Analysis of the Advantages of 3D Printing Technology


3D printing is a common name for Additive Manufacturing […]

3D printing is a common name for Additive Manufacturing (AM). It is a technology that uses discrete materials (liquid, powder, silk, sheet, plate, block, etc.) to build objects layer by layer based on 3D CAD design data. Compared with traditional material removal methods and material forming methods, 3D printing is a bottom-up material accumulation manufacturing process. It has been gradually developed since the 1980s. It is also called Rapid Prototyping and layered manufacturing. (Layered Manufacturing) and so on. The Economist magazine said in its 2012 special report that the development and maturity of 3D printing technology is one of the important signs of the third industrial revolution.

1. 3D printing and the third industrial revolution promote each other

The so-called third industrial revolution is represented by the major innovation and integration of digital manufacturing technology, Internet technology and renewable energy technology, which has led to major changes in industry, industry and society. This process will not only promote the birth of a number of emerging industries. And development to replace existing industries, will also lead to important changes in social production methods, manufacturing models and even production organization, and ultimately enable humans to enter a harmonious, green, low-carbon, sustainable society.

An important feature of the third industrial revolution was the transformation of production methods, from mass production to mass customization and customization. The current production method is a large-scale standardization and machine production machine; the new production method is an intelligent mass customization method supported by the Internet, marking the arrival of the era of personalized customization and production socialization.

Looking back at the two industrial revolutions of the past, it is not difficult to see that many small workshops distributed around the country may be the prototype of production socialization. However, most of these small workshops are supplemented by large factories, and their task is to assist intensive large-scale production of large factories. In the advent of the third industrial revolution, decentralized social collaboration will become the main body. The difference is that the new small workshops are not the commercialization of low value-added products, but the design and creation of high value-added goods.

In this situation, the emergence of 3D printing technology coincides with the time. As an efficient and decentralized production tool, it takes us into the era of individualization and social creation, and will push the production of goods into a diversified and personalized production model.

2, 3D printing will make the long tail market infinitely extended

The Long Tail [3] was proposed in 2004 by Chris Anderson, editor of the American Wired magazine, to describe the business and economic models of sites such as Amazon. It means that when the channels for the storage and circulation of goods are broad enough, and the cost of production and sales of goods is drastically reduced, the total sales of products or services that are not valued by the small but large variety are huge, and the accumulated total revenue exceeds the mainstream. The phenomenon of the product. That is to say, the trickle flows into the river, and many small markets gather into market energy that can compete with the mainstream big market.

The long tail theory was only proposed in 2004 until there was a reason. Although this phenomenon has been there in the past, it has only become a significant trend until now because there are two forces behind the long tail: one is sufficient supply, and the other is the popularity of the network. Ample supply solves the problem of the production of goods, and the popularity of the network solves the problem of the circulation of goods.

3D printing coincides with the two forces behind the long tail, that is, the rich supply and convenient network. 3D printing gives ordinary people the ability to manufacture, promotes personalization and production socialization, enabling everyone to manufacture, while 3D printing products can be stored in digital form, completely breaking the physical shelf restrictions, product storage is almost unlimited These must make 3D printing products have a rich supply; digital products make it easier for people to search for the goods they need, plus a convenient network, so that users can only purchase broadband channels if they purchase your products. The way is enough, it is a way to break the atom.

According to the long tail theory, the more the product is biased towards the digital form, the longer the tail extends to the right. Therefore, based on the above analysis, 3D printing technology will bring a huge impact to the large-scale industrial economy, which will make the market extend infinitely to the long tail.

3, the advantages of 3D printing

(1) Product complexity, diversification and cost have nothing to do. In the traditional manufacturing method, the more complicated the shape of the product, the higher the manufacturing cost. At the same time, traditional manufacturing equipment has fewer or single functions, and the shape of the processable products is limited. For a 3D printer, it can print a variety of shapes of products, regardless of complex or simple shape of the object, does not have a significant impact on its manufacturing costs. It eliminates the need for machining or pre-forming any molds, which greatly reduces the difficulty of manufacturing complex products and shortens the development cycle.

(2) Zero skill manufacturing. Traditional craftsmen need a few years of apprenticeship to master the skills they need. Mass production and computer-controlled manufacturing machines reduce the skill requirements, whereas traditional manufacturing machines still require skilled professionals to make machine adjustments and calibrations. Using 3D printing technology to create the same complex products, individuals only need to intelligently design in the computer, and then convert the complex workflow into digital files, which can be sent to the 3D printer for manufacturing. Throughout the process, users do not need to master a variety of complex manufacturing processes and processing skills, which greatly reduces the technical threshold of manufacturing.

(3) Advantages of personalized customization. 3D printing can achieve on-demand production, reduce the physical inventory of enterprises, avoid the waste of resources of large quantities of unsold goods in large-scale production, and be more environmentally friendly. Even the product can be printed on-site as needed, thus reducing the logistics and transportation costs of the product.

These advantages make 3D printing ideal for rapid manufacturing of the following types of products: (1) complex structures. Free-form surface blades, complex internal flow paths, etc., which are difficult to process by conventional methods, and even unprocessable such as internal hollow structures; (2) Personalized products. Such as jewelry, human organs, cultural creativity and other personalized custom production, small batch production and product development and verification before mass production; (3) high value-added products. High value-added products such as aerospace, biomedical and jewelry.

It should be pointed out that, from the research and application situation at home and abroad, compared with the traditional machining, casting, forging, welding and mold technology, 3D printing technology firstly compares the dimensional accuracy and surface quality of the product with the latter. Large, post-processing is cumbersome, product performance does not meet the requirements of many high-end metal structural parts; secondly, it is still relatively low in processing speed and mass production efficiency, can not fully meet the needs of the industrial field; Finally, 3D printing equipment And the cost of consumables is still high, such as the cost of printing based on metal powder is much higher than the cost of traditional manufacturing.

Therefore, although 3D printing technology is a revolutionary breakthrough in traditional manufacturing technology, it cannot completely replace traditional manufacturing technologies such as cutting, casting and forging. The two should be mutually supportive and complementary, and jointly improve and develop. Benign partnership.