Glance at How 3D Printing Technology is Making its Way in Various Industrial Sectors
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. At present, industrial 3-D printing is flourishing and is likely to go mainstream in a long way. Many professionals and engineers are unaware of the benefits of this technology up till now, however today this technology has gone well beyond rapid tooling, prototyping, trinkets, and toys and is being widely used in various industrial sectors.
The industrial sector has been witnessing the wonders of 3D printing technology for around decades now. The technology has surged in usage and popularity in past few years. With time and new developments novel applications of 3D printing are continuously being developed and are gaining much popularity.
Currently, industrial 3-D printing is at a peak point, and about to go mainstream in a long way. Many professionals and engineers are unaware of the benefits of this technology yet, but today this technology has gone well beyond rapid tooling, prototyping, trinkets, and toys.
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing which is also called additive manufacturing is a process of producing a 3-dimensional solid object from a digital file. The formation of a 3D printed object is done using additive methods. In an additive process, an object is formed by laying down consecutive layers of material until the object is shaped. Every such layer can be called as a finely sliced cross-section of the object.
3D printing allows you to form complex structures using less material than traditional manufacturing techniques. Today 3D printing is being used in a variety of areas due to its various benefits. Some of the top applications of 3D are as follows:
Applications of 3D Printing Technology:
1. Automotive Industry
Automobile manufacturers have been using 3D printing technology since past few years for printing jigs and fixtures, spare parts, tools, and also end-use parts. In addition, 3D printing has opened doors to on-demand automobile manufacturing which has led to lower stock levels and reduced design and manufacturing time period.
Moreover, some automotive enthusiasts across the globe are making use of this amazing technology to refurbish old cars. For instance, Australian engineers printed parts to bring a Delage Type-C back to life. For redeveloping Delage Type-C, they had printed parts that were out of production for eras.
2. Healthcare Industry
Since many years, the medical industry has been harnessing the benefits of 3D printing technology in various medical application areas from bioprinting – where biomaterials like cells and growth factors are combined to produce tissue-like structures impersonating their natural counterparts – to medical equipment such as prosthetics.
The applications of 3D printing in the healthcare has also given rise to the trend of developing metal orthopedic implants. Owing to ground-breaking capabilities of 3D printing technology for producing porous surfaces, the implants developed using this technology are more easily integrated with the patient’s natural bones, letting them to grow into the implant.
3. Construction Industry
The construction industry has been using 3D printing as the foremost method of fabricating buildings or construction modules since recent years.
Some of the top applications of 3D printing in construction projects are extrusion (wax, foam, concrete/cement, and polymers), powder bonding (reactive bond, polymer bond, sintering) and additive welding. Private, commercial, industrial as well as public sector construction projects implement 3D printing technology for smooth functioning of their projects due to benefits of this technology such as ease in developing complex parts with accuracy, quicker construction, reduced labor costs, enhanced functional integration, and less waste generation.
4. Food Industry
3D printing technology has invaded the food sector long time ago in areas such as customized food designs, simplified supply chain, digitalized as well as personalized nutrition, and increased source of available food material. The global food industry is making use of 3D printing technology to make food production more effective and highly sustainable. Restaurants and food centers such as Food Ink and Melisse are making use of this technology as a unique selling point to appeal customers across the globe.
5. Education Industry
Teachers and students are using 3D printers in the classroom since a long time. 3D printing allows students to show up their ideas in a fast and cost-effective manner.
Currently, there are numerous educational courses one can take to engage with 3D printing. Colleges provide courses on topics that are in-line to 3D printing such CAD and 3D design, which can be applied to 3D printing at a certain phase.
The Future of 3D Printing Technology
Looking at the flourishing global market for 3D printing, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced to soon pass a policy that will focus on promoting 3D printing across various industrial sectors and help domestic businesses tackle technological as well as financial barriers and form supportive and additional facilities for the world’s front-runners in the technology, such as China and the U.S. The policy will aid in the development of a “favorable ecosystem for design, development, and application” of 3D printing.
In a nutshell, 3D printing and a feasible industry surrounding it is going to show its wonders in various sectors and ease the life of many industrialists in the coming future.
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