Additive manufacturing is the most cost-effective solution for small series production when it comes to plastics production. Even for medium series, additive manufacturing is often the most cost-effective solution. Here the complexity of the product, the material used and the production time must be taken into account.
Considering that mass production often requires molds whose costs can be quite high, for example for the production of only 200 – 300 pieces of a product, 3D printing is more cost-effective.
When there are thousands or millions of products, mass production becomes more profitable, investment in molds is decreasing the price and production time per piece.
The more the uniqueness of a product is desired, the more 3D Printing is best suited.
So far, we know one important thing: if you need a product in large quantities, most likely you need a mold, but not in all cases is true and we present the following example.
Let’s say you need 1000 pieces each week, a small product like a “Key Ring” but you want it to be personalized (we emphasize that this customization can change from month to month). Since you think you need a large number of products, the first thing that comes to mind is that you need a mold.
But it’s not always the case! If you want to be able to make changes during production, this means changing the mold or sometimes needing a new one. This type of need entails higher costs, but in the case of additive manufacturing this only means changing the 3D model. This flexibility in the production process makes additive manufacturing innovative and, in our opinion, the future of plastic production!
But now you wonder how it is possible to make 1000 pieces a week?
The solution is the concept of printer farms where there are 10 or 100 printers working simultaneously.
1 “Key Ring” is printed in 20 minutes, but we can print 20 pieces on one printer and in parallel on 15 printers all at once. This means that 300 pieces will be printed in one day and 1000 pieces in 3 and a half days.
Of course, this is a very simplified example to show that there are exceptions even in large series.
In order to see in what direction your future product is heading, you need to know the answer to a few questions:
How many products do you think you need in total?
How many products do you need per month or even per week?
How complex is the product, is it a multi-piece ensemble or just one piece?
What mechanical characteristics must have the product… should it be shiny?
These questions are just the beginning but it helps us to have an overview and offers the possibility to approach the most important question:
How much is the price per piece?
We understand that sometimes it is difficult to answer these questions, so we strongly recommend that you contact one of our experts to work together to produce your product. Contact us
“A study by Cuboyo on the environmental impact of 3D printing shows that, with regard to the environmental impact on the one hand, classical production is not adapted to the production of a small number of different objects, while, on the other, 3D printing cannot compete with injection molding for large volumes production. According to this study, 3D printing technology tends to be environmentally interesting for low volume production (<1000 products) compared to traditional production.
Therefore, 3D printing has a lower environmental impact in the case of a reduced volume of products, in several different variants. The study states: “3D printing is promoted as a technology that will lead us to the next industrial revolution. Clothing, electronics, organs of the human body, biological components and even entire functional organs may be built in the near future. Consumers should be aware and you are about to enter the third industrial revolution, regulated by mass customization with less impact on the environment.” – cuboyo.com