The question is enough to ring bells in many ears. Those who have witnessed the power of 3D printing would jump out of their seats when given an option to print 100 times faster than the prevailing speed provided by 3D printers.
While the technology is in use and has been able to provide great aid for production as well as supply chain management processes, there is a lot that still remains a challenge. One such issue is the speed of 3D printing.
There are powerful machines operating at comparatively high speed. However, when it comes to designing complex structures and models, the speed stays low.
Joseph DeSimone currently addressed enthusiasts of the 3D printing community and unveiled the potential of 3D printing technology that is able to produce parts at a much faster speed.
From 25 times to 100 times, the speed can be increased depending on the complexity of the designs. The question is: is this possible? During the talk, Joseph was able to print a complex part through a printer within 15 minutes during the session.
Joseph mentioned that 3D printing is really just 2D printing happening over and over slowly. He also exclaimed that the inspiration was gathered from the movie Terminator 2. The technology is able to create strong and smoother parts in lesser time.
So, what does a faster 3D printing machine could do for businesses and individuals? With that question, let us figure out the nuances of benefits a 3D printer is capable of providing, if able to scale the speed to 100 times faster.
Challenges When Achieving 100 Times Faster 3D Printer
Before getting to the benefits of a faster 3D printer, let us understand the limitations we have been witnessing from long. And, what are the challenges that must be checked before planning to design such a printer that can print 100 times faster?
The foremost problem that one faces with most of the fast printers in the market is the surface finish. The layer resolution is compromised when printing with a faster machine. Not every 3D printer can print at a faster speed. However, those that do, have limited speed as well.
Because of the limited speed, the production time increases. Though the 3D printing technology is much faster than the traditional methods, the surge in demand is creating challenges for this latest technology evolution as well to stay in the race.
The complexity of the parts also increases the completion time of the prints. Hence, affecting the speed of the 3D printers. The researches are being carried on for scaling the speed of 3D printer from long.
Few improvisations come every now and then with new releases. However, a huge difference isn’t realized yet. With the announcement of 100 times faster 3D printer, a lot of questions marks raise.
Looking at the brighter side, if it’s possible, there would be plenty of benefits that businesses and 3D printing ecosystem must expect.
Benefits of 3D Printers With 100 Times Faster Speed
Let us get to the bottom of the discussion: the benefits of 3D printers having 100 times faster speed. If a printer is capable of delivering such speed, a lot of problems would be resolved in no time.
Decreased Demand to Production Ratio
Manufacturing plants face a lot of problems when handling higher demand. With limited resources, the capacity to meet demands on time becomes infeasible. Moreover, staying in sync with suppliers and contractors isn’t an easy job.
Dependencies on different partners for keeping the production rate high is a challenging thing. With faster 3D printers, this could be resolved. Think of a 3D printer capable of producing parts in minutes.
Definitely, it would depend on the complexity and size of the parts. However, the parts that take hours could be printed in minutes.
If that change is on the way to be leveraged, the advantages would be plenty. Being able to meet the demand, businesses would experience decreased demand and production ratio.
Simplified Supply Chain Management
Already 3D printing has done a lot to improve the supply chain management of companies. Think of a 3D printer capable of doing the job 100 times faster. The benefits would increase too. There are many ways 3D printer with faster speed could generate a greater return.
Cost of Transportation:
Are you importing spares and parts from overseas to run your business model? If that is so, have you calculated the amount that you invest in transportation?
If not, try checking the same. You would be amazed to find the difference faster 3D printer could make. If able to produce parts and spare faster than ever inhouse, you would be able to save more than 85% on shipping cost.
Depending on logistics also delay the production process many times. These problems would also be solved right away.
No Need for Warehouse:
Being a manufacturer, you must be daunted to handle production and warehouse simultaneously. Warehouse not only cost a lot of money on employees, electricity and various other basic things but could double the spending if not owned and rented.
Moreover, there are times when businesses aren’t sure about the change in demand. A product in demand can suddenly drop to null. What would happen to the stock one manufactured keeping in mind the current demand? Trends change and demands shift.
If you have faced this problem in the past, you must be knowing how deceiving such trends could be. However, with these fast 3D printers, one can print on demand, instead of keeping stocks. The concept of a huge warehouse can be reduced to some smaller space.
Low Production Cost:
By using 3D printers that print faster, you can reduce the production cost with a huge difference. 3D printing is cheaper for most of the applications when compared to the traditional methods.
However, the challenges such as limited build space with the moderate speed required a greater number of 3D printers at work. With 100 times faster 3D printer, the job of 100 machines could be accomplished with one machine. How does that sound?
