How 3-D Printing is Changing the World

From industrial applications to health and human resources, 3-D printing is now a constant in several global niches and sectors. With innovative and cutting-edge technologies, 3-D printing is quickly changing the landscape when it comes to innovation, design, and production.

To learn more about 3-D printing, check out the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Master in Computer Science program.

3-D Printing

Global Usage and Expenditures

While a constant in several industries, three-dimensional printing (3DP) is still considered a burgeoning technology for the most part. From digital imaging and web development to architecture and construction, it seems 3DP technologies are heavily utilized in industries that require advanced printing and presentations for a myriad of reasons. According to recent statistics, only 24% of industries currently use 3DP for a wide array of applications. While this may seem low, the numbers are expected to increase greatly in 2017. This is mainly due to cloud-based technologies that correlate with large 3DP applications for daily use.

In 2015, nearly $11 billion was spent on 3-D printing globally. This includes printing applications, mobile software, in-house programs, printers, model printers, and data processors. According to research, 3DP technologies are expected to reach nearly $26.7 billion or 27% of market share spending by 2019. This means more companies and industries will do away with traditional, conventional, and flat-based printing in favor of 3-D graphics and programs.

Industries Currently Using 3-D Printing

According to recent statistics, 71% of the manufacturing industry has already adopted 3-D printing. Industrial plastics and manufacturing is at 38%, while automotive and aerospace engineering is at 29%. The latter is the same number for mechanical and plant engineering, while pharmaceutical, medical, and electronics industries are at 27-28%. Consumer goods, both wholesale and retail, use 3DP at a rate of around 18%, while energy is at 14%. And surprisingly, logistics and transport is at 10%. Now that we know which industries are utilizing three-dimensional printing, let’s take a look at the top activities within these industries that focus on 3DP:

Prototyping

Prototyping seems to be the number one activity for companies utilizing 3DP. In fact, nearly 55% of global companies now require 3-D printing for their prototyping and modeling activities.

Concept Proofing

29% of companies utilize 3DP for concept proofing. This, however, is used for concepts that must be proven before they reach prototype or manufacturing stages. Be aware that this type of proofing has nothing to do with finalizing text or content for future 3-D presentations.

Production

25% of companies utilize 3DP technologies for pre, actual, and post-production processing. The main use however, is focused on real-time production for a range of industries.

Marketing Samples

12% of companies utilize 3DP for marketing samples, brochures, and/or advertising materials. This, however, is usually for materials that are intricate, detailed, and have several graphs or base models. This is one aspect where 2-D and flat-printing may override 3DP, unless the company needs specific designs for marketing samples that will be presented to clients, investors, and existing or potential customers.

Other Uses

6% of companies utilize 3-D printing for additional applications and processes.

Cost and Expenses

The main obstacles in implementing 3DP at the workplace are cost and related expenses. In fact, nearly 40% of global companies identify cost as a true barrier for incorporating 3-D modeling, rendering, prototyping, and printing. However, while these technologies are surely expensive, 3DP can cost considerably less when it comes to manufacturing and producing parts and products. For anyone who has an intricate understanding of 3DP, they know that steel plates are designed to correlate with fused deposition modeling. The latter is a common and intricate 3DP manufacturing method for products, parts, and components.

Based on current statistics, it can take up to two weeks and $200 to manufacture steel plates the traditional way. However, the 3DP method takes only 20 minutes and costs around $20. As a result, it may be expensive to purchase and seamlessly incorporate 3DP with existing applications and designs, but in the long run it does save significant money on rendering, remodeling, prototyping, and especially product manufacturing.

The Pros of 3DP for Global Business Solutions

According to recent statistics, 3DP is clearly on the rise across several industries. There are numerous pros associated with these burgeoning, high-end technologies. This includes the fact that 42% of businesses have reported a dramatic increase in overall efficiency. No truer is this than when it comes to product manufacturing and presentations. 79% of global businesses also herald 3DP for enabling them to produce more intricate, detailed, precise, and concise product designs. In fact, 3DP technologies are made specifically to generate more complex product and component design, manufacturing, and printing. Did you know that 3DP even incorporates green options and is truly environmentally friendly? So much so that it has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 130.5-525.5 metric tons by 2025.

Three-dimensional printing even has the ability to reduce traditional prototyping by 71% in the aeronautics and automotive industries. For mechanical and plant engineering, it has already reduced intricate prototyping for products by 85%. These are huge numbers compared to a few years ago, when 3DP was still considered an alternative technology. What’s most exciting about 3-D printing is that it can work with a number of existing applications and software. It also has the ability to replace outdated applications.

Current statistics only show how important 3DP is becoming to numerous global and domestic businesses. From manufacturing and processing to prototyping and product presentation, 3DP technologies will only continue to grow and expand in the coming years.


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