How 3D Printing Technology is changing the Printing Industry

Supriya Bajaj

Senior Writer

3D printing or additive manufacturing helps you to create complex shapes using less material such as plastics and metals. 3D printing was developed to use as a tool for rapid prototyping and one-off manufacturing in the early stages, now it has rapidly developed to cover a number of different production technology.

3D printing production is a more cost-effective method that is created more rapidly with less human intervention. 3D printing technology potential applications vary across a range of industries including tooling aids, visual and functional prototypes, and end-use parts.

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The adoption of new 3D printing has reached a significant stage. We can see 3D printing as a cluster of diverse industries with a myriad of different applications. The possibilities are endless. The current demand for 3D printing is industrial in nature.

Technology transforms almost every major industry you could think of and change the way we look at the work in the future. The applications of 3D printing will continue to grow as these industrial applications show the technology’s efficiency and effectiveness in production.

The 3D Printing Industry Today

3D printing holds great potential to revolutionize a new era of manufacturing. We are on the point of the 4th industrial revolution stage where digital technologies will transform nearly everything including how companies conceive, design, produce, disperse and repair products thus significantly lowering development and production costs and carbon footprint.

Source: fathommfg

3D printing capabilities are used to drive innovation and business growth in terms of greater ROI. The technology produces complex objects rapidly and at a low cost, with controllable physical and functional properties at each point for a range of industries and applications in the world. It replaces the current workforce, promotes faster production times, and reduces operating costs to stay competitive and create products faster.

The increased global demand for fully customized parts for the end-user has boosted the demand for 3D-printed functional parts and products. The customization comes in the form of design preference or serves the purpose of improving the fit or usability of a product. Technological innovations deliver double performance.

The world’s most advanced 3D printing technology manufactures high-volume production-grade functional final parts with up to 50x more productivity at a significantly lower cost than previous 3D printing methods.

Applications of 3D Printing Technology

The 3D printing industry is the next manufacturing revolution. Applications of 3D printing create many things with almost no effort, but the use of 3D printing technology is not viable in every industry.  3D printing is slowly becoming the standard for many manufacturing businesses.

3D Printing Is Changing the World

The additive manufacturing industry has experienced consistent and stable growth over the past decade. 3D printing is the catalyst for significant changes in the worldwide scale of the manufacturing sector.

It adds infinite flexibility, adaptability, reduces operation costs and waste, and therefore makes manufacturing more agile. The role of 3D printing technology in the manufacturing business is varied. The most common applications of additive manufacturing are prototyping and production.

Source: 3ding

3D printing technology trends have significant implications for a variety of sectors including automotive, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, industrial products (manufacturing tools, prototypes, functional end-use parts); healthcare (dental products, prosthetics, implants, hearing aids, bio-printing, surgical planning, reconstructing evidence in forensic pathology); consumer products (eyewear, footwear, toys, beauty and cosmetics, jewelry, fashion design, sportswear items, furniture); supply chain, construction, and architectural scale models.

The different 3d printing technologies are used to produce vital applications to make products better and faster. It allows manufacturers to produce innovative and complex designs of 3D-printed parts.

Source: eurekaselect

The 3d printing capabilities provide several unique advantages when compared with traditional manufacturing. 3D printing will continue to increase in near future and offers even more exciting opportunities across industries.

Rapid Prototyping – 3D Printing is Changing the World

Additive technology capabilities are also used for rapid prototyping in a variety of industries. It can make larger items with more details. 3D printing technology enables manufacturers to create prototypes more successfully for printing a new model or part with every advancement or correction of the design.

It saves time and money if they need to produce new molds each time. It refers to creating copies of new product designs for testing. Rapid Prototyping is a fast and relatively cheap design process. Repetitions are easier and cheaper. The companies use prototypes to use changes to models in an easy and cost-efficient way.

3D printing allows the production of parts and components that just cannot be created through traditional fabrication methods. Some manufacturers use 3D printing technology for rapid prototyping to produce custom prosthetic devices, lighter airplane parts, and small-scale models to test new designs.

Besides rapid prototyping, 3D printing technology is also used for rapid manufacturing. It is a new method of manufacturing where manufacturers use 3D printers for short-run planning or small batch custom manufacturing.

Today, 3D printer is used to create small items on large conveyor belts and these types of large factories will convert into small industrial estates with 3D printers running every day. The businesses using 3D printers will operate with less personnel, less overhead cost speeds up production, reduce product development times, and greater profits.

3D Printing in Manufacturing – Changing the Future of Manufacturing Industry

3D printing technology is growing faster and influencing the manufacturing process to help businesses to perform at a higher level. It is changing the future of the manufacturing industry.

Low Volume Manufacturing

In the short-run part production process, small amounts of focused product parts can launch more frequently. New 3D printing technology is used for short-volume manufacturing where products are practiced to test the market or to promote at a trade show.

3D printing help producers to grow faster with reduced cost and less product price. 3D printing quickly and inexpensively produces and tests new objects which are not possible with traditional means.

High Volume Manufacturing

For manufacturing companies, the product development cycle is an extensive and time-consuming process. An established production line is easier to change. The whole production line is changed as per the speed of the printing production line.

Therefore any improvements in machinery, an adjustment in print speed, or completely changing a product is instantly possible. Compared to older methods, this process can take several weeks or months to make the changes.

3D printing boosts the lean manufacturing process. It focuses on reducing the number of wasted products to enhance efficiency. Additive manufacturing will help to produce products more quickly and efficiently reducing the overproduction of parts and products.

