As 3D printing continues to revolutionise global manufacturing, Irish companies are recognising how the technology can transform both their supply chains and their processes. While 3D printing is not necessarily a new phenomenon, recent technological advances have made stakeholders across Ireland, and indeed the world, sit up and take notice of the benefits available to companies.
The advantages of 3D printing begin right at the start of the design process, with peak performance available through unparalleled design freedom. Furthermore, this design freedom is achieved in a way that is significantly more cost effective than traditional manufacturing, allowing invaluable flexibility to meet modern manufacturing requirements. As a market leader in the area of 3D printing in Ireland, 3D Technology Ltd. founder James Wall is seeing a significant increase in demand for 3D printing services amongst Irish companies.
“More than ever we are being contacted by businesses seeking to learn more about the process of 3D printing and how it can benefit their business. Without exception these businesses are surprised to learn the extent to which 3D printing is now the norm across global manufacturing.”
In addition to the design freedom afforded by 3D printing, the ability to print high strength, engineering grade parts is redefining the ways in which companies manage their manufacturing and supply chain requirements. The number of examples are widespread, including lightweight fibreglass parts that can be produced which provide adequate durability compared to the original aluminium part, with savings of up to 88% available.
Another area that has been revolutionised by 3D printing is the re-creation of retro parts in cases where the original designs are not available. This includes parts for classic cars which can be 3D printed to an exacting standard, thereby avoiding an expensive and time consuming pursuit of original parts and designs.
As 3D printing becomes more and more prevalent in a wide range of sectors, one particular area in which the technology has been embraced is within the medical device sector. According to MedScan3D Technical Director Jacqui O’Connor, Irish medical device companies are recognising the advantages of 3D printing, particularly in terms of product development.
“One of the key benefits of 3D printing in terms of the medical device sector is its ability to produce prototypes faster and more cost effectively than traditional manufacturing. This type of faster turnaround and lower cost is invaluable to medical device companies who are relentlessly driving innovation.”
While the benefits of the process of 3D printing have become much more apparent in recent years, the combination of printing from the cloud has also provided a unique advantage over traditional manufacturing, allowing companies with 3D printing technology to seamlessly transfer design files digitally and carry out the printing on site. According to James Wall this is proving to be particularly valuable to his customers.
“Remote printing of spare parts, for example, is allowing businesses completely restructure their logistical and inventory needs. Compare a traditional scenario where a particular part had to be sourced elsewhere, delivered to site and then stored until required. With 3D printing, a remote site can 3D print those parts on demand as they need them, removing the cost of transport and storage for the business.”
With the ease, versatility and design freedom of 3D printing there is no doubt that the technology will continue to play an ever greater role in global manufacturing.
For more information on 3D printing and additive manufacturing read “The Additive Movement has Arrived” by Markforged. https://static.markforged.com/downloads/Markforged_The_Additive_Movement_Has_Arrived.pdf