In the last few years, 3D printing has blown past the niche-interest stage and evolved into a pragmatic tool in many industries, including manufacturing and construction. The rapid progress of its use, from simple design and production to the manufacturing of complete structures and even buildings, speaks to the revolutionary nature of the technology. However, despite its ongoing boom in the industry, 3D printing remains an abstract mystery for many builders. So, today we want to help guide your understanding of 3D technology from futuristic innovation to a practical tool you could – and possibly should – one day utilize on your job sites!!
According to McKinsey Global Management Consulting, as 3D printing OEMs have begun to market to both manufacturing and construction companies, they have engaged in a concerted effort to allow for printing of advanced materials, such as titanium. As a result, today’s 3D printed products can be as reliable as commonly used construction and manufacturing products – even as sturdy as steel!!
And while the cost of 3D printers and printing material have been known to be expensive – as is any technology when it is first developed – prices have dropped significantly. Some basic models have fallen in cost by as much as 90%!! With increasing dependability and decreasing prices, the incentives for companies to consider 3D printing continue to grow.How does this help your bottom line? There are several advantages:
1. When considering the plan for any major project, you consider the time, money, and labor spent extracting or acquiring raw materials, using and maintaining equipment, and completing each stage of the building effort. 3D printers can give you an advantage in all these areas by eliminating the need for raw materials, limited self-assembly of building components, and avoiding the maintenance of extra equipment. Simply turning on your 3D machine and printing building components, like cladding or structural panels, in their completed form will take far less time, money, and manpower.
2. Without a decreasing need for individual parts, materials, tools, and machinery, you’ll have less need for excessive storage space and won’t have to wait so long for resources to arrive. This helps you eliminate unnecessary spending or allocation of resources for storage or transportation. Now, you can save or reinvest that money and time into new projects!!
3. The technology of 3D printing appeals to rising generations of builders who have a growing focus on sustainable construction. 3D printing material often comes from resources that are recycled and reproduced – including biodegradable material such as wax, acrylics, and bioplastics – while remaining sturdy and reliable. The involved technology does not leave a large carbon footprint and helps cut down on emissions and waste traditionally produced by some construction and manufacturing practices.
4. Being able to print exactly what you need, exactly when you need it, is incredibly convenient, alleviating common work stress and even preventing emergencies. Consider a bio-hazard clean-up company that unexpectedly runs out of materials or equipment, which could typically result in serious and fatal consequences for the crew or the surrounding community. With a 3-D printing mechanism on site, the exhausted resource or tool could literally be manufactured within less than an hour, ensuring that everyone stays safe and the job gets done.
From implementing a simple pilot program to a full factories installation, 3D printing may just be in you and your company’s future!! No, 3D printing will not solve all your problems (and like any emerging technology, it may come with its own set of new issues). However, the technology may very well push your business into the forefront of your industry. By learning more about this practical tool, you’ve already taken your first step – and with 3D technology, you may just print yourself a whole staircase that leads up to a revenue bonanza!!
Emily Kil is a professional writer who, when not helping her husband with his bio-hazard cleaning business, RVs with her family around the USA. She’s driven across the country five times, including an epic roadtrip to Alaska.