3D printing pioneers: Top 10 industries utilizing Additive Manufacturing
Many industries benefit from 3D technologies, from the medical sector to manufacturing airplanes. Why do they use 3D printing? What are the advantages 3D printing pioneers gain? Let’s talk about Top 10 industries which make the most of Additive Manufacturing and get inspired to improve your business today.
From Selective Laser Sintering to Direct Metal Laser Sintering, 3D printing offers the ultimate solutions to many production needs and requirements. You can choose from a variety of materials depending on their properties, strengths, colors, melting points, and other characteristics. For those reasons, many companies and businesses decided to improve their manufacturing process and become the next 3D printing pioneers. Find out how they did it and learn how you can use the potential of Additive Manufacturing to your benefit.
This industry has been investing in Additive Technologies for a while, making them top 3D pioneers. Real life examples are Porsche, who 3D printed spare parts for rare vehicles, Jaguar which used 3D technologies to recreate their classic XKSS model from 1957, Volkswagen Group with their 3D printed tools and spare parts, and Ford with their fully functional 3D printed brakes. That’s not all, we also talked about 3D printed tires and even full cars!
Additive Manufacturing allows automotive companies to be 3D printing pioneers thanks to the new design freedom. Thanks to 3D modeling, the engineers can look inside the parts and adjust them to their needs; for instance, adding lattice structures to make the parts lightweight. The manufacturing technology is no longer a limitation in producing parts which meet the requirements of the industry.
A bit of a change of the scenario, but fashion is also a 3D printing pioneer. There are plenty of designers who create stunning jewelry, which is abstract and wouldn’t be possible to achieve without Additive Manufacturing. Another example is 3D printed clothes, however, a sector of fashion utilizes 3D technologies more than others.
The 3D printing pioneer in fashion is footwear. Big fish such as Adidas or Nike already use Additive Manufacturing to their benefits. First of all, 3D scanning allows to perfectly match the shoe to its user providing the comfort of walking like never before. 3D printing gave the designers the ability to create new structures for the shoes, especially used for the production of soles to provide their customers with the ultimate comfort of wearing their shoes. Another factor some designers took into account is to produce 100% sustainable shoes.
Additive Manufacturing made the aerospace industry one of the leaders on our 3D pioneers’ list as it provides the engineers with the ultimate light structures. This is a crucial element for airplanes– they need to be as lightweight as possible, at the same time keeping all the safety restrictions. 3D printing was just the answer to this field.
3D printing allows for adjusting the interior of mechanical parts, so instead of producing fully filled parts, they can have lattice structures inside. That leads to a reduction of a part’s weight, brings the production costs down and saves the material usage. Another advantage of Additive Technologies for Aerospace is precision. 3D printing provides engineers with highly accurate parts, which is critical in this industry for the safety of passengers and cargo.
The medical field has been using Additive Manufacturing in ways no one knew were possible, which gives them a good place in our 3D printing pioneers ranking. Even 10 years ago, who would imagine 3D printing skin tissue or organs?
Dentists already use 3D technologies, they use 3D scanners to get images of their patients’ jaws and also produce 3D printed braces, aligners, implants, dentures, and crowns. 3D printing is beneficial in the dental industry as it allows mass customization. It is truly revolutionary that we can quickly produce products matching exactly our needs. A 3D scan of the patient’s jaw lets the software design exactly what’s needed, fitting perfectly, and then the 3D printer will produce the part in no time, made with bio or human safe materials to assure the health and safety of the patient.
And that’s not even all that Additive Manufacturing is changing in this industry. We have to also talk about tissue engineering and 3D printed skin, which can be used for drug testing, or healing burns. Doctors and engineers also developed 3D printed knee replacements, which are possible thanks to 3D scanning. Another example is 3D printed prosthesis, which also has to be highly customized and made to measure. Additive Manufacturing brings the new industrial revolution to many medical sectors with the development of 3D bioprinting.
From architectural models to producing actual houses, Architecture is definitely one of the 3D printing pioneers. Developers like Valoptim have been using our service to create house models to provide their clients with a better understanding of the space they are about to purchase. It also lets the buyers visualize their life in the apartment and assures their decision of purchasing the flat. Industrial design is breaking the limits thanks to Additive technologies.
