Today 3D printing is a production tool that affects numerous applicational fields, which may impact a company’s entire value chain, from the design of the first models to the creation of molds, direct production of parts and even stock management.
According to the firm IDC, the global market for this technology is set to reach 35.4 billion dollars by 2020, representing an annual growth rate of 24.1% between 2016 and 2020. With an ever-growing number of uses since its creation, 3D printing covers a wide range of business sectors, including aviation, health and automotive. Armor 3D tells you a little more about the diverse applications served by additive manufacturing.
Prototype design aided by 3D printing
Historically, 3D printing has been widely used to create prototypes. The technology enables initial versions of an object to be produced very economically. 3D printing of prototypes can also be internalized to save time, an important factor in the shortening of the full production cycle. Current estimates suggest that some 40% of prototype parts are 3D printed.
PS filament, which offers a genuine alternative option to create prototypes at a low cost. Sustainability and recyclability are an integral part of the main characteristics of the PS filament which is therefore ideal for creating functional prototypes.
The design makes way for production!
By removing constraints related to form and time, 3D printing is highly valued in tooling. The tools required to produce or assemble a finished product are increasingly 3D printed: molds, jigs, fastening systems, etc.
For its part, tooling accounts for some 15% of parts produced using additive manufacturing. Previously, these parts produced in low quantities were machined and assembled in multiple parts; 3D technologies now enable complex models to be produced thereby simplifying certain operations such as thermoforming, plastic injection, centrifugal casting and, in another field, activities such as the assembly of different car parts. The master models can, therefore, be 3D printed without a CNC machining stage, saving both time and money – production times are reduced by nearly 70%! It is a production method highly valued in the aerospace sector, where the required production tools are very large and highly complex.
In the jewelry and orthodontics fields, the lost wax casting process is therefore used: it is a technique in which the fusion metal replaces a wax model placed in a mold. You just have to 3D print the object you wish to create. Once ready, the refractory material is added around the object to produce the mold.
With the improvement of surface quality, it is now possible to create a finished product using additive manufacturing. Given its speed, quality, and cost, 3D printing is ideally suited to producing specific parts in small batches, rather than series production. It is a technology of particular interest for creating bespoke parts. It is estimated that some 35% of 3D printing applications produce finished parts.
In the medical field, for example, there are printed parts in bio-compatible materials implanted directly in the patient. There are also replacement parts manufactured by the aerospace and defense industries which, according to the firm IDC, totaled 2.4 billion dollars in 2016.
Whether for the production of finished or tooling parts, Armor 3D customers generally use our PLA-HI filament to produce parts requiring excellent impact resistance in a wide range of colors. Find out about the characteristics of this innovative material in our article on the PLA-HI filament.
How do you use 3D printing in your company? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] to help you find a printing material compatible with your technical requirements.