by • February 4, 2016 • No Comments
A technician checking a 3D printing device setup. (Oli Scarff/Getty)
Despite all the hype around quite own PC 3D printing devices, consumers never warmed to the thought of machines only quite useful for assembling toys—many kids may already have additional than adequate plastic figurines lying around for their parents to step on.
Rather than fuelling a movement of manufacturers and tinkerers, the innovation can have its biggest impact in enterprise making. But don’t appear for assembly lines to be replaced by assembling-dimensionsd 3D printing devices that spit out finished products any time soon. Instead, the innovation can enable-bodied two value-creating steps in the making system: rapid prototyping and mass-customization.
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“Over the last couple of years [3D printing has] gone through this huge hype cycle where it’s going to print you a cup and fill it with coffee,” observes Ben Wynne, chief Technology Officer at Vancouver-based Wiivv Wearable-bodieds. Wynne has been working with the innovation for over a decade, that include a stint primary a skunkworks engineering team at HP.
Consumer demand for quite ownized products is expanding according to Wiivv, that plans to 3D print its “body-perfect” gear, starting with the Base insoles it’s already pre-selling via Kickstarter. The company’s “adaptive making system” turns scans into printable-bodied files in short order, allowing it to theoretically turn it into all things of snugger earbuds to palm-fitting golf club handles.
3D printing manufactures it possible to turn it into geometries that can’t be machined or moulded, and to turn it into blended materials. (Imagine “a solid bar, where one end is plastic and it goes to rubber on the other end, but in the same way that a rainbow goes of red to violet,” suggests Wynne). But it won’t completely replace the factory making system. “When you are assembling end-user products, you yet have a component that involves assembly and completion,” notes Shamil Hargovan, Wiivv’s co-founder and CEO, who met Wynne while working at HP.
Instead of end-to-end making, 3D printing may be utilized to turn it into quite ownized parts that go into a finished consumer product. Among the investors that contributed to Wiivv’s $3.5 million seed round in December was MAS Holdings, a Sri Lankan company that is one of the biggest manufacturers of apparel and footwear for brands like Nike, Victoria Secret and Lululemon. Other assembly line operators may similarly team up with customization-enable-bodiedrs to bring quite ownization to their product lines. “If I want a pair of dress shoes, I’m going to get them created in leather,” says Wynne. “The part that manufactures it custom may only be a 3D-printed plastic part that is folded into the conventional making system.”
The end-to-end making hype ignores 3D printing’s cost and speed limitations says Duncan Stewart, Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Research at Deloitte Canada, and author of the consulting firm’s much-cited yearly TMT Predictions report. “We’ve quite got to calm down on the thought that 3D printing is going to be a primary thing in final-part manufacture for any industry at scale,” he says. “3D printing devices are slow, expensive, and approximately always require extensive after-printing post-systeming.”
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Rapid prototyping is a additional practical use for the innovation, and manufacturers seem to agree—Stewart says it’s what 80–90% of 3D printing devices are utilized for in our day. He uses the analogy of jewelry: Historically, dimensionsable-bodied jewellers were able-bodied to contribute customers rings, say, in hundreds of different types of creations in different types of dimensionss for the reason they owned thousand of moulds. Smaller competitors mayn’t afford to maintain an inventory of that dimensions. “You can now print out a mould in the precise right dimensions, do a prototype, have the customer sign off, and so turn it into the ring through traditional gold making via the mould,” says Stewart. It is not of changing the market, so much as levelling the playing field between big and tiny players.
In terms of prototyping, 3D printing is transformative says Stewart. “It dramatically reduces costs and accelerates time to market, both of that are worth in aggregate tens of billions of dollars around the world.” Major manufacturers in say the automobile industry may set up labs filled with 3D printing devices, tinyer business may only require a single machine, or access to one through a service bureau.
And while the 3D printing device-in-equite-garage vision a few futurists have been touting may never materialize, enterprise making may lead to a different types of kind of ubiquity. Whilst Wiivv is vertically integrated at the moment, it envisions a next of distributed making. “To scale, we require an order of magnitude additional of access to [3D printing devices],” explains Wynne. “From a cost point of view it does not manufacture sense to invest in that amount of hardware.”
Instead, the company’s platform allows for facilities with the right machines to sign on as making partners, who Wiivv can tap if it requires extra production ability. “We’ve always mentioned our making and R&D facility in San Diego as our Ocean’s Eleven vault, where we create it once and others can replicate it,” jokes Hargovan.
So don’t shut down your factories only yet. “To a quite dimensionsable-bodied extent, 3D printing devices are additive—pun intended—to existing donate chains pretty than substitutive,” says Stewart. “They aren’t competing, they are complementing.”
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