Reduced overhead – Printing materials and a CAD file are all that is required to create a product. It’s not necessary to purchase molds, create custom manufacturing materials, hire laborers or even have a designated manufacturing facility.
Intricate details – Almost any shape imaginable can be printed, including shapes with complex detail that would be costly and difficult (in some cases too difficult) to create with subtractive manufacturing.
One-of-a-kind products – Some products, such as hearing aids and prosthetic limbs, are time-consuming and expensive to create with traditional manufacturing techniques because they must be customized to fit a single end user.
Reduced warehousing costs – Offering long-term warranties for replacement parts is much more efficient for companies that utilize 3-D printing. The company can simply save a CAD file for each product part and then print the part on an as-needed basis instead of storing older parts in a warehouse.
Industry experts predict that 3-D printing will transform manufacturing as we know it. Exciting projects like rebuilding coral reefs, growing functioning organs and body parts and replicating priceless artifacts for scientific study will continue to capture the attention of the public and encourage further innovation.