Modern technology and gadgets not only made our life easy but also fast and comfortable. In the chilly winters of December or on the scorching sun of May, one can enjoy the coolness of spring; thanks to the air conditioner. But what if people can use customised products instead of choosing among AC’s design they make their design in their own smartphone and print like they give print + F command to print docs. To the amazement of creator and innovators, their ideas can become into reality; into 3D or rapid prototyping.
Technology has broken the barrier via 3D printing technology. In this manufacturing method object is manufactured from 2D drawing into a solid object by adding 2D slices one over other. Capabilities of 3D printing are certainly limited by human’s thinking capability. Any complex part can be fabricated with as ease as with simple geometries. And that is not the case with current methods of manufacturing. All the methods used today can be grouped as ‘process of manufacturing in which the final product is obtained by subtracting the unnecessary materials’.
With the help of the cost analysis of the final product consumer consume, future of manufacturing can be determined. The cost analysis will include everything that a company spend on selling the product in stores. But in order to compare the two manufacturing processes, namely conventional manufacturing, and 3D printing. Analysis of marketing and sales strategies will give be a futile effort.
Today, we can manufacture almost all varieties of products using the principle of standardisation, for example, the clothing market offer shirts of size 36,38,40,42 and 44. People with sizes other than these will have to choose size among these only. Let us see the manufacturing cycle a product is undergone through
To start manufacturing of a one feet cylinder with a diameter of say 0.25 feet. Industrialist will purchase land to install machines which can weigh for few quintals to thousands of quintals. 3D printing machines can also have massive sizes, but one machine can replace multiple conventional manufacturing process requirements.
Conventional machines have rotating parts to cause linear, harmonic or rotatory motion. And these parts cause huge Vibration which needs a foundation to be cemented, to isolate them from each other. Poorly isolated machines have the potential to create an epicentre for an earthquake. Well with 3D printing, though motors are used, due to the requirement of a few machines foundation cost is less.
In the case of mass manufacturing robots can be installed to automate the production but in batch production or job type production, an operator is required to operate the machines. And is also required to do inventory management for a low-cost product.
In the preview of low-cost manufacturing, mass manufacturing is preferred over other types but in it to bring even a small variation in products is difficult. In conventional manufacturing, a requirement of variation in products results in alteration of processes.
And the production of a customised product is limited by its design complexity. The 3D printing machines have the capabilities to overcome all these because of the process it involves manufacturing products. Which are:
Make layer by layer deposition of material to form a solid object. The input file can be given by PC/Laptop. It requires powdered material as its raw material. And the complete product will form instead of disjointed parts.
The benefits of 3D printing are less inventory management, waste material though very less can be reused, can easily outsource manufacturing and can economically build custom products. 3D printing is the future of manufacturing because it can take production from specific locations to places near the demand for the products.This article was written in association with Umang Varshney, Associate Data Engineering Analyst, Optum (OGS OPERATIONS), Gurugram, India
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