The Future of 3D Printing
Sreemoyee Ray | September 29, 2020
The last few years saw a staggering growth in the commercial 3D printing market. And this is gradually shaking up the manufacturing sectors all across the globe. With the passage of time, high volumes and low value productions and manufacturing are shifting to a nimbler phase and the growth in 3D printing service has been undeniable and today, we are no longer at the shallow end of the adoption curve.
The coming years will see additive manufacturing gradually replacing traditional manufacturing processes in various ways. The question that you might be asking yourself is where will impact be the greatest? Without any doubts, the greatest areas of immediate growth in 3D printing will be new product development that is already experiencing a strong adoption along with aftermarket supply chains. A sheer number of manufacturing industries will be shifting to 3D manufacturing architecture in the product ecosystem. The application of this technology today can be seen across multiple industries like aerospace, defense, marine, sports, medical, railway, education and many more.
3D printing – the hottest technology of recent times
For more than half a decade, online 3D printing services has created a space for entrepreneurs. The incredible diversity and capabilities of this technology has resulted in the birth of more and more 3D printing companies not just in India but all across the world. This technology is gradually coming of age and a few years later, new age 3D printing machines could print implantable parts of the human body or medical devices. 3D printing, technically known as additive manufacturing, opens up a universe of new possibilities for industries. By slowly adding layers of a material instead of soldering or cutting, a 3D print lab is able to build parts with new geometries. And these new geometries have unique physical properties. For instance, you can think of a honeycomb structure with which you get greater resistance with minimal weight. And this is exactly where 3D printing becomes such a powerful tool for various industrial applications. You can now build parts that are stronger, lighter, heat resistant and built with using fewer parts. This technology is free of any complexity as we can build very complex objects easily and this also reduces the manufacturing time. Additive manufacturing has a major contribution in the Industry 4.0 revolution wherein it will help economies of scale and make micro factories economically independent. This will play a major role in reshaping the global economy and strengthening local manufacturing units.
The coming years are likely to see more exciting developments in the field of 3D printing. Innovations around this technology is expected to come through different dimensions:
- 3D printers will become faster: in order for additive manufacturing to become more viable, 3D printers are required to produce much greater volumes and this can be achieved when they print faster. New age transparent 3D printing manufacturers are pushing the limits of speed with the use of thermal inkjet technologies that leverage the speed of 2D printing. The developments are on and more speed records are expected to be broken in the recent times.
- 3D printers will encompass a wide range of environment: additive manufacturing can at times be a delicate process. In most cases, this process takes place inside a chamber that has control of the humidity and temperature and that keeps out the extraneous particles. This somewhat limit what these machines can actually do. However, new 3D printing machines are evolving that can print and operate in uncontrolled environments. When these machines become free of environment constraints, they can not only print larger components but repair and build new parts as well. The coming years are expected to see these printers performing in a wide range of remote environments. For instance, imagine a difficult to reach mining field where printing a replacement part rather than waiting for a new one to arrive will dramatically reduce the production costs.
- 3D printers to become more versatile: 3D printing giants are coming up with machines that can print different materials like super alloys, carbon fiber, nylon and the like. In the coming days, the same machine will be able to print ceramics and metals by just changing the composition and properties of the printed object. The future 3D printers are expected to use a growing range of materials and an acceleration in the discovery of new materials can be expected that can spur the progress of 3D manufacturing.