By Chris on Oct 11, 2018 4:20:56 PM
Numerous businesses have evolved thanks to the benefits of technology, and others have been left behind because they’ve decided not to jump into the bandwagon of success and innovation.
The appearing of 3D printing is taking the world by storm. It has had a notable impact and effect on different types of industries, especially in supply chains and logistics industry, as a whole - this new technology has evolved the future of businesses and consumers.
However, before diving into the world of 3D printing in logistics, let's see what it is and how it started.
What is 3D printing?
When we refer to 3D printing as a "new technology", we're going back to the 1980s.
You can also hear of 3D printing as additive manufacturing - a process that creates a physical object from a digital design. The digital model is turned into a stable three-dimensional physical object by adding material layer by layer.
How is the printing done?
First, you need to connect the printer to a computer. Once it's connected and you have selected the file you want to print, the machine will start doing its magic with the material of your choice, creating your 3D object.
You can find from desktop printers to even big industrial machines (some of them use a laser to melt metal powder at high temperatures selectively).
The size of the object can influence its printing time, though it can take hours or even days to reach the desired result.
There is a variety of materials to choose from, and they will all depend on your specific use case (even though there will be more materials appearing on the market every year)
The most common 3D printing materials are:
- Prototyping Plastic
- SLS Nylon
- Rubber-like Plastic
- Transparent Plastic
- Simulated ABS
- Full-color Sandstone
- Industrial Metals
Who is using 3D printing?
Regardless of your industry or profession, additive manufacturing can be an option for you!
Several entrepreneurs hold that this type of printers has been beneficial for them and for that reason they will keep preferring 3D printing as their prototyping manufacturing method.
Some of the industries that today are using 3D printing are:
- Car Manufacturers
- Aircraft Manufacturers
- Supply Chain & Logistics
- Drone Enthusiasts
Impact of additive manufacturing in Logistics
3D printing is an entirely different way of manufacturing, which can drastically impact the logistics industries. What started as a niche service is now diagnosed to one day transform the entire world of production.
As you must be aware of these changes, check out some benefits of it:
- Save Time
One of the central advantages of 3D printing is the speed at which parts can be built, contrasted to the conventional manufacturing methods.
While the more industrial additive manufacturing machines take a longer time to print and post-process, these 3D printers offer a substantial time-saving improvement when compared to traditional techniques.
Additive manufacturing machines perform a build-in one step, with no interplay from the machine operator during the build stage. As soon as the CAD concludes, it can be uploaded to the device and printed in one step in a couple of hours.
- Say Goodbye to Customs Delays
Another breathtaking benefit, for those with 3D printers, is that borders and customs will no longer be a problem since a schematic file could be sent to the chosen 3PL via the internet and be received instantly.
- More Space
A lot of companies, especially warehouses, have a space designed for storing different types of merchandise. This space costs much money to the business. Nevertheless, with 3D printing, there is no longer the need to store! A schematic file could be forwarded to a trusted 3PL provider, saving it in their data and printing it whenever it is needed.
- Reduce Shipping and Air Cargo Volumes
It's worth mentioning that a proportion of goods which were previously manufactured in China or other Asian markets are now ‘near-sourced’ in North America and Europe, reducing shipping and air cargo volumes.
- Single Step Manufacturer
Most designs require a large number of manufacturing steps to be produced by traditional technologies. The more steps it takes to build a product, the higher the risks are of having perfect quality and also levels its cost.
Well, additive manufacturing machines complete a build in one step, with no interaction from the machine operator during the build phase. When the design has finished, its ready to be uploaded to the printer and printed in just one step.
The ability to produce a part in one step dramatically reduces the dependence on different manufacturing processes (machining, welding, painting) and gives the designer more control over the final product.
- New Sector of Logistics
All of the printers need materials to do their magic! A new sector of logistics could be created to deal with all the storage and movement of the raw materials 3D printers need.
It is a vast sector to start on because this technology keeps growing every day and becomes more accessible to every type of public. In a short future, people will have these printers in their office or even home and home delivery market will increase.
To conclude, raw materials today have changed from being physical to being digital files, making all industries wired and connected with just a couple of clicks, faster and more efficient than ever.
Are you ready to jump into the futuristic bandwagon of success, innovation, and technology?