3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing for businesses

What is the difference?

In this area we apply the def­i­n­i­tions used by the inter­nal man­u­fac­tur­er Strata­sys. They talk about 3D print­ing in the first phase of the prod­uct devel­op­ment. This includes pro­to­typ­ing, test­ing and exper­i­ments to explore advan­tages of the tech­nol­o­gy. Due to this, the con­cept of 3D print­ing falls into the cre­ative phase, with addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing for the active and eco­nom­ic imple­men­ta­tion in busi­ness­es. A pos­si­ble excep­tion is illus­trat­ed by this video to the right from Zor­trax M200 with their prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion at Bosch. Both com­pa­nies com­bined there knowl­edge and skills to ben­e­fit from each oth­er.

In addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing, we speak of the prac­ti­cal imple­men­ta­tion, which can and most­ly is very dif­fer­ent between busi­ness­es. This includes process sav­ings such as the assem­bly of com­po­nents since they are already print­ed in one piece. Anoth­er exam­ple are stock-keep­ing through 3D print­ed spare-parts man­u­fac­tured Just-in-Time (JiT). Addi­tive pro­duc­tion can also inher­it prod­uct mod­i­fi­ca­tions and design advan­tages through the tech­nol­o­gy. For exam­ple bion­ic struc­tured  lead to lighter com­po­nents with less mate­r­i­al con­sump­tion while even increas­ing the sta­bil­i­ty.



3D Printer in Businesses

The right model for the creative phases as product development or prototyping

3D-Drucker Logo My3D.Guru für Unternehmen, Privat und Bildungseinrichtungen wie Schulen, Universitäten oder Hochschulen

When using 3D print­ers, as defined above, there are sev­er­al pos­si­bil­i­ties and appli­ca­tions for enter­pris­es. These strong­ly depen­dent on the print­ing meth­ods, qual­i­ty of the 3D print­er and your strate­gic goals.

  1. Desktop 3D printing as a service

    This path is less an appli­ca­tion 3D tech­nol­o­gy for your busi­ness than to start­ing your own 3D print­er com­pa­ny. We do not go into this fur­ther, because books like “How to make mon­ey with 3D print­ing” already described this in detail. At the moment, the biggest issue in the 3D print­ing indus­try are the high com­pe­ti­tion ver­sus lim­it­ed employ­ees with the nec­es­sary skills. On the one hand, every­one can print objects with their own 3D print­er. On the oth­er hand, there are pro­fes­sion­al providers such as Alpha­cam tar­get­ing pre­cise­ly this cus­tomer seg­ment. The advan­tage for your com­pa­ny in this sit­u­a­tion is that you can use this ser­vice on the mar­ket cheap.

    As a ser­vice provider, you can either build your cus­tomer seg­ment direct­ly or be sup­plied with queries from plat­forms as 3DHubs. The site devel­oped away from pri­vate providers using the FDM tech­nol­o­gy to indus­tri­al SLA method sup­pli­ers.

    Feel wel­come to con­tact us and browse our selec­tion of 3D Print­er if you pre­fer to print your­self and not use third par­ties for var­i­ous rea­son.

2. Semi-professional 3D Printer

The tran­si­tion to pro­fes­sion­al 3D Print­ers away from desk­top mod­els is flu­id and dif­fi­cult to deter­mine. The same applies to their appli­ca­tions which depend on the mod­el as seen with busi­ness like Bosch from the video above. Mod­els that fit into this cat­e­go­ry are more pro­fes­sion­al 3D Print­ers such as those from Xioneer Sys­tems or those from the tra­di­tion­al man­u­fac­tur­er 3D Sys­tems. The appli­ca­tion areas are sim­i­lar to the first point above, while the pro­duc­tion of larg­er com­po­nents or high-qual­i­ty pro­to­types is pos­si­ble at the same time.

3. Professional additive manufacturing

This lev­el utilis­es large-scale 3D Print­ers able to print with dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als and process­es in the con­cep­tu­al phase. There­fore, pro­to­types can­not only be test­ed in plas­tic, but also in oth­er mate­ri­als such as met­al or ceram­ic. The first step is to val­i­date the pos­si­bil­i­ty of print­ing with such a machine to then analyse its eco­nom­i­cal poten­tial. In gen­er­al­ly, such use of large 3D Print­ers is prof­itable in com­bi­na­tion with tra­di­tion­al machines. The only excep­tion are busi­ness­es sell­ing in small batch-sizes which is more cost-effi­cient with addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Additive Manufacturing in businesses

The implementation and utilisation of advantages through 3D printing technology

As already described above, addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing is the prac­ti­cal use of the tech­nol­o­gy after the test phase. In such cas­es machines such as those man­u­fac­tured by the Ger­man man­u­fac­tur­er EOS are used. The fact that addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing has already tak­en a seri­ous step into todays econ­o­my is illus­trat­ed by research and efforts of Insti­tutes in this indus­try around the world. The 4 areas and process ben­e­fit­ing the most from 3D print­ing are:

