ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Story image

Beyond prototypes: How 3D printing is moving outside the test lab

By Contributor
Mon 30 Nov 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Stratasys.
 

The future of 3D printing has never been brighter, thanks to the growing pace of adoption and the promise it holds for revolutionising processes across a variety of industries. 

The technology has proven to be invaluable for producing more accurate models, operating with a high degree of precision as well as delivering printing capabilities on demand — but a large part of its historical use — (55% of respondents in one survey) — has been in prototyping and testing. 

The unique ability of 3D printers to construct precise and intricate shapes faster and more efficiently than a manual process represents a compelling point for companies eager to fabricate concepts, models, and bases for existing components. 

Constant refinement and technological progress have helped 3D printing come a long way over the past few years, expanding its applications and use cases. Even in the test lab, innovations are helping 3D printing technology realise its full potential.
 

Innovation drives evolution

While 3D printers are nearly 30 years old, the technology has only really seen a spike in innovation during the past decade. 

Historically, 3D printers were almost exclusively found in test and design labs due to the prohibitive costs of materials and machinery. Even today, as additive manufacturing expands and machines become significantly more affordable, total 3D printing only accounts for 0.1% of global manufacturing by some estimates.

As the industry seeks to grow toward more fertile markets, innovations in technology, software, and materials are making this expansion possible. It bears keeping in mind that while prototyping remains the most popular use case for 3D printing, it can exhibit widely different meanings depending on the settings.

For instance, in the medical field, surgical professionals use 3D printed models to study and prepare for operations, as well as training new students to navigate complex surgical procedures. Readily available materials can imitate several types of tissue effectively, as evidenced by ample data highlighting how surgeries are consequently more efficient and safer. 

Additionally, many companies have moved from simply designing prototypes to producing fully functional test parts that can demonstrate components’ behaviour in near-lifelike conditions.

Another major source of improvement that has pushed 3D printers further into the spotlight is the speed of printing. While additive manufacturing offers several advantages, many of the standard printing methods are time-consuming and limit the technology’s scalability for large-scale manufacturers. 

Thankfully, innovations such as CLIP (continuous liquid interface production) alongside development of faster 3D printers expedite component jobs and design prototypes.

In terms of manufacturing activities, several companies have already begun integrating 3D printing with their production lines, even if on a limited basis. The use of fused deposition modelling (FDM) means that companies can more accessibly print larger parts.

Additionally, the breadth of new materials being introduced means it is possible to produce components that meet strict regulatory compliance restrictions. Major corporations like BMW, Adidas, and Siemens feature additive manufacturing activities as parts of their production line, and even the aeronautics industry constructs certain components for aeroplanes with 3D printers.

Though prototyping remains the most popular use case for 3D printing, production is now a close second, with 43% of surveyed companies noting that they already deploy the technology in their commercial processes. 

One of the primary drivers of this trend is the ability to print made-to-order components and end products, as well as the accompanying speed and cost savings achievable for small-scale printing jobs. Instead of ordering a massive batch of a particular component or product, companies can now offer services on demand while reducing time to delivery and resource waste.

Most importantly for the industry perhaps, innovation is arriving in unexpected ways that continue to push boundaries and possibilities. 

In the medical field, the technology is progressing from constructing models to potentially printing skin grafts, bone replacements, and even organs in the future, thanks to ongoing research into biomaterials and bioprinting. 

Meanwhile, architecture and design fields have created their own printers which can manufacture housing using concrete and other recycled material. A San Francisco-based non-profit has developed a printer capable of printing a 350ft home in just two days far more inexpensively than traditional construction methods.
 

Just the beginning

Despite its humble beginnings and narrowly defined use cases, 3D printing is rapidly expanding its footprint thanks to the novel materials and processes that are applicable for a range of different industries. 

As the technology matures, new innovations and more accessible printers mean that more fields can uncover novel new uses to match its vast capabilities. 

