6 Benefits of Integrating Additive Manufacturing Into Your Business Model
Additive manufacturing continues to gain popularity as a viable alternative to traditional manufacturing, with more companies seriously considering integrating additive into their business model.
3D printing—the most ubiquitous form of additive manufacturing technology—is still relatively new compared to CNC machining and injection molding. But don’t take that newness to mean that it’s unreliable or expensive. In reality, 3D printing is a trustworthy, low-cost solution that offers immense benefits when implemented strategically.
Benefits of Integrating Additive Manufacturing Into Your Business Model
Here are the key benefits of adoption additive technology as part of your business model:
1. Lower costs
Unlike traditional manufacturing, which can require expensive custom tooling, 3D printing is a toolless solution. It’s possible to build parts using only a CAD file, the required material, and the printer itself, allowing for increased potential for lights-out manufacturing and reduced labor costs.
2. Shorter lead times
Since additive doesn’t require custom tooling or fixtures, 3D printing service bureaus can begin building parts almost immediately. 3D printing’s minimal setup is much less involved than programming CNC machines. Additive technology can considerably reduce manufacturing timelines (think two months down to just one week).
There’s also the opportunity to save time on assembly activities by consolidating multiple components into a single 3D printed part.
3. Better design freedom
Designing complex geometries is one reliable way to reduce weight in parts, which is advantageous for aerospace applications and in other industries as well. But building a part with complex geometries can be difficult. CNC machining these types of parts (if it’s even possible) generally requires multiple operations and results in higher manufacturing costs. 3D printers, on the other hand, build parts layer by layer and can easily achieve intricate features in a single operation.
4. Mass customization
One-size-fits-all solutions are quickly becoming outdated in today’s digital world. Manufacturers need to meet the demand for mass customization to remain competitive. An increasing number of customized products (e.g., Invisalign) offer bespoke solutions at scale. Additive manufacturing is the key to meeting needs for customized products where no two designs are exactly the same.
5. Supply chain consolidation
Relying on outsourced manufacturing for thousands of parts is an unrealistic solution in the pandemic/post-pandemic world. Additive manufacturing is an excellent safeguard against ongoing global supply chain disruptions.
This technology provides the opportunity for localized and on-demand production, which boosts local economies and minimizes lead times and shipping costs—among other significant benefits.
Additive manufacturing is an incredibly sustainable manufacturing solution, an essential consideration as companies face increasing pressure to meet strict ESG criteria. For one thing, the lightweight materials used in 3D printing help reduce fuel and energy consumption. Companies can also minimize their carbon footprint by relying on local additive manufacturing partners instead of transporting parts globally.
There’s no doubt that additive manufacturing holds immense potential for manufacturers worldwide. If you’re interested in making this move for your business, Alchemy Industrial is here to help. Call us today to learn more!