Before the advent of Computer Aided Design (CAD) or 3D printing, time-to-market was a footrace for everyone. CAD systems cut a lot of time out of the process, and those who implemented it took the lead. 3D Printers offer manufacturers worldwide another opportunity to move forward with rapid prototyping thanks to their 3D printing technology.
Rapid prototyping refers to the production of a model by mechanical means rather than manual creation, greatly reducing the time required to translate a design into a market-ready product. We are at the forefront of this new wave, and users of its 3D printers will leap ahead of their competitors.
3D printing solutions greatly reduce the time required to produce a model by directly translating a design into a mechanically produced model that is ready for testing, even using more than one material. This is rapid prototyping, done in a unit that can be placed directly in the work area of the designer, allowing greater collaboration between designers, marketers and corporate decision-makers. In a design environment equipped with 3D printers, an idea can be thoroughly vetted before any investment is made in complex injection molds or other risky manufacturing processes.
3D printers are already used around the world. Wherever a product is manufactured, designs can be produced on its 3D printers and tested in the same facility. The ability to perform rapid prototyping with multiple materials also means, for example, that a cover may be produced along with its gasket, and immediately checked for a fit in the product that is being manufactured. A hinge is created that pivots right out of the machine, or a rigid part comes out already coated with a layer of a flexible, more touch-friendly material. In this way, changes can be implemented quickly and with minimal cost and downtime.