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The Growth of Industrial 3D Printing

3D printing is a burgeoning technology

3D Systems ProX 320 Direct Metal Printer

3D printing. Not long ago, this term, especially this concept, was the talk of the town. The thought of every home having its very own 3D printer was on the lips and minds of every entrepreneur and tech mag online.

However, while consumers haven’t made home 3D printing as commonplace as microwaves or TVs as of yet, it doesn’t mean the concept is any less exciting. It also does not mean that 3D printing isn’t widespread among techies.

In fact, in the industrial complex, 3D printing is a burgeoning technology full of future potential and present-day successes.

 

The Biggest Manufacturers are Committed to 3D Printing

While common in-home use may not be a thing yet, big-name manufacturers are making a splash in the 3D printing theater.

This may be, at least in part, due to the fact that the 3D printing industry is due to become a 27-billion-dollar industry by 2019. While it’s not been said outright, it’s been a sneaking suspicion that this just might be a large motivator.

And for good cause. Again, while in-home use is not yet widespread, the need for 3D printed parts are in high demand.

The low cost, faster output, and envelope-pushing factors in regard to discovering new uses and constructs for use in common manufacturing, are making the bottom line for many brands more robust.

GE and Major Brand Investments

In fact, to help drive this point home, GE has recently purchased two European 3D printing companies for nearly one and a half billion dollars. That’s quite an investment. What’s the expected outcome?

Additives. That’s right, additives.

They expect this investment to pay off in ways that are not only feasible, but logical. Over the next 10 years, their additive business will grow to about 1 billion dollars annually. However, the kicker is that in doing this, they should save up to 5 billion dollars in manufacturing costs over 10 years.

And GE is not alone.

There are major brands all over the world making major investments in 3D printing because they see the uplift in manufacturing potential. In fact, this isn’t something expected to happen sometime in the distant future. No. It’s happening right now.

 

From Small Run to Production

3D printing has been exceptionally noted for the development of small-run prototypes. However, today’s jumps in innovation, development, and 3D printing technology are creating the possibility of developing 3D printed products for ready-for-use production components.

What is exceptional about this, is the fact that these end-use products are not limited in size or complexity.

Maintaining the ability to formulate a working construct from need, which then creates demand, is the key factor that will drive 3D printing technology for industrial manufacturing and production forward.

As for current aspirations, the development of new materials for 3D printing has created a climate of design to production. Materials such as new resins and metal powders can be used to meet the requirements of electrical or mechanical needs. In addition, the production cost reduction allows for 3D printing to remain competitive with other forms of manufacturing. In some cases, offering a cheaper solution to produce a better part.

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In Closing

While 3D printing technology has yet to overwhelm public consumers in home use, industrial use is at an all-time high and growing.

3D printing is offering numerous big-name brands a new way to remain competitive, while offering smaller companies a way to affordable compete.

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