From cars to makeup… robotic body parts to shoes… appliance parts to toys… The list of amazing things that can be made with 3D printers continues to grow. Rumor has it, soon we will be able to create human organs with 3D printers.
In the past, these gadgets were only available to a small group of wealthy enthusiasts, but recently the prices of the 3D printers have gone down and they are more accessible. While we may be on our way to having a 3D printer in each household, we must examine how this advancement in technology will affect the manufacturing industry.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is also known as “additive manufacturing.” The most basic definition is this: 3D printing is simply making an object, layer by layer. Traditional manufacturing takes away from the material to create a shape. For this reason, 3D printing produces less waste.
According to a survey given to more than 100 industrial manufacturers, two-thirds of industrial manufacturers are already using 3D printing in their warehouses, in some capacity.
How does 3D printing work?
You start with a digital file, similar to a blueprint, which then serves as instructions for the printing. The machine prints in layers using various materials, such as plastic, metal, nylon and more. The layers build up to make a final shape.
How does this affect me?
3D printing will allow you to manufacture more goods in the United States. For example, consider goods that are rarely manufactured in the states, such as clothing. If 3D printing could allow clothing to be created in the U.S., it could bring more manufacturing jobs to the U.S. and improve the job market at home, with better working conditions than in other countries.
Manufacturers can have more personalization with 3D printing, compared to traditional manufacturing. For example – if you purchase a file to create a product, you have room to make the product your own with color choice, add-ons and size variations.
Manufacturers of certain luxury products should be aware of the possibility of the counterfeiting of their goods. It would be easy for an individual to create a knock-off pair of designer sunglasses using a high-quality 3D printer for their own use. This could damage the manufacturer’s bottom line. The counterfeit items would not only be the product of intellectual property theft, but could also be dangerous to unsuspecting customers. Counterfeit items don’t go through official inspections.
Overall, 3D printing looks promising for the manufacturing industry, although there also can be downsides for manufacturing employees. While it is unlikely that the use of3D printing would replace all traditional manufacturing soon, the new technology is promising. As more companies rely on 3D printing, there are some traditional manufacturing jobs that could become unnecessary. Eliminate this problem and seek employee training on new technologies, like 3D printing, when possible.
If you are in a hiring role and looking for skilled workers who are trained on new manufacturing technologies, consider using a staffing company like Alliance Technical Solutions. We specialize in staffing the skilled manufacturing industry and can help your company find the top talent you need to keep up with manufacturing trends. Contact us at our website: alliancetechnical.jobs, or by phone: (866) 939-0100.