The process of 3D printing was first invented in 1980 through the use of a technique known as stereolithography. This used a UV laser which traced the outline of the object to be created in a vat of polymer. When the UV comes in touch with the polymer, it solidifies. This was expensive, cumbersome and didn’t yield great results.
Fast forward to today, 3D printing has made great strides when it comes to real-world applications in various fields including healthcare, aeronautics, and automobiles. There are several reasons why 3D printing is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world today.
Why is 3D printing growing rapidly?
3D printing has several advantages when it comes to modern life. As a simple example, let’s say you need a replacement part for a gadget at home. If you had a 3D printer at home with the necessary materials, you don’t have to buy it from a store. You could just download a blueprint and get it printed right at home. This saves you considerable time and money which is the reason why 3D printing is one of the technologies that is going to take us into the future.
Advantages Of 3D Printing In The Automotive Sector
When it comes to automobiles, replacement parts for cars are expensive to manufacture and sometimes phased out on a regular basis. 3D printing for automobiles has a significant advantage for both the manufacturer and the consumer. It can significantly reduce costs, turnaround times and logistical problems for everyone involved. Let’s take a detailed look as to how 3D printing can help the automotive industry.
Decreased Turnarounds and Costs
With 3D printing technology, there are massive savings of time when it comes to every aspect of the pipeline from prototyping to manufacturing. 3D printing also saves material by allowing people to recycle material left over after the process. This directly translates into lower costs for the manufacturer as well as the consumer.
Enables Rapid Prototyping
When it comes to the automotive industry the ability to quickly and cost-effectively prototype a component or a model is integral to the success of the project. 3D printers are able to develop components ranging from scale models to full-size renditions quicker than ever before. Also, with minor investment, this can be carried out completely in-house further adding value to the process.
Economical and avoids wastage
3D printing uses significantly less material than traditional methods of manufacturing, and it is a lot more precise meaning less wastage as well. Another advantage of 3D printing is that when it comes to some types of material, leftovers can be recycled and used in subsequent processes.
3D printing has enabled auto manufacturers to opt for different options or various iterations without needing to change too much in the process pipeline or taking a lot of time. What this means is that manufacturers have become a much more agile force with the advent of 3D printing. They also have tighter control over the entire process.
Reduce Storage Costs
Because 3D printing is one of the quickest methods of manufacturing, there is no need to maintain a considerable inventory of auto parts for older models as they can be manufactured on demand. This can save manufacturers a lot of money when it comes to maintaining burgeoning inventory space.
Summing it up
A lot of manufacturers are opting for 3D printing as a part of their manufacturing process. Big players like BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and Audi already have 3D printing plants set up aimed at cutting costs. Nice car manufacturers who have annual model revamps and short production runs like Porsche can now opt for 3D printing as a method that doesn’t require them to store inventory or invest in expensive tooling.
Another fact is that 3D printing takes a lesser toll on the environment than traditional manufacturing methods. So as we move forward, 3D printing is set to be an important cog in the journey to a better future.