutions – both entire items and individual parts of new products.
A major advantage of 3D printing in the prototyping process is time – by using this technology, the successful product can be brought to the market much faster. Most manufacturing companies have both skills and tools for creating printed models at hand. Also, the selection of 3D printing equipment is so wide that the company can choose the right one for its needs, making the process itself is so simple that it does not need to be done by highly specialized personnel. Because of the time required and the relatively low cost, prototyping with 3D printing filaments offers the opportunity to create as many iterations as needed.
As the selection of filaments for 3D printing grows, it is also easier to create prototypes with strong resilience parameters, so almost any industry can benefit from this technology. Choosing between the different plastic materials and the various options will help you find the most economical solution for your prototyping project. However, it may be advisable to seek the help of professional filament suppliers who can advise you on which materials are best suited to your needs.
In recent years, the process of tool manufacturing has been based mainly on machining technology, which is very material and time consuming. That is finally changing with in-house printing of items using FDM/FFF technology, which can reduce turnaround time from a few weeks to a few hours. Impressive, isn’t it? It also significantly reduces overall cost, which in practice is limited to the cost of materials. Prices of materials vary, but the cost of printing from such filaments as PLA or ABS is still very attractive.
Trust the experience
MAXFILAMENT is a filament manufacturer with experience in selecting materials for all purposes. We have successfully carried out the process of filament selection and preparation for the needs of our customers. We work with companies from various industries that use 3D printing for different purposes. Our mission is not only to provide filaments at the best prices: we have teams of specialists who will advise you on printing materials, printers and the whole production process using 3D printing technology. Even if you’ve just come to buy filaments now, we encourage you to contact us. We are always happy to discuss your current process, recommend the best material, send samples for testing and assist you with printer configuration for new materials.
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