3D printing promotes product creation flexibility and customization. A higher level of product customization to meet specific consumer needs is the driving factor to increase overall profits.

3D printing brings greater flexibility and agility to industrial applications. It delivers the ability to create spare parts and tools on-demand through process innovation. The technology expands design possibilities to produce new innovative products including complex structures, geometries, and lightweight parts.

3D Printing in Automotive Industry

Additive manufacturing is used heavily in the development of automotive parts and tools production. 3D printing technology is used in areas like prototyping, motorsports and performance racing, designing end-use parts, printing spare parts, tooling, jigs, and fixtures; gear sticks and safety gloves, lightweight safety-certified metal parts, and produce cost-effective customized parts for both the interior and exterior parts of a vehicle such as personalized seating.

Source : forbes

Prototyping offers a quick and cost-effective method to design application-specific parts for individual systems or models. 3D printing technology-enabled on-demand manufacturing for ever-more complex shapes and configurations. It shortened design and production cycles and develop cars that are more efficient, powerful, safe, comfortable, and stylish.

Eventually, companies will use 3D printing batteries and 3D printed electronics for many advancements in the vehicle. The automation to assemble all the different printed parts from different printers is a challenging project that the automakers need to work on.

3D printing can significantly accelerate product development cycles, give designers greater flexibility to produce designs quickly while testing multiple design options. It allows designers to quickly change the design and make modifications in a fraction of the time. The majority of car components are required to produce highly complex geometries like internal channels, thin walls, and fine meshes are still lightweight and durable.

3D Printing in Aerospace and Defense (A&D)

Additive manufacturing is used in many different ways in aviation the industry. 3D printing is used for producing lightweight fuel nozzles for LEAP aircraft engines, the best-selling engine in the aerospace industry.

3D printing in the aerospace and defense industry contributes heavily to ongoing research efforts. Functional prototypes, tooling, and lightweight components are the key functional process where the advancement of 3D printing is applied. The functional parts produced with 3D printing used in aircraft include air ducts (SLS), wall panels (FDM), and structural metal components (DMLS, EBM, DED).

3D printing produces highly complex parts in low volumes. The complex geometries are produced without heavy investment in tooling equipment. The 3D technology offers a cost-efficient way to produce small batches of parts cost-effectively.  3D printing creates lightweight parts of an aircraft that can significantly reduce its fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, and payload.

Metal 3D printing technologies are used to repair aerospace and military equipment like turbine blades and other high-end equipment. 3D printing can significantly ease the assembly and maintenance process with less amount of time needed for assembly. Additive manufacturing in the aerospace and defense market is driven by key industry players- GE, Boeing, Airbus, Safran, and GKN.

3D Printing in Supply Chain

3D printing promotes the idea of printing the new units of objects wherever they are needed. For example, if a company operates a plant in any other geography. ‘Think global and make local’ idea – enable manufactures to create parts, tools, and fixtures and test them and share them internationally with other plants around the world.

This will allow them to reduce shipping time, customs, the cost for international express shipping, and international transit paperwork. This is a great idea of transferring a custom-made tool across the world in hours, saving time, money, and hassle-free operation involved in international shipping.

3D Printing in Consumer Goods

To remain competitive in an ever-changing market, consumer-oriented industries need to adapt to evolving consumer trends in a nimble way. Additive manufacturing provides a cost-effective way to meet these needs from design to product development to testing and production.

3D printing is increasingly used in manufacturing consumer goods including toys, sportswear, and footwear, Beauty and Cosmetics, Eyewear, Jewellery, etc.

Advanced 3D printing solutions brought the technology in the hands of designers and engineers to create an addition to existing manufacturing solutions. 3D printing is changing our style of fashion. The young designers’ prototype ideas to design better and more comfortable their unique fashion-oriented creations. 3D Printing in consumer products will open the gate to hyper customization.

3D printing technology is used to improve shoe performance for various sports, clothing, and sportswear items. 3D-printed mascara brush in cosmetic products improves the adhesion of the mascara to the lashes. 3D printing significantly speeds up the product development stage with rapid development, testing multiple iterations, and repetitive testing and validation in a shorter time frame.

3D Printing in Medical and Healthcare

3D printing in the medical industry improves and enhances the way in which new treatments and methods have been developed. It provides a new form of treatment to patients in a number of ways.

Recent advances of 3D printing in the medical and healthcare sectors are used for the development of enhanced medical devices that are lighter, stronger, and safer, and the creation of patient-specific replicas of bones and organs.

3D printed healthcare component applications are versatile and wide-ranging. 3D printed medical component includes 3D printed implants, 3D hearing aids, prosthetics, dental appliances, bioprinting, surgical planning, and testing.

Custom parts that are designed especially for their anatomy improve the patient comfort level. With 3D printing, patient-specific medical devices can produce faster and more affordable than the traditional manufacturing methods. Medical device manufacturers design new products much faster with low-cost rapid prototyping technology. This improves the quality and accuracy of medical work. It reduces lead times and lowers costs.


Other than these major industry applications, additive manufacturing is immensely used in the food sector, education, and retail and signage industry. 3D printing can use to reduce waste material, and thus offering a more sustainable environment.

3D printing encompasses everything from toy making to customized parts to robot design. It makes everything pure and simple and helps people to achieve their desired smile. 3D printing has a great potential to improve opportunities, diversify the workforce and support economic growth.

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