Robotics and manufacturing have come together to create an industry changing new technology - additive manufacturing (AM). Pushing traditional methods of manufacturing into the back seat, AM opens up the production line to be faster, more versatile, more precise and cheaper overall - which can be a driver for innovation.
Disrupting the production timeline
AM has disrupted the industry, by rewriting the production model. Manufacturing need no longer take days of manual labour partnered with heavy machinery and extensive production lines. All this human and monetary expenditure can be looped around with AM, which shortens the production timeline, and allows for shorter testing cycles and enables organisations to do more with their time. Personnel can focus on what they do best - engineers on creating fixes to problems in the designs which are produced and tested on a much shorter time-frame. Not only does this make the business more efficient, but it keeps your assets working on their area of expertise, on innovating new products for more of their time during each and every day. More time to focus on their work presents more time to be innovative, and more time to focus on product development. Changes can be made to designs, and the parts produced quickly, which makes the optimisation of the product overall faster and more efficient. Questions of what will or won’t be a problem, what the best solution to a given dilemma can be answered faster as the entire design, manufacturing and testing schedule is shortened.
So not only is the speed at which AM runs its cycles advantageous to generating innovation, but the information generated through the process can be invaluable to your testing cycles as well. With AM it is easy to move from design to prototyping as production works as directed by digitised 3D data. This allows users to implement near-series tests and optimise prototypes informed by the results of these tests. Innovation based on new and growing sources of information is vital to the success of your business, and keeping up with your competitors.
Maximise on your resources
In theory, products should only use as many resources as are necessary to make them function. Using raw materials that are easier to work with, but not necessarily the best option can be a waste of time and money, though the end product may work as it was designed to. Globally, raw material consumption is ever on the increase, and as a direct result, so are the prices of them. Not only can you work faster with additive manufacturing, but you can cut wastage and apply optimal designs free from superfluous materials - thus saving time and money.
Using AM can fast-track your serial product, whilst at the same time optimising your design and prototyping processes to be more cost and time efficient. Not only will this free up resources for you to pour into other elements of your business, but your team will have more time to focus on being creative, and innovative in the work sphere. Freeing up time and resources is key to generating innovation from your team, and additive manufacturing can, when implemented correctly, be the tool to help you do just that.