The State of 3D Printing 2017: The 4 main benefits of 3D Printing to boost your company
Our third edition of The State of 3D Printing gives us once again key insights about the Additive Manufacturing industry. This technology clearly appears to be a true business partner for our respondents, helping them undertake the challenges they encounter. That’s why 90% of our respondents consider Additive Manufacturing as a competitive advantage. The benefits of 3D Printing to boost your company are numerous, but we decided to highlight the four main ones that came out in our study.
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1 . Boosting your R&D process
Complex geometries (21%), cost reduction (17%), lead time reduction (15%) and engineering redesign (13%) are the main benefits of 3D printing for our respondents.
These advantages are a push for progress in your R&D process. Indeed, 3D printing allows to get prototypes faster, and cheaper, which means your research benefits from more iterations, trials, and errors, leading to the creation of better products, in better adequation with your market.
Additive Manufacturing is still mainly used for prototyping (34%) and proof of concept (23%). Moreover, the main top priority of our respondents is product development, as mentioned by 28% of our respondents. Thus, we can clearly say that Additive Manufacturing is helping our respondents to undertake the challenges they encounter when it comes to research and product development.
2 . Offering new possibilities to your design departments
3D printing allows creating shapes that either couldn’t be created with any other manufacturing process or would be very expensive to produce. Indeed, complex geometries are quoted by 21% of our respondents as the main benefit of 3D Printing. It’s the most quoted one.
What goes for R&D goes for design: more iterations thanks to the shorter lead time and lower cost of unique prototypes, increased possibilities to create thanks to the complex geometries and to rethink thanks to the possibility to redesign parts.
3 . Reducing your costs
3DP allows an important cost reduction. Especially important for metal: cost reduction is the main objective for using 3DP.
Over the past few years, there has been a global cost decline of the 3D Printing technology. This phenomenon led to a democratization of Additive Manufacturing, helping companies embrace better its potential for businesses. Indeed, global cost decline is quoted by 17% of our respondents as the major trend that will have an impact in 3D Printing over the next few years, being the most quoted trend.
Since the technology costs less, it becomes cheaper and more interesting than other manufacturing techniques. Thus, it allows an important cost reduction. This is especially important when it comes to metal 3D Printing. Indeed, cost reduction is the main objective for respondents using this technology. With 3D Printing, you can design, develop products, and produce both better and cheaper.
4 . Reinventing production
3D printing is traditionally seen as a prototyping tool rather than a production technique. But this vision is starting to switch, and 3D printing is more and more seen as an alternative and complement to traditional manufacturing techniques. It is third in the list of 3D printing purposes, and third in the departments that use 3D printing. These answers confirm that the use of 3D printing for production is rising.
However, when we look at the 3D printing benefits that are most prevalent, those that enhance the production process are still quite overlooked by the average respondents, while being part of the horizon for a significant part of the top performers we identified in our sample, called the Power Users. This advance of Power Users is mostly true in terms of production processes and strategies.
If you intend to follow the lead of Power Users to create an optimal 3D printing strategy, look into the advantages that 3D printing could bring to production, both in terms of how you engineer your products and how you organize your production process.
If you want to discover more insights on the 3D Printing industry, get your free State of 3D Printing report here!