If you were owning a huge production unit with extensive space, you may not need that now.
In turn, you can save money on manufacturing unit space, the maintenance cost of 3D printers (instead of maintenance of 100 printers, you need to maintain one), electricity cost for running multiple printers and many such things.
Reduced Manual Labour:
With everything coming down in number, this must come down too. With a smaller number of a 3D printer capable of handling the same amount of job as earlier, you can reduce the number of labours too. Hence, saving a huge amount of labour cost as well.
3D printers have made it possible anyway. The customization of parts and printing on demand is already been realized. The increase in the speed of these printers would further expedite the process of customization.
Personalized items would be sold within a day to the customers. When operating an offline store, these 3D printers would help sell personalized items right away to the customers. The wait time will be reduced exponentially.
Think of a vase that you need with few changes and the store helps you right away. By altering the existing 3D file, stores would be able to print the personalized items in minutes. Helping consumers to get the items on the same day. Or even better, within a few minutes.
Complex Designs for Prototyping at Faster Pace
Businesses depend a lot on prototypes. However, few complex prototypes take hours and days to be printed using 3D printers.
In case the speed increases 100 times faster, the research and development industries would be the first to benefit.
With faster production of prototypes, the parts would be tested immediately. The entire quality assurance process would be reduced to a few hours.
Increased Customer Trust
A company processing the demand on time is considered very reliable. With such a fast 3D printer, you would never miss the timeline, until there is some unrelated problem from production time.
That said, businesses would be able to gain customer trust and would be able to deliver the highest satisfaction. Hence, increasing its customer base. On top of everything, increasing their popularity and profit.
Viable Negative Side of the Coin
We have talked about a lot of great things that a faster 3D printer would be able to provide. However, there is always the other side of the coin, hand in hand, too. There must be a few things that would go unplanned.
Although there is no way to prove that the problems discussed later would occur ever, the possibilities cannot be neglected too.
Consumers Printing on Their Own
Let us think that being a consumer, I have access to the 3D printer that prints 100 times faster than the current devices. And, it is also able to achieve amazing results.
Because the 3D printers are becoming affordable, there are chances that in future, the same 3D printer would be available for consumer use as well.
If that happens, why would I depend on companies for end products? Wouldn’t it be easier to print the product at home?
The access to online repositories and online communities are already there to help beginners and novice to learn and 3D print themselves.
If the resources are available, a greater number of people would decide to print at home, over time. Isn’t that looking as the deadlock situation? The demand would decrease and the economy may shift in a completely different direction.
Organizations Using 3D Printers
Owning 3D printers by consumers may look a far fetched dream. However, small businesses and organizations can do that anytime.
A manufacturing company offering surgical instruments may experience a huge fall in demand if hospitals decide to print themselves. This is just an example. A lot of other businesses and organizations can decide the same thing.
With time, technology is becoming accessible to everyone. Anyone can learn to operate 3D printers through online videos and tutorials. What if, the majority of the sector decide for the same change?
A decrease in Demand for Existing Machines
The existing 3D printers are doing well. These have been able to provide huge benefits to the users. However, who would choose these 3D printers when a technology more than 100 times faster would be available in the market? Also, the number of 3D printers sold every year would also decrease.
All these would have an adverse effect on the global economy. And, what else. There could be much more changes that the technology would bring with itself.
Elimination of Smaller Businesses
The limited demand would be met by major players in the industry. With that, small businesses incapable of competing with these 3D printers would lose their stake of the market profit.
This does sound scary and it is. For those businesses that are not able to afford a 3D printer may lose their entire business.
However, none of these problems is mandatory to happen. There is a slight chance that balance may be disturbed, but isn’t that happens when something extraordinary surfaces. People adjust and economies settle.
With surging demand for 3D printing technology, innovations are continually surfacing. While a few years back, the 3D printers were considered the only feasible solution for industries, now, it can be seen owned by consumers.
Individuals have started buying 3D printers for fun and carrying out fun activities together with their families.
The technology is becoming accessible. While this does have huge advantages, a sharp development in the existing technology may harm the balance for some time.
When 100 times 3D printers would lead the market, other players would either try to move forward for competing with the technology. Or, would give up.
Among everything, 3D printers with 100 times faster speed are achievable. This has been proved by Joseph. These printers would bring major changes to the business models.
Being able to better cater to the needs of individuals, these printers would help companies serve their customers better. For a better future and simpler economy, these 3D printers could play decisive roles.