What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Printing?

Given the widespread usage of 3D Printing technology and people’s hopes around it to transform products and processes, the way you do business is set to change. As we step into this transformative phase, let us dissect the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing to understand its revolutionary impact.

Advantages of 3D Printing

Flexible and faster process

With 3D printing, you have the flexibility of designing and printing more complex designs than conventional manufacturing processes will allow. Moreover, the process is much faster, making design prototyping, subsequent modification and later mass production a breeze.

On-demand print for cost-effectiveness

You can print your products on-demand depending upon client requirements, so the cost of stocking bulk inventory gets eliminated. You can store the design files in a virtual library, locate the files to edit them with the click of a mouse or print as many copies as you want without wasting resources.

Lightweight yet sturdy products 

Plastic is the primary building block in 3D printing, apart from some metals. Thus the advantage of 3D printed materials is that these are very light but sturdy and best suited for application in the automobile and aerospace industries. Further, additives added to the printing material can give the finished products additional features like heat or water resistance.

Eco-friendly technology

Since on-demand production involves minimal inventory stocking, wastage is also minimum, thus reducing the overall carbon emissions in the 3D printing process.

Disadvantages of 3D Printing

Limited raw materials

To date, 3D printing uses only plastics and metals due to a lack of successful research on materials that allow thermal control. Most of these materials are non-recyclable and are not food-safe either.

Smaller build and post-production processing

As of now, 3D technology allows printing by small parts, necessitating post-production assembly. Further, cleaning and polishing printed materials is a must to achieve the finished look, making the entire process lengthy and labour-intensive.

Delamination of additive layers 

In 3D printing, products are built in layers, which bear the risk of disintegrating under certain stressful situations. Items produced using the fused deposition model is prone to this problem, besides polyjet and multijet printing processes.

Not scalable 

Despite requiring low investment, a large volume of products printed using 3D technology doesn’t reduce the per-unit production cost because of the part printing aspect of the process.

Potential design inaccuracies 

The technology or machine used in 3D printing may alter the original design, rendering the final product inconsistent with the prototype. Although fixable during post-processing, these inaccuracies lengthen the production time.

Copyright Issues 

Accessible 3D printing technology may give rise to IP theft by unscrupulous persons, leading to the production of counterfeit products that can impact your goodwill.

Are you seeking the means to move into the market fast with your IP? Or, targeting new markets and customers with unique products and superior quality? 3D Printers by Konica Minolta can help you reimagine your business model with the newest imaging technology. Contact us today for more information on 3D printing.

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