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What are the advantages of 3D printing?

(1) Low-cost manufacturing of complex items
As we all know, using traditional manufacturing methods, the more complex the shape and structure of the items processed, the higher the manufacturing cost will be. Therefore, in order to pursue the lowest investment in production costs, manufacturers often produce standardized components in batches through labor segmentation and standardized work processes, which makes it difficult to meet the diverse needs of customers. But for 3D printing, relying on the same processing principle of additive manufacturing, there is no need for molds and mechanical equipment processing, and even products with complex shapes will not increase production costs and labor requirements too much. 3D printing reduces the cycle and cost of sample trial production and small batch production, which is conducive to the development of new products, personalization, and the luxury customization industry.

(2) Short-cycle, high-precision production of products
3D printing technology can optimize many complicated processes in the production process of traditional manufacturing and processing industries and directly manufacture complex structures, thereby discovering problems in product modeling and structural design as early as possible, and reducing subsequent processes caused by frequent design changes, rework, and cumulative losses, significantly improving the efficiency of new product development and the success rate of putting it into the production line. For example, 3D printing does not require a mold opening process, which greatly saves operating time; the one-time molding feature greatly reduces the workload of auxiliary processing in the later stage and reduces the outsourcing phase, effectively ensuring that some confidential fields (such as aviation, nuclear power, military industry, and other industries) have security issues with confidential data. At the same time, it also reduces the accumulation of errors in the post-processing process, making the product more precise, especially in high-end precision machinery industries such as automobiles, aircraft, and nuclear power. 3D printing technology can realize the natural and seamless connection of products, without parting lines and unnecessary gaps, making the product structure more stable, and its rigidity and strength are significantly higher than traditional manufacturing processes. Compared with traditional production technology, 3D printing technology can increase the efficiency of mechanical processing by 3.5 times and shorten the product development cycle by 30%. 90%, production cost savings of 30%–50%

(3) Diversity of product categories and personalized design
Traditional mechanical equipment is limited by its functions, and the types of products it can produce are also very limited. However, 3D printing technology does not require the purchase of new mechanical equipment or the training of new professional and technical personnel. It can print countless products of different shapes using only the same 3D printer and can create assembly-free structures and structures that cannot be achieved with traditional processes. The complex porous structure enables users to customize their experience. The tense and awkward relationships between designers and products, designers and users, and users and products have been alleviated by the emergence of 3D printing technology.

(4) Integrated molding and manufacturing of products
Traditional large-scale system production requires different parts to be produced separately, and then assembled and adjusted by workers or robots on the assembly line. The more parts and components a product has, the more labor and time it takes to assemble it. The most typical example is the manufacturing process of electronic circuits. People must first manufacture the internal plastic and ceramic parts individually through different mechanical equipment, and then assemble them to form the metal components of the electronic circuit. 3D printing can realize the integrated molding of products. Through layered and regional manufacturing, different parts can be printed using different materials at the same time, reducing many intermediate links, eliminating complicated assembly processes, and saving manpower and material resources. Using traditional methods to manufacture parts, the entire production process generally takes several months, while 3D printing technology may only take a few years or even a few hours, greatly improving production efficiency. Boeing used 3D printing integrated molding technology to print a duct for a jetliner, replacing more than 20 components as a whole, effectively reducing component storage space and management overhead.

(5) Unrestricted design of technology and form
Traditional manufacturing technology is limited by tools, technological level, processing methods, etc., and the form of manufactured products is also restricted. For example, a mold-making machine can only make mold castings, a traditional wooden lathe can only produce round products, and a rolling mill can only work with a milling cutter to process assembled parts. 3D printing technology can break through these limitations and provide designers with more possibilities. At the same time, the emergence of 3D printing technology may allow many old products to be rediscovered, improved, and redesigned, bringing about new and extraordinary creations.

(6) Strong operability of 3D printing machines
Traditional handicraft manufacturing requires professional craftsmen to master skilled skills. Even in the era of mass production and computers, a large number of experienced professionals are still needed to operate and calibrate the machines. 3D printing has created a new business model. Even complex items can be produced by anyone in any environment, as long as they obtain computer source files. The operation is simple and easy. Unskilled manufacturing provides the possibility for ordinary people to manufacture products in remote environments or extreme situations.

(7) High portability of manufacturing machines
Compared with traditional manufacturing machines, 3D printers have more powerful production capabilities. For example, limited by the physical size of the machine, traditional injection molding machines can only produce products that are much smaller than their own size. However, due to their small size and easy movement, 3D printers can produce products as large as the printing table. The advantage of higher portability makes 3D printers expected to become a necessary daily necessity for homes or offices in the future. Currently, the home 3D printers currently on the market are basically the same size as ordinary printers. Of course, some industrial-grade 3D printers are similar to traditional industrial equipment and require a special production environment, so portability is not applicable.