  1. Design, material and conception

    For two rea­sons this has become par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing in 2016. On the one hand, spe­cial mate­ri­als were cre­at­ed with which one can mod­i­fy the qual­i­ty of a com­po­nent or prod­uct. On the oth­er hand, an inno­v­a­tive prod­uct can be cre­at­ed with­in a very short time through a slimmed design process with pro­to­types. Bion­ic forms for exam­ple applied to motor­cy­cles sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce mate­r­i­al con­sump­tion can and increase sta­bil­i­ty. Com­pa­nies such as the FIT AG have spe­cial­ized in this field and can even pro­vide small batch sizes with their addi­tive pro­duc­tion. We would be pleased to for­ward you to one of their con­sul­tants, whom we can rec­om­mend from per­son­al expe­ri­ence. If you pre­fer a auto­mat­ed soft­ware solu­tion, we can rec­om­mend you Meshi­fy.

  2. Process planning

    This top­ic cov­ers areas as ware­hous­ing or just-in-time pro­duc­tion. The above video from Bosch is an exam­ple of this cat­e­go­ry, because the 3D-print­ed aux­il­iary tools are opti­mized in a cost-effec­tive man­ner. Fur­ther­more, 3D scan­ners (solu­tions), such as those from 3Digify, can sup­port ware­house process­es in stor­ing and sup­ply­ing spare parts. This approach coun­ter­acts risks of just-in-time pro­duc­tions as spare parts are print­able in case of logis­ti­cal delays. The replace­ment print still takes a lot of time, but it is still rea­son­able for cer­tain objects that are quick to repli­cate and dif­fi­cult to deliv­er. The same applies to spare parts which are print­able on-demand, in com­par­i­son to unnec­es­sary stock­ings. In addi­tion, new spare parts would have con­stant costs per piece com­pared to high ini­tial costs in tra­di­tion­al process­es.

    We see the great­est advan­tages and poten­tials in sav­ing from the assem­bly of sev­er­al com­po­nents at once. Through addi­tive pro­duc­tion com­plex objects are pro­ducible in one piece instead of indi­vid­ual com­po­nents which have to be assem­bled lat­er. This sim­pli­fies the sup­ply chain and logis­tics of tra­di­tion­al pro­duc­tion. Fur­ther­more, it enhances the sta­bil­i­ty of the object and allows smart bion­ic designs for sav­ing resources. In sum, 3D print­ing increas­es the qual­i­ty and reduces waste, costs while sim­pli­fy­ing process­es.

grid-my3d-guru-bionische-form-fur-unternehmen für leichtmetallmau und material Einsparungen

III Production

Bosch a bench­mark for future tech­nolo­gies and already includes addi­tive pro­duc­tion as com­po­nent for enhanc­ing tra­di­tion­al pro­duc­tion process­es. In com­bi­na­tion with tech­nolo­gies such as the indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion 4.0, indi­vid­u­al­ly cus­tomized prod­ucts are pos­si­ble mass mar­kets. More details are avail­able at Bosch Rexroth Show­case i4.0 which try to imple­ment 3D print­ing in pro­duc­tion process­es. These are rel­a­tive­ly new and for­ward-look­ing approach­es which are still applic­a­ble today. This goes from hybrid forms all the way to full-fledged prod­ucts from machines through addi­tive pro­duc­tion. Even today, addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing is applic­a­ble for mass mar­kets for high­ly per­son­al­ized arti­cles in med­i­cine such as pros­the­ses. Our most favourite exam­ple are hear­ing aids, for which already the entire indus­try has switched to 3D print­ed prod­ucts. Hence, it is impor­tant to ana­lyze the most prof­itable degree of uti­liza­tion for your busi­ness.

VI Production

This sub­cat­e­go­ry is not an advan­tage of the addi­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing in itself as fin­ish­ings are offered to oth­er pro­duc­tion sys­tems as well. The issue with 3D print­ed parts are their unfin­ished look and sur­face, most­ly unfa­vor­able for the respec­tive appli­ca­tion. This results in the need of fin­ish­ings to match the desired design goals. For exam­ple, no lay­ers from 3D print­ing are vis­i­ble after­wards as with tra­di­tion­al meth­ods.

Conclusion: Ultimately, complex requirements require a precise analyzation and professional recommendations

Whether you are a start-up, small, medi­um sized or large com­pa­ny, all you need are key infor­ma­tion and busi­ness goals. This is enough for us to devel­op first rec­om­men­da­tion and poten­tial appli­ca­tions for you.

We offer an ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion for 3D print­ing appli­ca­tions free of charge. 

Please use the con­tact form below to get in touch.


Inspirational applications for businesses