3D Printing Essay
3D Printing is a becoming a very popular method of production for those that need models produced quickly and on a small scale. 3D printing is the process of making a real, solid 3D model from it’s original digital format. The benefits of 3D printing are numerous and are continually being improved as the technology changes. With the rise of this new technology, it can no longer be viable for companies to sit back and ignore it. As a production company Fuse Media needs to invest in the equipment necessary to offer 3D printing to customers. No longer will it be beneficially to only offer 2D services in this fast paced industry.
We hope that through showing the recent history, why we should invest, what other companies are doing, and what exactly we can do with 3D printing will persuade this company to jump on board with this incredible and groundbreaking technology. History To understand exactly what 3D print is, it’s important for our company to first find out where it’s origins lie. As a matter of fact, this technology is not very new at all the process was invented in 1984 by Charles Hull. The process he used was known as stereolithography which is a printing process that enables a 3D object to be created from digital data.
Basically, the desired material is placed into the printer. Then, a laser inside of the printer solidifies it to create the desired 3D object. These 3D printers were first produced in 1992 by 3D Systems. Throughout the years, these 3D printers were being used to print various things. In the late 90s and early 2000s, they were used in the field of science. It was actually used to engineer synthetic organs for implants. Around 2005, a company known as RepRap started using the printer to create small tool parts.
As the technology in 3D printers has progressed it has been able to create small toys, prosthetics, robotic aircrafts, and even a full sized car. As we can see, looking at the past of this technology shows the vast potential for the future it could have at Fuse Media. This technology, as we have seen, has already accomplished truly incredible feats. However, we believe our company can offer even more to our customers through 3D printing technology. We believe the use of 3D printing has yet to be used to it’s full potential. By carefully examining where 3D printing has been and what
it has accomplished to date, we can look forward to what can be improved and offered to customers in the future. Why to Invest as a Printing Company 3D printing is rapidly changing the printing industry. It is important to invest in 3D printing because it can open up new markets and thus create new opportunities. To not invest in 3D printing is to lose the competitive advantage in the printing industry. For example, digital printing has highly affected the industry since people could produce their product with short runs and little wait time, and this is exactly what 3D printing is offering today.
This new technology is a way to revolutionize the traditional printing world. It does more than simply link digital and print formats it creates a whole new concept. One of the biggest appeals of 3D printing is the amount of applications the technology has. Such applications include aerospace, automotive, and medical. For example, instead of taking a clay mold of your mouth a 3M wand could be used to create a digital file of your mouth and create an implant. Customization in prosthetics could become more feasible with the use of 3D printing. Creating prosthetics to precisely fit a human body is not that far off (Evans).
The application possibilities are endless. One site offers, The question isn’t whether or not 3D printing will change the world, or is it the next big thing. The question is just how much longer until it changes the world? It will change the way business is done the way cell phones have changed communication, or the personal computer changed, well, everything (McBride). There are many advantages to 3D printing. Some advantages to consider include: increasing innovation, improving communication, decreasing time to market, and reducing development costs (“Advantages”).
Imagine the ability to, “Hold a full color, realistic 3D model in your hands to impart infinitely more information than a computer image” (“Advantages”). In other words, 3D printing can improve communication by allowing the users to hold diagrams to express ideas and relay messages. Another appeal of 3D printing is the speed of production. Industrial 3D printing can produce the same results that traditional manufacturing methods produce in weeks in only hours. Following the law of business, time is money.
3D print appears to offers unique solution to consumer needs and save time in production (Tamarjan). “Dimension 3D printing can help you quickly fine tune designs and cut weeks – even months – from your development schedule” (“The”). With the pressure of the market products and services are expected to be delivered faster. Further, “3D printing enables management, engineering design teams, manufacturing, field service, marketing, purchasing, and vendors to offer firsthand input based on durable, functional ABS parts that can be produced quickly and efficiently” (“The”).
3D Production Companies Many companies are already becoming successful in offering 3D printing to businesses and individuals at an affordable cost. 3D printing is no longer limited to simple small scale prototypes produced by home made machines. 3D Printing is now capable of using a variety of materials which make it possible to produce final parts instead of just prototypes. Companies such as Redeye have invested in over one hundred of the latest modeling systems resulting in the ability to produce five thousand parts in under two weeks.
NASA used Redeye when they needed a mockup of a dexterous humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 (R2) to be used in the International Space Station. Using traditional CNC machining methods for prototypes NASA would have had to invest $18,000 and waited 32 weeks for completion. Redeye used its Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) equipment to produce the mockup $36,000 and completed the project in two weeks. Producing large scale projects like this can be costly for the production company. This is why several other production companies have chosen to invest in machines for smaller productions and fewer runs.
Shapeways is one of those companies and they have marketed themselves towards hobbyists and designers. Shapeways offers affordable short run productions that allow small companies or individuals to produce the items they need. Several other manufacturing companies have invested in the 3D industry including i. materialise, core, and 3Dproparts. There is still a lot of room in the market for more companies to offer 3D printing. Those that invest early on will gain a strong presence in the market, making a name for themselves when customers seek out 3D printing companies. How Other Companies are Using 3D Printing
While many industries have yet to fully embrace 3D printing or rapid prototyping. However, several have experimented with the technology to see how it could advance their companies and provide them with possibilities that were once unachievable. The Smithsonian Institution took to the possibilities of 3D printing when it realized it needed exact replicas of its collection to send out on road travels. By generating 3D replicas the Smithsonian Institute is able to protect the originals from harm and not invest in the protection and insurance needed in order to transport the originals.
