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A Closer Look At 3D Printing And What It Means For Your Business

3D printing has come a long way in a very short time. Everything from 3D printed automobiles and aircraft to human organs and advanced prosthetics have been created...

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The local model of manufacturing, allowed by advances in 3D printing, has come a long way from simple plastic shapes and can be used to manufacture items ranging from human cartilage to titanium; ultimately producing functional and complex components such as batteries and transistors.

 

What 3D Printing Means For Business

Even if you are not currently a direct (or indirect) user of 3D printing, its use has the potential to affect your business in three ways.

 

  • Increase development speed.

    Accelerating the construction of prototypes was one of the driving forces in 3D printing technology. Since that time, the technology has accelerated every facet of product development. Turning an idea into a prototype, and then into a finished product, can be done in days as opposed to the weeks or months that it used to require.

  • Update manufacturing strategies.

    As the cost of manufacturing material and technology continues to fall, new products can be built for less. For instance, a Chinese company has recently created a 3D printed car that can be built for $1,700. Although not as polished or capable as a Ford or Toyota vehicle, it can be built for a tenth of what large auto manufacturers’ cheapest models can be built for. This reduction in manufacturing cost will be a huge success driver moving forward.

  • Change profit centers.

    By reducing the number of items created, moving away from a mass-market strategy to a single buyer strategy will change the way companies make money. If a company cannot rely on selling millions of a single item, they will have to come up with different strategies to attract customers. Lower prices, more durable and having a higher degree of customization are just a few ways that companies can make money in the changing market.

With all of the advantages that 3D printing offers to business, it is not a question of whether manufacturers will switch to the technology, but when. There are just not enough viable reasons to stick to traditional methods unless the switching cost is cost prohibitive.

If you are ready to jump into manufacturing on a small scale, jumping on the 3D printing bandwagon will give you a leg up on your competition. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs that work directly with manufacturers with 3D printing capabilities will reap the benefits. By embracing 3D printing technology you will prepare your business for the imminent changes that are coming.

 

This article has been edited and condensed.

Simon Crompton is an entrepreneur running several online businesses. Currently focusing on his marketing firm, Threecolors.blue, he is also a trained journalist sharing his knowledge via several internet blogs. In his spare time he’s an avid programmer and videographer. Connect with @PermanentStle on Twitter.

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