Is 3D printing expanding beyond prototyping?
Tim Greene’s “Industrial 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing” presentation was announced as the top-rated session at IMI’s Ink Jet Printing 2017 Conference, held in Orlando, Florida, in February. The research director for IDC spoke on why 3D printing technology has the potential to greatly influence the future of manufacturing.
Key takeaways include:
• The early adopters and driving forces of 3D printing are some of the world’s biggest manufacturers, including Adidas, Boeing, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, and many more.
• Advances in technology are quickly enabling 3D printing to progress beyond the production of prototypes and one-off functional parts; some are already producing at a small or even mass manufacturing level.
• Materials jetting has inherent advantages over other processes. Greene quoted a NASA executive, who says, “We’re constantly seeking ways to make everything on the craft twice as light, twice as strong, and half as expensive.”
• Other advantages include “smart part manufacturing” in the printed electronics realm.