3D Printing in manufacturing
3D-printing technology has the potential to make the manufacturing process options infinite and extremely precise. For example, today, using what’s known as “subtractive process,” if you want a part made out of aluminum, a block is placed into a CAD system and the excess material is cut away to make the part. Using this process, approximately 60 to 70 percent of the aluminum block ends up as scrap depending on the complexity and shape needed. The scrap is later melted down and reused for future manufacturing needs.
By contrast, 3D-printing technology is “additive,” and manufacturers are able to use the minimum material needed to fabricate a part. In the example above, using a 3D printer could essentially eliminate the process of melting down excess scrap material and wasted resources, ultimately driving down total material costs for the manufacturer. For the manufacturing industry in general, this could significantly reduce capital tied up in raw materials and costs to reclaim scrap.