The transformative abilities of 3D printing have been seen across many industries such as manufacturing, medical and aerospace. Further growth is happening now in smaller scale use, for example in education and small business. New research from IDC shows the global 3D printing market is on track to continue its expansion, as it is forecast to exceed $46 billion (about US$35 billion) by 2020, double the $21 billion (about US$15.9 billion) forecasted for 2016.*
At Y Soft, we believe that organisations looking to incorporate 3D printing should consider its use in rapid prototyping and product development.
3D printed rapid prototyping is becoming very popular, particularly for product design. The ability to turn a vision of a product into reality in a matter of hours has accelerated the manufacturing cycle, and reduced the time it takes to perfect a design before production.
We are also seeing increased use of 3D printing for prototypes and hypothesis testing in the educational and medical sectors. It can help students, teachers and researchers demonstrate their ideas and understandings as concrete models and representations.
3D printing for rapid prototyping has a number of key benefits, including:
faster, more cost-efficient research and development (R&D) as it lets designers assess structure and dimensions early on and give appropriate approval before mass production
reduced product material costs as there is less rework and waste material
faster time to market
greater opportunities for companies and medical practitioners to offer product personalisation and customisation
closer relationships with customers to achieve individuality in products
improved ability to develop complex designs in a single unit, and eliminate traditional assembly requirements.
Using 3D technology for rapid prototyping helps R&D teams achieve geometries in their designs that are not possible with traditional mould and cast techniques. Because 3D printing is additive-based manufacturing, developers can add layer by layer to achieve the required product shape and functionality.
Rapid prototyping helps organisations communicate ideas quickly using detailed models, and test in real-world scenarios before larger scale production occurs. Being able to customise prototypes and products for customers will help Australian and New Zealand businesses compete more effectively against competitors. The adaptability of 3D printing for rapid prototyping will help organisations and teams test and deliver final products faster and more efficiently.