When the University of Hasselt needed to develop a lower jaw implant for an 83 year old woman they had it constructed out of titanium powder with a state of the art 3D printer. In this manner an implant was able to be created at a lower cost and faster time than older methods. As 3D printing becomes more commonplace and production facilities incorporate it, Medical facilities will look to those companies to produce many custom implants for patients. Athletic wear company Nike has also got involved in 3D printing with its latest football cleat.
The bottom plate is completely 3D produced allowing Nike to deliver a cleat specifically designed for high end performance. Without 3D technologies Nike would not be able to produce these kind of custom designs without incurring a large cost. It can easily be seen that companies are eager to be involved with 3D printing and are continuously finding new ways of using the technology to enhance the products they have to offer to their customers. Costs and ROI One of the main concerns for any printing company is always the cost.
Questions like how much the machinery itself will cost or the services required to operate it, or the cost to fix it if it breaks are always a factor determining the return on investment. With 3D printing, many companies might be reluctant to the idea because of the costs, but the reality of costs can essentially be reasonable depending on if the company is successful in investing and doing their homework beforehand. The real cost of rapid prototyping (3D printing) can be less than $75,000 for the system alone, but that is before the rights to ownership and other expenses are taken into consideration, which is still a reasonable option.
Initial investment can exceed $1 million excluding recurring expenses that can be thousands of dollars. Sometimes investing in a more expensive solution can end in a higher ROI, and the companies that do that, are usually the most successful. But before investing in rapid prototyping in 3D printing, companies need to make sure to do their homework and determine costs such as the price for the rights to ownership beforehand. If they fail to their research, time and money would be wasted on inappropriate technology.
These rights vary in price so it is important to do the research to discover the rights and demands of equipment ownership. Through this process, you will have to consider the price of promoting the use of technology and creating awareness of its benefits and limitations in order to maintain customer satisfaction. The cost of the machines alone, vary, due to the wide range of options and capabilities. Today companies offer 50 different systems that range anywhere $45,000-$800,000. These are not hidden costs but supporting these machines over a period of time may require other costs that need to be taken into consideration.
Some of the main areas to remember when investing in this product is the third party software processing, cleaning equipment, and power consumption. Studies in the past have shown the cost of electricity could run anywhere from 6-8 dollars an hours. Of course in our world today, technology is always improving, so not being updated is always a risk for a company. Investing in 3D printing alone is a way to stay up to date with technology, but even then it will require updates to technology that can sometimes be expensive. The best solution is to always stay up to date and update machinery when necessary.
Most machinery needs maintenance at some point. Although it can be costly, it is something that is needed in order to maintain a successful printing company. “An annual maintenance agreement from 3D Systems can cost up to $75,000 for its SLA 7000 machine. A one-year service agreement for a $200,000 FDM Titan machine from Stratasys is $19,000. As a rule, budget about 10% of the purchase price of the machine for full annual maintenance. ” It is a reality that some of the components in a 3D printing machine will wear out so investing in a full service contract is a good idea.
“Software maintenance can cost up to $6,000 a year. ” Another costs to consider with RP systems are improving facilities and their surrounding environment for the machines sake. This might require changes in ventilation, temperature controls, electrical and water lines. It may cost the company to make these additions/changes but it could cost them even more to repair the machine if they do not make facility changes first. Material costs of RP can be pricey. Photopolymers can cost up to $200 per kilogram. But of course, price varies depending on the specifications of the order such as the product and the quantity.
The company just has to decide if they are willing to invest in order to produce a high quality product for the customer in 3D printing. A good tip would also be to recycle the material unused in order to save money. Then comes one of the main costs of 3D printing, which is hiring those experts to operate such high-tech machinery. The cost of training and experience should be always be required in order to have the best staff producing the best products. 3D printing is something that takes a lot of expertise, and although training programs may be costly, it will offer a high ROI in the long run.
Overall the cost of 3D printing is a reasonable option when you do your research and are aware of all the costs. Hidden costs only exists when companies fail to do their research and are unaware of them. Investing in RP systems can lead to a better business when invested correctly. What We Could Do With 3D Printing Here’s the big question: What can we do with this technology? As we have seen already, many companies have been tremendously successful and have come up with new and innovative ways to implement 3D printing into their businesses.
However, as a printing business, we need to come up with new ways to incorporate this into the printing market. In the most basic aspect, we can meet any customer’s needs. Here are a few things we can focus on: Printing 3D models as a form of advertisement, printing 3D models for any client’s needs, and being more professional than any DIY user. 3D models are a way of being able to touch and feel a product without actually having the product. This can be excellent for advertising. For example: A company has a new line of shoes coming out that they are really wanting to push.
It would be great to get into the hands of all of the customer’s who have subscribed to their magazine. Well, instead of just sending a picture, they send a cheap model that shows the shape, textures (if wanted), colors, etc. of this shoes. And even better, they can send it in a scaled down model to fit into the customer’s mailbox. Luckily, with 3D printing, you can use any material you want to, so this can be done in an incredibly cheap way, but it gives something that customer’s can physically hold in their hands. Also, if the company desires, we can even stamp QR code that takes you directly to the shopping cart to buy the product.
We can also offer 3D printing services to anyone who needs something printed in a 3D model. If an organization has a new logo, invention, prototype, etc. that they’re wanting to produce, but they want to have a 3D model to be able to hold in their hands, then we can perform this service for them. They could try and get someone to create a model for them, but this takes the risk of the model maker getting dimensions or colors wrong. With our 3D printing technology, we can simply create it for them to the exact specifications that they need.
Lastly, we will professionally train our staff to be able to handle this new technology with superior skill. Many people are becoming more “savvy” and trying to do things at home. However, 3D printing is so complex that they won’t have the skill to complete a job like we can. If we can show our customer’s they we can do it better, have better customer service, and provide a product with the best quality, then this will give them no reason to invest in a 3D printer themselves, but rather use our company to meet their 3D printing needs.