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3D Printing Will Play a Big Role in the Future of Manufacturing, But Which One?

3D printing

Ask just about anyone in manufacturing, and they’ll tell you that 3D printing is going to play a major role in the future of the industry. Ask them just what that role will be, however, and you’re likely to get a much wider range of answers.

While the potential for 3D printing—also known as “additive manufacturing”—in the manufacturing sector is vast, much of its actual use has remained experimental so far, with manufacturers using 3D printing for low-volume or specialized product prototyping, or other niche uses, but not embracing the technology completely as a means of either prototyping or finished production.

However, according to a recent report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)—entitled “3D Printing and the New Shape of Industrial Manufacturing”—all that may be about to change. The report found that more and more manufacturers are embracing 3D printing technology, either as a way to supplement their existing manufacturing processes, or as a replacement for some of them.

According to PwC’s findings, 67% of surveyed manufacturers are already using 3D printing technology in some aspect of their production—either in prototyping or in the final product. Prototyping remains by far the most common industrial use of 3D printing, with only 10% of surveyed manufacturers currently using 3D printing in final production.

While many manufacturers are still approaching 3D printing from an experimental angle—38% of respondents said that they were still doing experiments to determine how they might apply 3D printing to their production process—the acknowledgment that 3D printing will be integral to the manufacturing landscape in some way seems widespread. Barriers to more mainstream implementation include uncertainty about quality and durability, as well as issues relating to regulations of this relatively new technology. Regardless, though, these barriers are gradually falling away, and more and more manufacturers are jumping on board the 3D printing bandwagon.

3D printing as a means of rapid prototyping has been around for years, but as the technology continues to evolve and printers become more efficient, more versatile, less expensive, and smaller, the opportunities to take advantage of the benefits of 3D printing in manufacturing become more and more tempting.

Whether a part is being 3D printed or machined the old fashioned way, there’s always going to be a need for good deburring machinery to make sure that the end product is as smooth and finished as your customers expect it to be. With Cleveland Deburring Machine Company (CDMC), you’ve got the best deburring machinery solutions in the world at your fingertips, so whether you’re on the cutting edge of new technology, or sticking to tried and true methods, we’ve got the deburring solutions that can help keep your business on top of the game.

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