The digitalization of the manufacturing industry has helped overcome several challenges associated with manual drafting of designs. The introduction of computer-aided design (CAD) software packages has added a whole new dimension to the manufacturing and 3D printing industry. CAD is defined as a software, with the help of which engineers, architects, and designers can digitally represent the design of the product to be constructed.
With the first attempt at developing a rapid prototyping technique in 1980, 3D printing technology has come a long way. 3D printing is a tool for designing and creating innovative and unique prototypes of objects in a shorter span of time. The establishment of 3D printing is contributing significantly to the manufacturing industry and has resulted in the growth of related service providers. At present, the primary market for 3D printing includes industries manufacturing automobile and aerospace parts.
The 3D printing industry is gaining pace with the passage of time as the world is moving towards efficient future. With the presence of a number of untapped markets, companies in the 3D printing industry are trying to take advantage by launching their products in such markets. For instance, key technology player, HP, announced on 8th December 2017, that it will launch its next-generation Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers in India in the first quarter of 2018. The demand for HP’s MJF technology continues to grow around the world, and according to HP India MD Sumeer Chandra, the 3D printing market is estimated to be about $5 billion globally. According to BIS Research analysis the major 3D printing applications in India include automotive, electronics, aerospace and defense, healthcare, fashion, art, aesthetics, and others.
Initially, 3D printing seemed to have a very limited application in a handful of industries, but now it has come to a revolutionary point where even fashion industry is using this technology. Over the past few years, 3D printing technology has become more accessible and affordable, and its capability has redefined the manufacturing industry to a large extent. With the declining prices of 3D printers, it is expected that the way manufacturers conduct their business will undergo significant transformation and the competition in the market will intensify.
3D printing has been on an unprecedented journey since its inception and it has already revolutionized various industries and their operations. The 3D printing material market is vast and expands far and wide. The most commonly used 3D printing materials in the world are plastic and photopolymer. Their popularity in the market is the result of their low prices as compared to metals and they are significantly reliable. The continuous research and development in the 3D industry have led to the emergence of advanced custom polymers and compounded materials, which have seen a surge in the last five to ten years.
Computer-aided design (CAD) software has emerged as a breakthrough in the designing world over the last few decades. CAD software increases productivity by improving quality of design, communication through documentation, and creation of database for manufacturing. After the development of CAD in the 1950s, the first CAD system was mainly used as an alternative to drawing tools. The design engineers worked with 2D CAD for technical drawings using 2D wireframe primitives such as line, arc, and B spline among others. With the advancement in technology, 3D wireframes were introduced in the 1960s, which helped in the launch of Syntha Vision by MAGI, the first commercially available solid modeller program.
The advent of 3D printing technology has bridged the gap between the digital and the physical world. Similar in operation to 2D printers, 3D printers use thousands of layers of material which are printed layer upon layer with the help of an extruder to create the objects in 3D. Through this emerging technology, desktop 3D printers have made 3D printing accessible and affordable for a large number of population. Desktop 3D printers can be used in homes, offices, schools and universities, among other end-user sectors. The evolution in 3D printing technologies and gradual decrease in the cost of desktop 3D printers have led to the expansion of 3D printers in major domains of application. 3D printing has now spread over the world of clothing, shoes, frames, food, and experimenting with 3D printed dresses, chocolates and shoes.
The market of 3D printing has witnessed drastic changes since its initial years and has expanded over many end-use industries including healthcare. The 3D printing material market has become more pervasive with rapid technological advancement and the expansion of 3D printing industry, transforming the dynamics of manufacturing industry. The deep chasm between the digital and physical has been bridged with the innovation of 3D printing and now people are widely using this emerging technology for a physical representation of their digital design and products.
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital file using additive methods. An additive method involves the making of an object by laying down successive layers of a particular material- a layer at a time- until the entire object is created. The objects are built up without any cutting; drilling or machining- which is why the industrial version of 3D printing is also called additive manufacturing (AM). Each constructed layer can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.