Most people don’t know this, but 3D printing has been around and being utilized (albeit by large companies at first) since its first successful use in 1984, however, as of recently they have gained more popularity commercially as the cost of the machinery has declined and performance has improved.
So how can this recent affordability of printers benefits small businesses? Because of the reduced cost of 3-D printers, their use can potentially increase productivity in the workplace while also decreasing costs of materials needed to print whatever you want.
This additive process can be extremely helpful in most types of businesses. It is perfect for creating models and prototypes, and even objects like toys, cords and keys. In fact, 3D printing is a very dynamic and sought-after technology that could be used in many circumstances, just like 2D printers.
The impact of 3D printing in small businesses:
Cheaper Costs. This is a no-brainer. One of the best implications presented by 3D printing technology is the lowered cost. Given that high-end 3D printers still incur high initial purchase costs, you bet that prices are dropping by the day. Small businesses investing in 3D printers will have reduced production and shipping cost, especially if they order from local distributors, potentially saving the hundreds in excess costs.
Local Manufacturing. This is the ability to manufacture goods locally or even onsite. This benefit is far-reaching, since enterprises in the past have been solely reliant on outsourcing manufacturing to big, centralized plants; many of which are ordered overseas. With this ability, small businesses will be able to effectively lessen their operating costs, simplifying manufacturing and reduce their environmental impact by lessening their carbon footprint. Talk about a win-win situation.
Better Customization. The dawn of small-scale 3D printing isn’t restricted to monetary benefits, thankfully. Because of the enhanced design flexibility brought by 3D printers, businesses have the ability to produce an endless array of dynamic, visually engaging products that are better than anything thus far released by other manufacturers.
Streamlined Processes. 3D printing technology offers a new standard in cost-effective, efficient product development. Implementing 3D printing technology in the workplace allows small businesses to effectively eliminate the need for an assembly and manufacturing process, lessening any previous turnaround period as well as removing the need for strict supply chain management.
What Others are doing with 3D Printing Technology
American Pearl. For those who can’t decide with their engagement rings. American Pearl uses 3D printing to allow customers to create a unique piece of jewelry by selecting specific gems, metals, diamonds, and orderingthem online, and then 3D printing them.
DIY Rockets. This global space company launched a competition for people to create 3D printed rocket motors with the use of Sunglass cloud-design platform. Follow them here.
MakieLab. This company utilizes 3D printing to allow their customers to create their own Make doll. They print a 10-inch flexible dolls from thermoplastic. Customers can choose all the features of the doll: face, eyes, ears, jaw, smile, hair and more.
Having ideas how 3D printing can help you grow your business? Share it with us!