From printing medical devices and prosthetics to building entire homes, the immense potential for 3D printing is only now being realised to its fullest extent.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
SOTI
Australian consumers loyal to retailers who deliver speed and visibility
SOTI finds extensive order visibility and speed are the most important factors for turning one-off customers into loyal, long-term buyers.
Story image
Online shopping
Consumers want speed, visibility in return for brand loyalty
72% of Australian shoppers want complete online order visibility and 63% are loyal to retailers who deliver goods the fastest.
Story image
Robotics
Evonik relies on Getac F110 tablet to control autonomous robot
The aim of the project is to evaluate the practicality of an automated robotic maintenance and inspection solution in the chemical industry.
Story image
Awards
Microsoft names A/NZ Partner of the Year award winners
The awards recognise partners across the globe for their innovative use of Microsoft technologies to help customers succeed.
Story image
Public Cloud
Public cloud services revenues top $400 billion in 2021
"For the next several years, leading cloud providers will play a critical role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 16GB PNY XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz DDR4
PNY sent over its 16GB XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz CL16 DDR4 module kit for testing. The kit contains two 8GB dual-channel modules with RGB lighting.
Story image
Sustainability
Honeywell launches new carbon energy management software for buildings
The new Carbon & Energy Management service allows building owners to track and optimise energy performance against carbon reduction goals, down to a device or asset level.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Design
Hands-on review: Phillips Hue starter kit
The set-up was one of the simplest I have ever had to do. It is also where the products shine. I was able to connect the bridge, the three lightbulbs and the strip within 10 min.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Retail
Australia Post Online Retail Industry Awards finalists for 2022 announced
Finalists have been announced for this year's 2022 Australia Post Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIAS Awards), recognising the achievements of online retailers in Australia.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic looks to observability market with new partner programme
New Relic has announced the availability of New Relic Partner Stack, an enhanced programme expanding New Relic’s commitment to partners.
Story image
Accounting
Four factors to consider when choosing the right job accounting solution
Progressive job-based businesses can achieve success by strengthening their ability to quantify every cost attributable to the delivery of an outcome for a customer.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why its time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
Payroll
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review – CleanMyMac X utility for macOS
We get hands-on with a useful utility that macOS users never thought they needed but probably do.
Story image
BitTitan
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS wins Microsoft ISV 2022 Partner of the Year award
"We formed the SAS and Microsoft strategic partnership with a shared goal of making it easier for customers to drive better decisions in the cloud."
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
HPE GreenLake advances hybrid cloud experience with new services
"The innovations unveiled today further build on our vision to provide the market with an unmatched platform to spur innovation and drive transformation.”
Story image
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria entrusts Oracle support and security to Rimini Street
“Our finance team are very happy with the support and security that Rimini Street provides, which keeps our assets and our customers secure."
Supply chain
Discover the 4 critical priorities for wholesale distribution businesses in FY23. Are you worried about how supply chain issues may affect your business in 2023?
Link image
Productivity
Discover the 5 ways your ERP may be letting you down. Is your current system outdated, difficult to manage, and costing you a fortune?
Link image
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Project management
Discover the 4 crucial factors for choosing the right job-costing solution. Is your team struggling to cost jobs and keep projects running on budget?
Link image
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Ransomware
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Infrastructure
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure expands distributed cloud services
“Distributed cloud is the next evolution of cloud computing, and provides customers with more flexibility and control in how they deploy cloud resources."
Story image
Civil Defence
OutSystems platform chosen as part of ADF contract
"To be included in this project is a reflection of our ability to deliver secure, modern digital outcomes for defence at an incredible pace."
Digital Transformation
Discover the 5 signs your business is ready for a cloud-based ERP. Is your business being left behind as more of your competitors switch to the cloud?
Link image
Story image
Microsoft
TO THE NEW unveils A/NZ Managed Services for Microsoft Azure
TO THE NEW has released Managed Services for Microsoft Azure to meet the growing demand in the A/NZ market and globally.
Story image
Wiise
Four things wholesale distributors need to consider for FY2023
In a post-pandemic world, there are many things for a distribution business to juggle. ERP solutions company Wiise narrows down what companies should focus on.
Story image
Microsoft
ASI Solutions named finalist of Microsoft Surface Partner of the Year
"ASI Solutions has a strong Microsoft focus, building value by helping customers maximise investment in modern workplace solutions."
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Google Cloud launches new Digital Accelerator bundles for Aussie SMBs
The new bundles are designed to help Australian small and medium-sized businesses embrace digital transformation and take their businesses online.
Story image
Cloudian
Cloudian, Vertica to deliver on-premise data warehouse platform
"We’re enabling our customers to capitalise on a leading object storage platform and maximise the value of their digital assets.”
Story image
Samsung
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.
Story image
Data Protection
Five signs your business is ready to move to the cloud
Many organisations are thinking about moving to the cloud. But what are the signs you are ready, and what are the reasons to move?
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Data
MYOB improves data visibility and user access with Snowflake
"Solutions such as Snowflake allow us to better understand our customers and make evidence-based decisions on what features work best for them."