Technology . 3D printing, we can do more things than you imagine with…

The filing of a first patent on 3D printing technology dates back to 1986. Since then, these technologies have continued to mature, giving rise to a host of 3D printing tools. Initially accessible only to high-tech sectors, 3D printing then became popular with the general public over time. Today, there are thousands of companies using this manufacturing method. Its advantages are numerous and its possibilities are limitless. Focus on a revolutionary technology, at the edge of industry 4.0.

The wide range of possibilities of 3D printing

The scope of applications for additive manufacturing is vast. Let’s discover together some of these uses, which are as numerous as they are unexpected.

3D in automotive engineering

The automotive industry has been exploiting the potential of3d printing. It is extremely useful in rapid prototyping, as it helps reduce design and production times for new vehicle models. In addition, 3D printing has allowed an expansion of industrial production processes in this sector.

It used to be that you needed an array of custom tools to manufacture high-performance fixtures, holders and machines. Complexity of the process and increased costs were the corollaries.

But today, thanks to 3D printing, the manufacture of these objects is done directly on a 3D printer. Manufacturers using 3D printing technology in their production mode can reduce their lead times by 90%. The main consequence of the introduction of in-house production is the improvement of the profitability and efficiency of the manufacturing process as a whole.

More and more, we see the appearance of 3D printed parts in vehicles. The reason ? The continuous improvement of the quality of the digital process and the reduction of the cost of materials. The consequence ? Expanding design possibilities and increasing the level of performance.

3D printing, a major player in relocation

The obvious is obvious. By its power, 3D printing could only contribute to the modification of design and production methods with the effect of disrupting industrial production. But at first, the advantages of 3D in industrial production were hardly noticeable. However, the relocation of industrial production is one of them.

The last decades have indeed coincided with the production deficit of American companies. Many have had to move manufacturing overseas, attracted by cheap labor. On the commercial level, by having the tools manufactured in China or Vietnam, they cost 10,000 to 50,000 dollars less than those manufactured locally in the USA.

But relocating a company has multiple drawbacks, both in terms of the design process and the production process. Added to this is the lengthening of lead times and the exorbitant cost of imports, not to mention the carbon footprint generated by this activity.

Producing more complex parts gives 3D printing the ability to make relocation more attractive. Thanks to its usefulness in design, the viability of in-house production once again becomes a certainty. In addition, 3D printing drastically reduces lead times and increases production line efficiency.

Efficiency in the production of spare parts and spare parts

It can be annoying or dramatic to lose or break a part of an appliance. With 3D, there are no more costly repairs or the obligation to scrap a device that is still in good condition, just because of a damaged part. Nowadays, 3D printing allows you to manufacture spare parts for your household appliances and equipment yourself.

This story takes place in a company called Ashley Furniture. To replace the vacuum retaining ring of a point-to-point drill, engineers used 3D printing. A buyout of the set would have cost them $700. But by scanning the part geometrically, they were able to 3D print it. Cost of the operation, 1 dollar.

Thanks to the digital process, manufacturers no longer have to stock large quantities of spare parts. Which storage has a cost. In addition, this process gives consumers the opportunity to dispose of parts that are no longer manufactured.

3D, a technological innovation in the world of aerospace

One of the reasons for the introduction of 3D printing in aerospace is the possibility of saving money by minimizing weight. By reducing the volume of the components useful in the manufacture of a part, 3D printing also makes it possible to reduce the total weight of the part.

At the production level, even if this change seems trivial, the fact remains that it positively impacts the payload of the ship, its fuel consumption, its gas emissions, its speed and even its safety. . Additive manufacturing makes it possible to produce components that would be far too difficult to manufacture using traditional manufacturing methods.

The 3D printing of a fuel nozzle by GE engineers is an illustrative example. The latter managed “to combine 20 parts into a single unit, weighing 25% less than previous models and five times more durable. (Source: GE)

In doing so, Airbus and Boeing, two competitors of GE have not hesitated to recognize the value of 3D printing. Now, this technology is used for the production of thousands of parts intended to equip their ships.

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