3D printing changing manufacturing industry

Companies across the world are looking to enjoy greater cost savings, and businesses in the manufacturing industry may have the opportunity to do just that as 3D printing makes a greater impact on the scene. This technique, slowly gaining popularity with firms, creates products by laying down thin layers of material based on a digital model instead of using traditional "subtractive" methods which require workers or machines to create an item out of a larger piece of material . 

Cutting manufacturing costs 

Manufacturing costs have dropped for companies in recent decades; many firms have outsourced their production to other countries to take advantage of the low manufacturing labor costs and domestic facilities have relied increasingly on automated processes, resulting in the need for fewer workers across the country. 3D printing could be the next major cost-cutting move firms make, as this increase in automated processes will likely further drive down the need for manufacturing employees. 

Not only does 3D printing have the ability to slash labor expenses, it also gives businesses the opportunity to cut costs in other areas. Because products aren't carved out of a large piece of material, such as plastic or metal, companies can find themselves more efficiently using their raw goods and disposing of less waste. This could also give firms the ability to cut down on material procurement, as they can better manage their supplies and do more with less. 

Production time also plays a role in the cost-efficiency of 3D printing. Rather than sending prototypes overseas or having large orders produced halfway across the world and shipped to the U.S., this technique allows manufacturers to have their products made much more quickly. 

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama brought more attention to the process, and urged Washington politicians to approve plans to bring innovative manufacturing back to the U.S. and set up "manufacturing innovation centers" domestically, which could further the technology's growth in the country. 


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