In 2012, 3D printing was seen as a big deal. It was going to give injection molding manufacturers a run for their money. But by 2015, the mood had changed as 3D printers failed to live up to early expectations. One of the biggest issues was the inability to cost-effectively print thousands of parts. With slow printing speeds and lack of true automation, 3D printing struggled to compete when more than a few hundred parts were needed.
In 2018, things began to change. Technology emerged that allows 3D printing operations to run fully automated without human interaction to produce thousands of parts. The ability to achieve scale economies means that companies will finally be able to bring manufacturing jobs in-house, realize the savings of just-in-time inventory that doesn’t have to be ordered and shipped three to six months in advance, and allow for customization on a mass scale.
This presentation will cover how to assess these new technologies and a simple tool that participants can use to quickly perform high-level, cost-benefit analysis to see whether automated 3D printing can work for them.