3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

The article “Why 3D Printing is on the Rise in Industrial Manufacturing” (http://www.plantservices.com/articles/2015/why-3d-printing-is-on-the-rise-in-industrial-manufacturing/) explores the benefits and future potential of 3D printing in the industrial and smart manufacturing industries. Per a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, “67% of surveyed manufacturers said that they are currently implementing 3D printing in some way, with 25% more indicating that they plan on adopting it in the future”. Why are so many companies adopting 3D printing, and what effects could it have? One of the main reasons referenced in this article as to why 3D printing is so influential is that it is an “additive manufacturing” process. This means that instead of “subtractive processes”, where raw material is cut away or removed in some other process, “additive processes such as 3D printing build a 3D object by depositing material in successive layers and then fusing the layers together”. This removes waste and speeds up production time. Lastly, 3D printing can produce infinite custom designs specific to the customer need. As 3D technology advances and more companies adopt this technology, this article projects an increase in quality and speed of production while simultaneously cutting waste. What problems could 3D printing cause? How expensive is the research, production, and installation of 3D printers? Is specific training needed to effectively use a 3D printer?

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