Prototype manufacturing using 3D printersadministrator
Prototypes have been manufactured using 3D printers for quite some time. The first additive manufacturing processes were developed over 30 years ago for the production of prototypes (rapid prototyping). Since then, plastic-based processes such as stereo-lithography have been used in an enormously wide range of sectors to produce conceptual, design, ergonomic and functional models in the early stages of product development. The key benefit is due to its ability to transform digitally produced product designs into physical objects in a rapid, cost-effective and accurate manner. This significantly reduces the length of product development cycles.
In 2017, the following survey was carried out among industrial businesses that already use 3D printing:
How frequently do you develop prototypes using a 3D printer as part of the product development process?
Yes, we regularly use 3D printing in product development. This was confirmed by 28% of survey respondents who used 3D printers as part of their product development process. A further 5% stated that prototypes are sometimes developed using a 3D printing process, while just 16% of respondents reported using 3D printing on a sporadic basis only. As such, the 3D printer plays an extremely important role in the creation of prototypes during the product development process. It can, therefore, be assumed that the proportion of regular users of 3D printing in prototype development (an in rapid prototyping in particular) will continue to increase.