BPM from a Business Point of View

Scott Cleveland

3D Printing & the Engineering Design Process

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3D Printers have been around for years.  However, they seem to be the hot topic of the year.  So, what kind of impact can they have on the engineering design process?

The engineering design process can vary from company to company.  Usually, it will start with an idea and end with some kind of packet of information going to manufacturing.

The person with the idea can be your customer or it can be the idea of someone within your company [like a customer].  As the idea moves from thought to actual designs [drawings], the 'customer' is likely providing input/approval along the way. 

At some point, the 'customer' may want to see a prototype of their idea.  Many people cannot visualize what the solution will look like even if they are looking at a 3D model.  When you put a physical prototype in their hand, you remove all doubt.

The physical prototype answers most questions about form, fit and function.  Improvements/changes to designs are much cheaper/easier if they happen before the design hits the manufacturing floor.

The advancement of 3D Printing technologies has driven the prices down to a level where there is almost no reason not to have your own printer.  Companies that have 3D printers wonder how they ever got along without one.

It is likely that a 3D printer could be a process improvement step for your company.

Your Thoughts...

Have you thought about adding a 3D printer to your process?

1 Comment

3D printing isn't only good for prototypes, you can build working parts or even entire working objects.

The applications are endless, although before we are going to see a printer in each house prices will have to drop still. They are better than they were, but not quite something most people can afford just yet.

Kathy @ Cartridge Shop

Scott Cleveland blogs about BPM from a business point of view.

Scott Cleveland

Scott Cleveland is a technical, innovative and creative marketing manager with more than 25 years of experience in marketing, marketing management, sales, sales management and business process consulting aimed at high-tech companies. His areas of expertise include: product marketing, solutions marketing, solution selling, sales maangement, business process management, business process improvement and process optimization. Reach him at RScottCleveland[at]gmail.com.

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