Streamlined Ordering, Part Consolidation, and Reduced Assembly

No one likes to deal with a massive assembly of parts in any aspect of business, or life. In the midst of this type of production–on any level–many of us find ourselves thinking there’s got to be a better way. And with 3D printing, there is.

The advantages of additive manufacturing impact so many industries. The ability to make lightweight, complex parts previously impossible with conventional manufacturing is undeniably impressive for applications like aerospace and robotics, but ultimately, what could be more important than the strides being made to change the quality of life for so many patients? The numbers answer clearly, as recent analysis shows that 3D printing for the healthcare market overall is expected to reach $5,846.74 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 20.10% from 2021 to 2030.

Hospitals Show Increasing Reliance on 3D Printing 

3D printing is no longer a novelty–or a question mark–for hospitals and medical professionals, many of whom now rely on 3D printing routinely to  3D print medical models for diagnosing, treating, and educating patients on upcoming procedures. They may also go on to 3D print custom prosthetics, implants and assistive devices. Surgical guides are becoming increasingly prevalent too, 3D printed with materials that can be easily sterilized for the operating room. 

The key to all of these products–and the game-changer–is that they allow for patient-specific treatment. While the aforementioned items are impressive, they are only the beginning of changing the face of medicine with completely personalized diagnostics, implants, and eventually even 3D printed living cells and tissues, and lab-produced organs. Patients don’t have to settle for one-size-fits-all anymore, and manufacturers don’t have to settle for convoluted production processes in creating medical products, or added expense.

Medical 3d printed prosthetic arm

Additive Manufacturing Part Consolidation for the Greater Benefit

3D printing innovation for medical applications continues to broaden via Shapeways customers who are developing patient-specific 3D printed medical models for planning and performing medical procedures. Others are developing unique 3D printed medical training simulators for doctors who perform robot-assisted surgeries, while companies supply hospitals with ancillary products like color-coded, 3D printed clasps and organizers for medical equipment.

All these 3D printed products are manufactured with consolidation and limited assembly in mind, made possible with technology like Selective Laser Sintering and popular 3D printing materials like Nylon 12 [Versatile Plastic]. This has become increasingly more important as customers use additive manufacturing for rapid prototyping and technology for production of final, end-use parts.

Because 3D printing materials are advanced and durable, customers often 3D printing for medical applications choose to use the same materials for both processes.Their priority may lie in enjoying the benefit of printing assemblies in a singular part. Although assembly has always been a necessary step in making products, and economically so, this is one more area where additive manufacturing is disruptive, and positively so. 

Consolidation of parts accentuates some of the classic benefits of additive manufacturing, beginning with speed in production. Higher quality in functional parts that must perform over the long term is noted, along with less chance of assembly failure. Even as a single part, 3D printed products for medical applications are often stronger and lighter in weight–whether using 3D printing for both internal and external parts. 

Scientific research related to additive manufacturing in medical applications such as dental has shown that with technology like Selective Laser Melting, products can be consolidated and improved due to superior mechanical properties. ‘Lower presence of porosity’ has been noted in some dental applications too. Consolidation and reduction in the amount of time it takes to assemble 3D printed parts means less resources are required for expenses, hours in labor, and use of materials.

Parts Can Be 3D Printed Locally with Less Storage Space and Inventory

On-demand 3D printing is an important advantage for companies seeking to keep inventory to a minimum. Now, minimalism is paying off as designs and existing inventory can be stored on a digital file–taking up almost no physical space. On-demand 3D printing allows many to avoid supply chain issues as well as eliminating stress over finding warehouse space, which is in high demand in many areas of the world. Ordering and production are transformed with streamlined automation. Upon customer request, parts can be 3D printed quickly, and modifications can be made almost instantaneously for existing designs or even in bringing obsolete parts back to life.

Many companies may be aware of how beneficial on-demand 3D printing is, but were not motivated to turn to new methods of production until pressed by supply chain issues. On-demand 3D printing allows for rapid manufacturing of customized parts in any volume, as well as production in local areas rather than depending on products from overseas that are still being delayed due to supply chain issues. With Shapeways, products can be 3D printed quickly and delivered in customized packaging to manufacturers or their own customers.

About Shapeways

Enjoy the benefits of this advanced technology and a wide range of materials from Shapeways for 3D printing your creations with accuracy, complex detail, and no minimum or limits in terms of mass customization or single part orders. Shapeways has worked with over 1 million customers in 160 countries to 3D print over 21 million parts! Read about case studies, find out more about Shapeways additive manufacturing solutions, and get instant quotes here.