3D printing is taking every industry by storm. Soon, it is going to become a common place just like computers. One of the areas that have been heavily impacted by the technology is product design.
Traditionally, companies used moulds to mould products before they went into actual production. This would take months before actual products hit the market. Other companies had design teams far away that handled product design and then production took place in another location.
Here’s how 3D printing has impacted product design:
Increased ability to custom design own products
It is now easier than ever before to customise product designs according to the needs of a specific section of customers. Traditionally, it was not possible to keep changing the prototypes because it meant that engineers would have to come up with new moulds that took several months and a huge budget to incorporate the changes. With 3D printing, any changes in the design of the products can be implemented in a few hours without any additional cost for the design project.
The product design has been streamlined
3D printing has been credited with shrinking manufacturing timelines. Product design teams can collaborate on designing a product with CAD programs and have refined digital models in a short period. This allows for fast and better refined innovations. Moreover, the design team does not need to have several departments as in the case of moulding as they just need digital designs and 3D printers to complete their work.
Proof before production
With 3D printing, you can check the form, viability and the function of the product before it goes to full process. This is vital in helping you save on costs of production by avoiding defective goods before they get to production. With the traditional product design process, it is easy to pass a product as perfect when there are glaring mistakes in its structure of function, as the teams do not have an exact replica of what would go in production.
Get real models quite fast
With 3D printing, you get real-life models after a few hours of design. In many products, you can use the models to get the first test from your clients and get their views on the product in question. Customers can fit the products, look at the aesthetics of the product and the general feel of the product. Such feedback is vital to ensure the feasibility, quality and fit for purpose of the product. It is also a way of getting better acceptance in the marketplace.
Fresh business ideas
3D printing is now becoming accessible across several industries. The accessibility is driving innovation to greater heights as it is making it easier to create new ideas and test them at very low costs. New product ideas are very vital for any business that seeks to satisfy its customers and beat the competition at the marketplace. As 3D technology grows, there is no limit to what can be created. Metal, ceramic, food products and plastics are coming together in wild possibilities. The engineers are allowed to get wild and create just about anything.
In contrast, traditional modelling is very expensive and cumbersome. This restricts innovation as there should be a budget for every idea that is brought forward.
Unlike the conventional creative departments that have to have all sorts of people to design and come up with sketches of the intended product, a reduced size of workers can effectively work on a project while others are engrossed in some other work. In reality, 3D printing makes efficient use of the available talent and prevents duplication of efforts in the product design process.
Into the future, the technology will be easily accessible by consumers. Companies will start getting design ideas from their clients too. Replacements will be sent as files and printed by the clients at their own convenience.
There is so much in store for 3D printing and related additive technologies and innovative companies are taking up the challenge and getting great results from the technology.