Is Additive Manufacturing the Right Move for Your Business?

Incorporating additive manufacturing

Is Additive Manufacturing the Right Move for Your Business?

There are many benefits to incorporating additive manufacturing services into an existing business model. Companies interested in harnessing the power of 3D printing technology may feel tempted to jump right in, but as with most major business decisions, it’s essential to look before you leap. 

Integrating additive manufacturing without a clear business case and plan for success won’t yield the results you’re looking for. So how do you know when the timing is right? Let’s take a look. 

Business Use Cases for Additive Manufacturing Services

Before incorporating additive into your business, consider these factors: 

1. Capability.

The first question to ask yourself is, “Are we capable of realizing the full potential of this technology?” It’s important to assess capability across two main areas of your business:

  • Budget. 3D printing is a cost-effective manufacturing method, but purchasing and maintaining a commercial or industrial 3D printer can be a significant investment. 
  • Skill set. In-house engineers must have the expertise to design the 3D CAD files required for 3D printing and be able to operate the machines effectively.
2. Competition.

Are you missing out on contracts because other companies already leveraging 3D printing can complete projects faster and at a lower cost? As additive takes hold in more industries—automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, and many others—you may need to jump aboard to stay relevant. 

3. Value add.

What specific value will additive manufacturing services bring to your business? Consider some of these benefits of 3D printing and determine if they’re priorities for you:

  • Customization and iteration. With no custom tooling or molding requirements, 3D printing allows manufacturers to iterate on-demand without slowing down production.
  • Low-volume production quantities. Additive manufacturing is an excellent solution for high-mix, low-volume parts. But for high-volume production of identical parts, CNC machining and injection molding still have the edge. 
  • Complex geometries. 3D printers can produce intricate features that are difficult—if not impossible—to machine. You could benefit from additive if you need to optimize parts for weight reduction, flow management, or other specifications.
  • Outsourced manufacturing. 3D printing is a localized outsourced manufacturing solution, minimizing reliance on vulnerable global supply chains. 
  • Rapid prototyping. The highly automated 3D printing process requires minimal programming, so it’s possible to produce rapid prototypes in just days.  

Once you’ve identified your specific business case for additive manufacturing, the next step is creating a road map for implementation. This strategic plan will help keep you on track to reach the goals you set out to achieve. 

Need support making a move to additive? Alchemy Industrial is here to help! Contact us today to discuss the next steps.