But that’s not all Additive Manufacturing is capable of. 3D printing can be used at a large scale and a perfect example of it is the 3D printed bridge. It is strong, robust, and can withstand a lot of stress, but also was produced in no time as it’s fully automatized and in many cases is cheaper. It’s the same case with 3D printed houses, which might sound like an abstract future, but it is coming. Such a revolution would allow us to rebuild towns in no time and give people their homes back, for instance after a natural disaster.
Additive Manufacturing is not only about XXL format, it can also be used at a nanoscale. Indeed, it is possible to 3D print tiny pieces for circuit boards, and 3D printing is much faster than traditional manufacturing methods.
Another important factor is the material. 3D printers are capable of producing conductive structures, even on such surprising surface like mushrooms. When it comes to conducting electricity, of course, there has to be an isolator, but that’s not an issue for Additive Manufacturing. In fact, there have already been developed ground-breaking 3D printers which can produce both conductive and isolating structures in one print job!
As you can already see, there are plenty of industries benefiting from Additive Manufacturing. But this is not the end of 3D pioneers, next is Robotics. This industry is widely using Additive Technologies for rapid prototyping. Robotics very often need a highly customized part specifically for a certain task. Thanks to 3D printing, they can easily produce a prototype, adjust it and simply send the CAD file again.
The production time is reduced from weeks to hours as the 3D printing process is not limited by the human factor and leaves less space for errors. Additive Manufacturing is mostly automated and much faster than traditional production methods. Of course, it is not only good for rapid prototyping in robotics. The variety of materials offered by 3D printing, from flexible plastics to metals, allows for manufacturing of high-quality end-use products.
One of the problems manufacturers struggle with are spare parts. By law, spare parts have to be available for years after the release of the product, which means they have to be produced and stored. It’s problematic to keep large numbers of spare parts and many of them will never be used anyway- which is a waste of money and time to manufacture them in the first place.
That leads to manufacturing being the 3D printing pioneers. Additive Manufacturing brings the answer to their problems. They don’t have to produce hundreds of spare parts and keep them for years. With 3D technologies, it’s as simple as uploading a CAD file, which is just stored on a computer, printing the part and sending it to the customer. And it all can be done within days.
Another reason for the manufacturing industry to use 3D printing is the capability of using customized tools, jigs and fixtures to produce the end products. Very often they will need a specific mold, clips to hold the structures and other tools to achieve the needed product. Additive Technologies provides them with different solutions thanks to the new design freedom of creating different parts.
We couldn’t miss on your 3D printing pioneers list the giant of 3D applications: Aeronautics. This industry takes advantage of the automation of Additive Manufacturing. Did you know that NASA recently announced the winners of their competition for 3D printing on Mars? The idea was to launch 3D printers form Earth which will build whole households by themselves, using the soil of Mars.
3D printers come in various shapes which makes them perfect candidates for space traveling. Small and compatible, they can be put on spacecraft, which eliminates the problem of bringing tools and spare parts into space. Did something break? 3D print it or the tools to fix it. This solution also means the spaceship will be lighter, which brings the production and the fuel costs down.
Last, but not least, the industry that brings us all the engineers, designers, and other creators to develop new 3D printing technologies- Education. We have to close our 3D printing pioneers list with the field that gives us all the pioneers in the first place. 3D printers and 3D printing labs are becoming standard in many schools and universities.
Students explore Additive Manufacturing through classes on 3D modeling software, by producing educational models, and by prototyping their fully functional projects. They can test their ideas within days and spend more time perfecting the concepts and materializing them as a final product. There is so much potential in combining curious minds with such cutting-edge technology that some colleges offer courses specialized in Additive Technologies. Find the best mechanical engineering schools here.
Are you one of the 3D printing pioneers?
The benefits of using Additive Manufacturing are numerous, from improving your mechanical parts with lightweight structures to material usage reduction and lower cost production. From mechanical engineering to fashion, Additive Manufacturing is the new industrial revolution. 3D printing is already in our offices, production lines and even in space with the future perspective of flying to Mars. It is time for you to be the 3D printing pioneer.
As you can see the applications of Additive Manufacturing are wide and with an online 3D printing service like Sculpteo, you can easily become one of the 3D pioneers. Or maybe you already are? Share your story with us!