While industrial three-dimensional printing will likely remain predominant for the foreseeable future, companies engaging in other forms of business have also begun discovering advantages in adopting 3D printing for some purposes. Already, jewelry makers and biomedical device manufacturers have developed some interesting, profitable applications, printing personalized jewelry and inventing customized medical equipment. Here are three excellent reasons why you should consider investing in this technology.
The use of 3D printer technology allows companies to reduce some expenses significantly. Firms can now access reliable three-dimensional desktop printers costing less than $5,000. From 3D printing services, such as Shapeways, a firm which will translate a sketch into computerized plans for a 3D printed item, to economical consumer 3D printers from companies such as Cube, a variety of low-cost options now enable entrepreneurs to explore this technology.
The ability to print necessary items on demand holds great utility for certain businesses. Today 3D printers promise to lower costs in some production situations by permitting a more efficient utilization of resources. They facilitate both small-run production and reverse engineering. If your business anticipates the need for replacement parts, for example, you might find an investment in a 3D printer a very cost-effective way to generate spares. Some companies now also market plans for components intended for replication on customers’ 3D printers.
Enhancing Business Promotions
Another strong incentive for businesses to consider acquiring 3D printer technology involves the ability to generate customized items to satisfy customer demand. Many experts believe the falling price of these printers, coupled with the development of increasingly “user-friendly” models, will lead to an explosion in entrepreneurial creativity. As businesses appreciate the ability to generate unique, highly personalized products cost-effectively in limited quantities, the utility of desktop 3d printers will become more widely accepted. By investing in a printer, a firm enjoys the ability to generate a variety of one-of-a-kind creative promotional items fairly inexpensively and quickly.
The new technology permits small companies to minimize storage costs and instead create only items with immediate utility. In this respect, 3D printing may soon revolutionize some business sectors. Just as the invention of the copier machine several generations ago allowed businesses to reproduce marketing literature rapidly and cost-effectively, now some companies can enjoy the capacity to reproduce promotional materials more easily using 3D printing technology.
Creating Useful Prototypes
Finally, a third compelling reason for an entrepreneur to consider investing in a 3D printer relates to the ability to generate new product prototypes at will. In the past, many businesses had to outsource this task to manufacturing companies, which was usually time-consuming and expensive. Today companies can expedite the process of creating useful prototypes by utilizing a modern desktop 3D printer. Also, the ability to quickly replicate and test multiple prototypes enables companies to speed-up the pre-production process.
Although some experts caution that the willingness to rely upon 3D printing for prototype creation appears influenced by demographics (with many older entrepreneurs hesitating to depend on the new technology), in some industries this form of on-demand model creation has already begun making an impact. For instance, 3D printing has enabled some entrepreneurial home-based manufacturers to generate prototypes very effectively in the absence of larger storage and warehouse capabilities. It seems likely that 3D printing will continue to impact the small business niche during the next few years.
Here to Stay
The growing popularity of inexpensive 3D printers will enable millions of small businesses to embrace this emerging technology in the near future. By contributing to lowered costs, enhanced business promotions and the development of useful, realistic prototypes, the 3D printing industry will help numerous small businesses prosper during the next decade.
It makes sense to gain familiarity with this technology now. In the future, 3D printers will likely become standard office equipment!
Guest article written by: Heather Redding is a tech enthusiast and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.