The use of new technologies is the main trend of recent years in any field of industrial production. Every company in the world strives to create cheaper, more reliable and higher quality products using the most advanced methods and materials. The use of additive technology is one of the clearest examples of how new developments and equipment can significantly improve traditional production. What’s the total cost of ownership for metal 3D printing?
In order to use 3D printing effectively, a number of commercial and technical questions need to be answered. By answering them, you will be able to determine your priorities and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different 3D printing technologies.
The role of 3D printing in production
3D printing is one of the most important advances in manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution. It was once used exclusively for prototyping, but today the method offers revolutionary benefits at every stage of product creation, from conceptual design to final product production. The choice of materials for 3D printing is growing, and new approaches to automation and increased printing speed are enabling its use in a wide range of industries, from aerospace and automotive to durable goods, healthcare, dentistry and jewelry.
What are the business benefits?
3D printing can bring a number of benefits to a business, so it’s important to be clear about exactly what you expect from it. Is it your No. 1 objective to reduce product development or manufacturing costs? Or do you want to increase profits by bringing products to market faster, or creating entirely new products that would not be possible without additive manufacturing? Or maybe you are new to the field and want to explore the potential of 3D printing to better understand its capabilities? Understanding your priorities will help you choose exactly the 3D printing tools that will best meet your current and future needs.
What’s the total cost of ownership?
When talking about 3D printing, it is important to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO). Evaluate solutions from competing manufacturers and different printing technologies. Determine whether your company is better off with in-house 3D printing or outsourcing the work. Consider the following cost items:
- the cost of purchasing the 3D printer(s);
- consumables (including accessories such as printheads);
- labor time costs, especially for post-processing;
- utilities equipment (3D printers may require plumbing, ventilation, or other systems) and space requirements.