Just 10 years ago, 3D printers were the stuff of science-fiction movies. Today, the technology is popular across different industries and transforming the way all types of businesses take products to market.
You’ve likely heard of doctors mapping out intricate surgeries with the help of 3D technology, companies making prototypes and architects creating more structurally sound plans.
By 2024, experts predict the 3D printing industry will reach $35.6 billion. More and more businesses are using this technology, and tech companies are no exception.
Whether you make a product or simply want to map out a visual of how your software works, 3D printing saves time, money and effort. There are some clear ways it can help your business and many others. Here are eight of them.
1] Accelerate Product Development
Before 3D printing, product developers had to plan a concept, get a prototype created, test it and begin again. The process was cumbersome and expensive. With 3D printing, a prototype is created in-house, checked, adjustments made and another model printed. The entire process is faster, cheaper and allows for those minor adjustments that make an item the absolute best it can be.
While smaller features such as electronics still need to be tested separately, the functionality of a product is easy to rehash over and over until it’s perfected.
2] Remove Product Rough Edges
If you make something such as a metal product, there are a number of different ways to create a smooth finish and get rid of rough edges.
One of the advantages of 3D printing is that you can create models and try out different types of finishing to see which one works best with your particular product. You can also test different production methods and product designs to see which results in the smoothest finish possible.
3] Improve Product Design
3D printing gives you the opportunity to improve product design by testing different features and seeing how usable they are. For example, if you make an electronic gadget, you can put a model in the hands of testers and see what doesn’t work. You then make changes and try it all over again.
The use of 3D technology makes it possible to make minor adjustments instead of going back to the drawing board or ignoring those little flaws that impact user experience (UX).
4] Test Working Parts
Today’s 3D printers also allow you to capture an image of a product on a 3D camera and translate it into a computer aided design program (CAD). Tech firms can then use the rendering to create parts or entire products.
The advantage of printing out working parts is the ability to test various adjustments until you find the one that best outpaces the competition and makes your product the best it can be.
5] Design in 3D
3D technology is more than just printers, of course. Computer monitors now have 3D capabilities, so designers can take a flat image and make it more realistic. The ability to design in three dimensions allows you to see issues before the product is prototyped in the first place. Creating in 3D saves money and lets you find errors early in the design process.
6] Engage Users in Visual Technology
Visual 3D technology engages users of tech companies that don’t make a physical product but offer digital goods. One example of this is being used in vehicles to generate instrument panel images for drivers and passengers. 3D technology gives a better depth perception and makes the interaction between driver and machine better than ever before.
The use of 3D technology combined with driverless vehicles will come together in the near future and take mobile devices to a new level they’ve never seen before. Imagine your car doing the driving while you engage in a video conference call on the other side of the world. This is just one example of how tech businesses can use this technology.
7] Reduce Inventory Waste
In the past, businesses had to produce either a small or large batch of products at a time. With 3D printing technology, companies can make any size inventory as needed. This allows you to combine 3D technology with business intelligence.
Check out which products have the most orders at a specific time of year and create the inventory to have on hand to meet customer demands. Reduce production on the items you don’t need as many of. You won’t have to rely on a manufacturer and their limitations if you use 3D technology and produce items in-house yourself.
8] Customize Orders
Another advantage of 3D technology for tech businesses is the ability to customize orders. Imagine adding someone’s name to every product created or including special features based on your customers’ individual needs.
Use 3D CAD and make changes in the planning stages and then use 3D printing to create a one-of-a-kind tech product. This technology gives you the ability to serve customers better than ever before.
Where Will 3D Technology Go Next?
Every year, new technologies emerge in artificial intelligence, computer speed and 3D. There is no telling where the changes might take us next.
Stay on top of the latest trends and look for new ways your company might benefit from the current ability of computers and printers. Using technology only makes sense for business, so be open to new innovations.