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3D Printing: Increasingly Used for Prototypes and Flexible Small-Scale Production

By Dick Weisinger

3D printing is being increasing used for both prototyping and production of new parts and products.  It is used to produce small quantities of consumer goods, and it has become widely adopted for aeronautic part production, an industry which produces small numbers of very complex and expensive products.

A survey by Sculpteo looked at the current state of 3D printing.  The report found that companies using it are able to speed their product development process.  93 percent of companies say that 3D printing enables their businesses to have competitive advantage over other companies.  It reduces time to market and enables more flexibility in the product that can be offered to customers.

Early success with the technology has caused 70 percent of businesses already using the technology to increase their investments.  The Sculpteo report found that more than one-third of aeronautics businesses invested more $100K in 3D printing in 2017.

Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of Shapeways, said “imagine a world in which you can get exactly what you want, and not what is just available…Imagine if you only made what you need, or imagine if you are a designer and could bring your product to market in days, not years. Imagine products that can all be made locally. 3D printing is relevant for everyone, regardless of your technological background.”





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