How 3D printers are making businesses creative, competitive, and cost-friendly
Rapidly advancing technology means we have to be able to update our systems and processes quickly in order to stay relevant. Having part of our workforce operating remotely challenges our ideas of the office environment and forces us to think outside the cubicle. During the pandemic, we watched some business pivot completely and create new products or services. The ability to be flexible meant survival. Technology often gives us opportunity where none existed before and can provide opportunities to small or medium-sized business that were once only the realm of huge enterprise. 3D printers are a classic example of a technology that was once only for the biggest, richest businesses, but today are an inexpensive way companies can flex their creative muscle, increase product potential, and speed up their delivery outcomes.
Rapid prototyping Prototypes are a great way to test an idea to see if it's truly viable for your business. But, in the past, the time it took to produce a convincing model, and the costs involved, may have prevented some great ideas ever becoming a reality. No longer. 3D printers have made rapid prototyping possible for even the smallest company, which means every idea has a chance to change a business for the better. And it's not just the final product that can be produced in record time and at low costs. 3D printers make small changes, tweaks, and improvements more accessible throughout the process, resulting in a better end result.
Increased creativity Flexible businesses would shy away from producing one specific product or service. Those that can turn their skills to new offerings often have the last laugh, as we have seen over the past 18 months. 3D printers present the possibility to create almost anything, in any material or dimension, as long as the design fits within the printer's build volume. This then increases the breadth of potential products businesses can off
er, thus increasing desirability and flexibility.
Cost reductions When they first came into the market the suggestion that a 3D printer could save your business money would have been laughable. Today, it's a fact. Gone are the high costs of the printer itself and, additionally, the ability to produce items without expensive machines, warehouses, parts and labour – that used to come hand in hand with any production line – results in huge cost savings for businesses looking to experiment or use 3D printers as a primary production driver. Add in waste reductions and time savings and any business bottom line can benefit.
Custom content Mass customisation was once costly and tricky to do, involving changing dimensions of machinery moulds, or whole design blueprints. 3D printers have made customised content accessible across industries ranging from fashion to medical devices, making it an essential production feature for many businesses. Combining the opportunities of flexibility, freedom, creativity and improved business delivery models and outcomes and it's easy to see why 3D printers are fast becoming a must-have for many small and medium sized businesses.