3D printing is making waves in manufacturing. But there are potential advantages to embracing 3D printing in this field that are harder to visualize.
One of these is the onshoring of manufacturing. In recent decades, there has been a pronounced decline in US manufacturing as firms moved operations overseas to take advantage of the lower cost of labor. The commercial sense in this move is undeniable, as “a tool made in China or Vietnam can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 less than a tool made in the US.”
Offshoring, nevertheless, has its drawbacks on the design and production process. Lead times are frequently long, importing products from overseas is costly and environmentally unfriendly.
3D printing, with its ability to produce more complex designs, has the potential to turn onshoring back into an attractive prospect. Its usefulness to the design process, capacity to improve lead times dramatically, and raise efficiency, all make in-house production feel viable again.