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6 Industries Leveraging 3D Printing Successfully

From electric vehicles to space-bound rockets, see how different industries use additive manufacturing.

If you’re not leveraging 3D printing, there’s a good chance your competitors already are.


From small startups to multinational corporations, businesses are leveraging the power of 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) to gain a competitive edge, enhance product innovation, and streamline supply chains. The advantages go beyond cost savings and time efficiency, as 3D printing enables the creation of highly customized, lightweight, and optimized parts, pushing the boundaries of design and functionality.


As a result, industries are witnessing transformative shifts, with traditional manufacturing practices being challenged and reimagined due to this disruptive technology.

This article will delve into the wide-ranging impact of 3D printing across industries. You’ll learn how 3D printing increases the range of electric vehicles, enables astronauts to survive space, and helps startups scale without burning money.


 Click the table of contents to go directly to the section you want to read.

 

Automotive: Fast but Not Furious



The automotive industry is experiencing a transformative shift with the integration of 3D printing technology. 3D printing is revolutionizing how cars are designed, produced, and customized.


One significant advantage of 3D printing in the automotive industry is accelerating product development cycles. Traditional manufacturing methods often require lengthy tooling processes, delaying the design iteration and testing phases.


Moreover, 3D printing facilitates the production of complex and lightweight components. With the freedom of design afforded by additive manufacturing, engineers can optimize parts for weight reduction, improved performance, and enhanced fuel efficiency. This capability is particularly beneficial in electric vehicles (EVs), where weight reduction is critical for extending the range.


Some other examples of how the automotive industry uses 3D printing include:

  • Customized and personalized parts

  • Prototyping and concept validation

  • Improved maintenance by creating obsolete or hard-to-find parts can be on-demand

  • Lightweight and optimized components

  • Low-volume production for specialty or limited edition models

  • Interior customization

Oil and Gas: Pumping Up Efficiency



By leveraging the power of additive manufacturing, companies in the oil and gas sector are achieving enhanced operational efficiency, cost savings, and improved safety measures.

3D printing is making a remarkable impact in producing complex and customized oil and gas equipment parts. Traditionally, manufacturing these components involved time-consuming processes and expensive tooling.


Furthermore, 3D printing enables the creation of more efficient parts, like valves, pumps, and connectors.


Some other examples of how the oil and gas industry leverages 3D printing include:

  • Customized tooling used in drilling, well completion, and maintenance

  • Prototyping and testing to speed up the development process and ensure the final product meets safety standards.

  • On-demand spare parts production

  • Optimized performance through parts made with complex geometries


3D printing is just the beginning. MakerVerse offers more than a dozen manufacturing technologies. Source parts on-demand with CNC machining, vacuum casting, and more. See the platform in action.

 

Space: 3D Printing to Infinity and Beyond



From reducing launch costs to enabling on-demand manufacturing in space, 3D printing is reshaping space exploration and opening up new possibilities for innovation.


Every kilogram matters when sending a payload to space. One of the significant advantages of 3D printing in the space industry is the ability to create lightweight and complex parts with intricate geometries compared to traditional manufacturing technologies. This weight reduction translates into cost savings in fuel consumption during launch and increased payload capacity.


3D printing will also play a key role in long-distance space travel. In long-duration missions or on future interplanetary missions, the availability of spare parts or the need for repairs may pose challenges. However, with 3D printing capabilities on spacecraft, astronauts can produce necessary parts as needed.


Some examples of how 3D printing is transforming the space industry include:


  • Complex rocket engine components, such as combustion chambers and nozzle components

  • Lightweight and intricate satellite components, including antenna structures, brackets, and deployment mechanisms,

  • Creating astronaut tools with 3D printers located on board

  • One day creating habitats to enable sustainable and self-sufficient planet exploration

 

Robotics: Terminating Lengthy Product Development Cycles




3D printing is changing how companies build robots.


Prototyping is a crucial phase in robotics development, and 3D printing accelerates the process significantly. With the ability to quickly produce complex components, engineers can iterate designs, test functionality, and make necessary improvements in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional manufacturing techniques.


By utilizing advanced 3D printing techniques, such as lattice structures and generative design, robotics engineers can create lightweight yet robust structures. This optimization in weight-to-strength ratio enhances the overall performance of robots, enabling them to carry heavier payloads, move faster, and operate with higher precision.


Some popular 3D printing applications in the robotics industry include:

  • Specialized grippers with intricate geometries and tailored functionalities

  • Lightweight exoskeleton components

  • Optimized drone frames that improve flight performance and extend battery life.

  • Fully-customized wearable robotics to aid in physical therapy or enhance human capabilities

Industrial Manufacturing: Fixing Broken Supply Chains



Some manufacturing processes have been in use for hundreds of years, so 3D printing is the new kid on the block by comparison.


In just a few decades, this technology reshaped the manufacturing landscape, empowering industrial companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and innovation.

3D printing enables on-demand manufacturing, reducing the need for large-scale production and extensive inventory storage. Manufacturers can streamline their supply chains, minimize lead times, and respond swiftly to market demands by producing parts and components closer to the point of use.


This decentralized production model offers cost savings, flexibility, and improved sustainability.

While 3D printing isn’t typically the most cost-effective technology for large-scale production, it’s the best way to create complex parts that otherwise couldn’t be made. This design freedom allows for the creation of highly functional and optimized components, leading to improved performance and enhanced product functionality.


Common 3D printing applications for industrial manufacturers include:

  • Rapid production of custom tooling, jigs, and fixtures

  • Creating intricate and consolidated assemblies, reducing the assembly of multiple individual components

  • Creating spare parts on-demand, eliminating the need for extensive inventories

  • Creating unique high-performance parts, which is how Siemens Energy uses 3D printing

Startups: Printing Their Way to Unicorn Status



Startups seek to disrupt the industries they’re in. 3D printing provides a competitive edge, helping  startups build quickly and on budget.


Traditional manufacturing methods often pose significant financial hurdles for startups, especially when producing small batches or customized products. 3D printing eliminates the need for expensive tooling and molds, enabling startups to manufacture products on demand. Platforms like MakerVerse make this all possible for startups without buying in-house printers.


Another big challenge startups face is intense time-to-market pressure. 3D printing expedites prototyping and iteration, allowing startups to shorten the path to commercialization.


Here’s how some startups leverage 3D printing:

  • Creating sustainable products with reduced material waste during production.

  • Making unique food, such as personalized chocolates, intricate cake decorations, and more.

  • Rapidly prototyping new designs, which is what Hopper Mobility did when building its unique transportation vehicle

  • Fabricate intricate architectural models, building components, and even entire houses using advanced additive manufacturing techniques

 

Bring Advanced Manufacturing Technology to Your Industry


3D printing is a powerful tool for many industries, but the most successful companies complement this technology with other best-suited manufacturing methods.

MakerVerse offers over a dozen manufacturing methods, including CNC machining and 3D printing technologies. Get expert support, fast quotes, and guaranteed industrial quality.

 

Start Production Today

 

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