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How is 3D printing creating new business models?


Additive manufacturing is helping to shape the business models of tomorrow. Indeed, the use of 3D printing is not only a matter of getting a good prototype, or nice and funny finished 3D printed parts. Additive manufacturing is offering new advantages, allowing to build innovative business models. Follow the guide and get ready to be inspired by these business model ideas. What is changing exactly in your business strategy while choosing to implement additive manufacturing?

Start on-demand manufacturing

One of the main differences between additive manufacturing and traditional manufacturing techniques is that while using 3D printing, you have the opportunity to make the most of on-demand manufacturing. 

Instead of trying to predict what you will need, and when you will need them, in a really uncertain way, additive manufacturing is offering the possibility to just get what you need when you need them. No tooling is required, and lead times can be considerably reduced for you small batches using 3D printing! This means that when in need of a product, you don’t have to wait for weeks to get tools, and molds ready: you just get your object when needed.

The best example you can give you here is the example of 3D printed spare parts! Additive manufacturing is also a great solution to avoid storage problems. Indeed, a company can easily be bothered with its inventory. With additive manufacturing, you can get 3D printed spare parts on demand and you don’t need to stock them! Digitalizing production is a real advantage, and you should definitely start to think about it. Companies such as Whirlpool, Jaguar, or Volkswagen are using this manufacturing technique for some of their spare parts.

Try rapid prototyping

The use of additive manufacturing could totally reshape your prototyping process. Once you got your 3D file, an STL file for example, creating and manufacturing new iterations of your projects will be faster and cheaper than ever. Moreover, testing functional prototypes has never been so easy. 

Your product development process will definitely benefit from the adoption of additive manufacturing, it will significantly boost your R&D process. Saving time and money to get better prototypes is what 3D printing can offer you, and it could have a great impact on your products, and on your whole business. 

Make the most of mass-customization

Offering customized experiences to customers is becoming essential for some businesses. Mass-customization if quite difficult to achieve while using traditional manufacturing such as injection molding: indeed, creating a new mold each time you need a new variation of a product. Customization, in general, is expensive due to the additional or elaborate process steps.

But additive manufacturing has many benefits for customization purposes, thanks to this technique, there are no additional costs for mass customization. While using 3D printing there is no need for creating any molds or specific tools. To create a customized product, you simply update the product’s 3D file, which can be done by the customer.

Because the price of the production process is the same for either 1 or 10.000 while using 3D printing, you can mass-produce and mass-customize parts, and it won’t affect your production costs. 

This opportunity of offering customization options to customers is also a good way to build a serious competitive advantage for your company.

Implement more flexibility

Additive manufacturing is offering flexibility and innovation. Your business model becomes modular and adaptative when using 3D printing. You will get more flexibility for the creation of your products, by controlling exactly your product, its geometry, but also the number of parts you want. Low-volumes are not a problem anymore. 

But your whole organization can benefit from this flexibility, with an easier prototyping process, a more efficient production process, more adapted advantages such as adapted tooling, for example.

Use a service to manufacture your parts

A service-based business model could really suit you. This model is about sharing manufacturing infrastructure, using a service for the manufacturing process of your parts. Using a 3D printing service to get your 3D printed parts could be a really efficient and convenient solution. 

The advantages of 3D printing are numerous. But implementing a new manufacturing process in your company can be a real challenge. Indeed, if you want to use technologies such as SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), or metal 3D printing solutions, that might require the use of industrial 3D printers. If you don’t want to deal with complex and professional machines by yourself, using a 3D printing service such as Sculpteo as a manufacturing partner might help you benefit from all the advantages of additive manufacturing only. You just have to upload your 3D files, and our 3D printing experts handle the rest! 

Professional machines are expensive, and a 3D printer only allows you to use one technology. By working with a 3D printing service, you will get the opportunity to work with a wide range of 3D printing technologies and materials, and this way, make the most of various mechanical properties or find the perfect material for your projects.

Get your SLS 3D printing quote right now.

Optimize your supply-chain

As you know, or as you just saw in this article, 3D printing can be used for various applications and impact different areas of your business. This could also be a solution to your storage problem, by improving your production and rethinking your supply chain management.

You could gain space by using a digital inventory instead of a busy warehouse, you could reduce your assembly process by printing your parts with new innovative designs, etc. The possibilities of recreating a more efficient supply-chain are numerous:

Additive manufacturing can help you rethink your business model to provide better experiences to your customers. It can help you with both your daily tasks and your whole strategy. 

You’re convinced by the benefits of 3D printing but you are struggling to identify your 3D printing opportunities? Don’t hesitate to contact our Sculpteo Studio’s experts. Their consulting service might give you all the answers you need.

If you want to give 3D printing a try, feel free to upload your 3D file on our online 3D printing service right now.

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