Beyond the Hype: 3D Printing is Improving Industrial Manufacturing According to the Experts

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For years, industry experts have been skeptical if 3D printing would ever reach its true potential. It grew in popularity, with the latest car, shoe, or other flashy consumer product hitting top news outlets. But beyond the hype, it was revolutionizing manufacturing processes, changing the way products are designed and built.

What remains true is that 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) have been around for decades. And they continue to benefit manufacturers in ways previously thought impossible.

Essentium recently commissioned a 3rd party report, Trends in 3D Printing at Scaledelves into more of how manufacturers are using 3D printing and the benefits they’re seeing for their business. To help uncover some of the biggest opportunities in the marketplace, we asked top industry experts to weigh in. Here are their tips.

How 3D Printing Can Benefit Industrial Manufacturing

Design for Additive Manufacturing Creates Efficiencies

Terry Wohlers


Principal Consultant & President – Wohlers Associates, Inc.

Follow Terry: Twitter | LinkedIn

The biggest impact is the consolidation of two or more parts into one. This design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) methodology reduces part numbers, manufacturing processes, assembly, labor, inspection, inventory, and certification paperwork. AM can also be used to create more complex shapes and features and lightweight parts, which consume less material. By adopting DfAM within the product development process, parts can be created that are otherwise difficult and expensive to produce. Also, AM makes it easier to manufacture locally for some types of products.

“By adopting DfAM within the product development process, parts can be created that are otherwise difficult and expensive to produce.” @terrywohlers

3D Printing is Still the Best for Flexibility and Agility

Nora Toure

Founder, Women in 3D Printing

Follow Nora: Twitter | LinkedIn

3D Printing is still the best-suited technology for small to medium production runs of parts needed in a short turnaround time. Enabling manufacturers to have this flexibility and agility in their production plans is the biggest impact we can have today.

“3D Printing is still the best-suited technology for small to medium production runs of parts needed in a short turnaround time.” @nora3dp

Get Immediate Benefit With Rapid Changeovers and& Product Quality

Pete Basiliere


Managing Director – Monadnock Insights

Follow Pete: Twitter | LinkedIn

For immediate benefit, 3D printing’s most significant impact is in producing tooling, jigs, and fixtures used within industrial manufacturing. Not only do these applications enable rapid changeovers and better product quality, but they can be implemented without the quality and certification requirements of, for example, 3D printed parts used in regulated finished goods.

“For immediate benefit, 3D printing’s most significant impact is in producing tooling, jigs, and fixtures used within industrial manufacturing.” @petebasiliere

Make What was Impossible to Manufacture, Possible
Stacey DelVecchio

President – StaceyD Consulting

Follow Stacey: Twitter | LinkedIn

3D printing can enable new designs that could never have been made before. I’m not talking about just topology optimization, I’m talking about a part that was never manufacturable because maybe it was too heavy for the application; or maybe it would get too hot to survive the application. So, the additive process could remove weight or add cooling channels. These are just two examples but the broader subject here is to make what was impossible 20 years ago.

On what 3D printing can enable: “New designs that could never have been made before. I’m not talking about just topology optimization. I’m talking about a part that was never manufacturable because maybe it was too heavy for the application; or maybe it would get too hot to survive the application.” @staceydel

Hype and Substance, 3D Printing is Here to Stay

3D printing will continue to be a mainstay in manufacturing processes. To get the latest on how 3D printing is changing manufacturing, read the report Trends in 3D Printing at Scale

Thank you to our experts for sharing their thoughts. Now we’d like to hear yours. What are the biggest opportunities you see for 3D printing to improve industrial manufacturing?

Essentium, Inc. provides industrial 3D printing solutions that are disrupting traditional manufacturing processes by bringing product strength and production speed together, at scale, with an open ecosystem and material set. Essentium manufactures and delivers innovative industrial 3D printers and materials enabling the world’s top manufacturers to bridge the gap between 3D printing and machining to embrace the future of additive manufacturing.

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