(8) Green environmental protection of production products
Traditional metal processing methods will discard nearly 90% of metal raw materials, easily causing a serious waste of resources and seriously endangering environmental health. Another hidden benefit of 3D printing technology is that it can recycle the remaining materials after processing, which not only effectively alleviates the tension between supply and demand of some non-renewable resources (such as rare earth metals), but also greatly reduces the generation of by-products and waste. At the same time, the designed global “electronic transportation” replaces the transportation of raw materials and finished products, allowing factories to produce products nearby, simplifying and eliminating complex production lines and parts supply chains, reducing the carbon emissions of products from an environmental protection perspective, and improving to achieve global “resource production efficiency”. With the gradual development of printing materials and technologies, 3D printing is expected to become a more environmentally friendly processing method with “zero emissions, net shape”. Another major contribution of 3D printing to environmental protection is its “zero inventory” feature. 3D printing technology allows manufacturers to produce products on demand without establishing a product storage mechanism or even an inventory of spare parts, reducing cost investment risks and Waste of discarded products. It is of great significance, especially in the military field. When the military needs to ensure an adequate supply of weapons reserves at foreign military bases and battle fronts, by deploying 3D printers and raw materials, it can promptly and quickly ensure the continued reserve of military weapons. In the future, mature weapons can be developed. 3D printing technology can print parts at any time, reducing the transportation and assembly of a large number of heavy spare parts.

(9) Diversified production of raw material combinations
Since today’s industrial equipment is processed through raw material cutting, molding, multi-dimensional processing, and other processes, it is difficult to simply integrate raw materials of different properties into very stable new materials. With the in-depth research on multi-material fusion in 3D printing technology, various possibilities are provided for the mixing of materials with different properties, resulting in many functionally graded structures and heterogeneous material structures with unique properties and functions, optimizing product performance It helps to achieve lightweight product structure and further improves the utilization rate of materials.

(10) Localized manufacturing for the global economy
The widespread application of 3D printing technology has changed the pattern of global import and export trade. Importing countries are less dependent on imports, and localized production can effectively reduce the problem of global economic imbalances. At the same time, the huge potential of the 3D printing market in the future can drive the rapid development of the global economy. From industry to commerce to government industries, from enterprises to household individuals, 3D printing will be spread to every corner of the world in the next few decades, with an ever-growing number of customers. The group will bring trillions of business resources in product design, product manufacturing, printers, and consumable consumption. For developing countries, more economical local renewable resources greatly reduce their dependence on imported advanced and expensive foreign technologies and materials, thereby further reducing production costs and benefiting their own people. For developing countries that are gradually aging, the 3D industry reduces the country’s need for expensive labor and the need to rely on cheap foreign labor, which is conducive to improving the country’s overall production capacity.

(11) Close relationship between manufacturing and service industries
Another major impact of the 3D industry on the global economy is that the industrial boundaries between the manufacturing and service industries are increasingly blurred, so that the various industries no longer have the simple division of labor relationship before, but present an increasingly close relationship with each other. development trend. Manufacturing enterprises can obtain various user service requirements through the Internet and minimize the configuration costs of various production factors. On the other hand, online platforms provide a wider range of channels for service sales and promote the ability of new products to be marketed globally in a short period of time. With the advent of the experience society, product experience and service value account for an increasing proportion of the entire product use value. This requires manufacturers and dealers to work closely together, not only to provide the basic use functions of the product but also to play an active role in a series of supporting follow-up implicit services (such as supporting information systems, software systems, product maintenance services, etc.). Only in this way can the comprehensive strength of the product be improved and gain a place in today’s fiercely competitive society.

(12) Miniaturization changes in production models
In the traditional industrial manufacturing process, once the parameters of automated machinery and equipment are determined, it is difficult to modify them, so they are suitable for the manufacturing of a single type of product. 3D printing technology makes the manufacturing system more flexible and inclusive. By rearranging, reusing, and updating the combination of systems or subsystems, it can be quickly adjusted to adapt to different printing production tasks. The “Third Industrial Revolution” brought by 3D printing technology has successfully transformed a large number of physical material flows into virtualized information flows in the context of the information age, which may fundamentally change the original production organizational model. A computer and a 3D printer can carry out product development and manufacturing. This low-threshold production model weakens the intensive production advantages of large enterprises, increases the survival opportunities of small and medium-sized enterprises and even individual entrepreneurs, and shifts large-scale factory production to a new model of socialization, commoditization, and even personalization.

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