Right Application – “Find the Niches, Find the Riches”
Right Material – “BUT, it’s gotta be this material!!”
Right Machine – “Compromise is for politicians”
Has your company ever brought up the topic of additive manufacturing (3D Printing)? Or discussed how you could use additive manufacturing at your company?
I asked MAGNET’s Dave Pierson this question to better understand why some companies have been able to successfully utilize additive manufacturing and why others have failed.
According to Dave, there are only 3 things “foundations” needed for successful use of additive manufacturing; Application, Material, and Machine.
The Right Application: Must include Mass Personalization and/or Mass Customization
3D Printing Red Lego Blocks = NOT a good application
3D Printing Red Lego Blocks with personalized names on each block = A good application
The difference between the two examples is the mass personalization aspect. If you are looking to produce large volumes of the same product (Red Lego Blocks) use existing blow and/or injection molded technologies, but if you are looking to add a certain customization feature (names, sayings, or logos), maybe additive manufacturing might be right for you.
The Right Material: Function of the material is what matters
Humans are creatures of habit, so if a product is made out of metal we prefer it to always be made out of metal. This applies to rubber, plastic, wood, etc. (you get the picture).
Dave brings up the idea that maybe material properties shouldn’t be the determining factor when deciding future manufacturing productions. Dave emphasizes the function of the material is what matters! Why stick with a metal casing that costs $5 to manufacture when you can change to a plastic casing (that functions just like the metal) that might only cost .50 cents to manufacture?
The Right Machine: Know thy Machine
According to Dave, “complexity is free” in the world of additive manufacturing once you have the have the right application and understand the functional requirements of the needed materials. Once these two factors are confirmed, the right additive manufacturing machine must be used (using the wrong machine can be very costly!).
Just like a doctor is able to diagnose and treat an injury, Dave is able to diagnose and treat an additive manufacturing issue.
Need help figuring out the right application, the right material, or the right machine? Give us a call at 216-391-7766
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