In today’s modern world, businesses have access to more technologically-advanced devices than ever before, which can be used to expedite certain processes of each business. One such device is an industrial 3D printer, a machine that gives manufacturers a quick way to prototype.
Gone are the days of waiting for the production of the first prototype to see your creations come to life. Now you can have the first sample in your hands within a few hours.
Now you just have to make a decision between two options: either purchase your own industrial 3D printer or use a 3D printing service. As with anything else in business, both options have their advantages. Here is a definitive layout of both.
Advantages of Using a 3D Printing Service
Outsourcing is a tremendous option for many aspects of your business, and using it for your 3D printing needs is no different. Here are several advantages that come with hiring a 3D printing service for your innovative products.
Experience Is on Your Side
Anytime you can add years of experience to your team, it’s a good thing. Buying a 3D printer on your own means going through the bumps and bruises of learning the model that you purchase. If neither you nor your employees have much experience with 3D printing and all that it entails, expect a learning curve with it.
Rather, you can hire a 3D printing service that has several employees with the years of experience you need. That means you can hit the ground running with 3D printing as soon as you hire them; no setbacks!
As your business grows, so will the demands of your 3D printing needs. Whether it’s adding a new product to your line or making a few moderations to current ones, you’ll need the 3D printing to keep up.
There can be instances where the specifics that you send over for printing won’t meet the expectations you have for it. Your 3D printing service can use their knowledge of printing similar items in the past to alert you of any potential setbacks ahead of time.
That way, you can gameplan whether to proceed with the current specifics or quickly return to the drawing board before printing it out. This will save you a fortune over reprinting the same product after a setback with the initially-printed prototype.
Access to the Latest Equipment
Companies that purchase a 3D printer for their own use do so with the intention of having it for several years down the line. However, the model they purchase could become outdated as early as the following year, when a new edition of that same model rolls out and has even better features. Now, because they bought it, that company is stuck with the model they purchased and succumbing to its limitations.
On the other hand, companies tat utilize 3D printing services may have more access to the latest and greatest equipment that money can buy. 3D printing services are always looking to streamline their process and provide their clients with the best equipment.
Now, instead of being stuck with this year’s model 5-10 years down the line, you and your manufacturing processes will have access to the optimum 3D printers in the industry.
No In-House Overhead
As previously mentioned, it’s unlikely that your current employees have enough 3D printing experience to run the process for your company. That means that if you’re going to buy a 3D printer for yourself, you’ll also need to hire for positions that know how to run the software, monitor any maintenance needs, and stay in the loop with the latest trends and products.
In addition to spending money to hire new employees, you’ll also be spending $20,000-$100,000 on a single industrial 3D printer. Considering you’d need to hire several new employees to maintain the 3D printing, it’s much more cost-efficient to hire an all-encompassing 3D printing service.
That way, you’re paying for access to the brightest minds in the industry, experience, and the best 3D printers on the market. What’s better than that?
Premium Manufacturing and Order Fulfillment
If you purchase a 3D printer for your company, you’re just hoping that becomes streamlined and produces the end results you were hoping for. Even if it does, you now have to worry about the processing and assembly of each part that you’ve printed. That can be overwhelming for those that don’t have previous experience in doing so. It’s a lot of pressure to configure something the very first time that it’s created.
Get your company teamed up with experts that handle those situations day in and day out. They can assemble your product together and use the resources at their disposal to send it to you in custom packaging.
You’ll never have to worry about it arriving in one piece ever again, and that in itself is worth the investment.
Advantages of Owning an Industrial 3D Printer
Who doesn’t enjoy having something to call their own? After all, it’s your business, and you want to claim that industrial 3D printer as your own. Does it make sense for your specific situation? Read below and figure out whether it’s the best choice for you or not.
Once you’ve purchased the industrial 3D printer and hired the right staff to monitor its processes, you can have the products made in-house. Depending on the size of the item you’re printing, it could take a few minutes, a few hours, or a day or two for completion. Regardless, you’ll have access to it the moment it’s finished.
No need to hold off production until the item comes in from your third party 3D printing service. You’ll have the end result in your hand to determine what needs to be fixed and what doesn’t.
The key here is that you’ll need a high resolution industrial 3D printer to optimize this process. Without one, you’re wasting precious time on production.
Perhaps you’re the type of person that feels more comfortable being more hands-on with every aspect of your business. Even if you don’t have any prior experience, you enjoy the process of learning and going through trial-and-error to maximize production. If that’s you, owning your own 3D printing service could be the best fit.
You’ll have the opportunity to oversee the integration, processing, and finalization of the methods you use for your in-house 3D printing. And with enough time, you’ll figure out the best ways to modify your printing software to yield the best results. Does your company have that kind of time on its hands?
After you and your team figure out the best methods, you’ll be able to grow your 3D printing team and teach them your ways of processing and manufacturing.
Getting Yourself Ahead of the Curve
Even though it’s becoming more and more modernized, 3D printing is still a relatively new feature in the business world. As time progresses, and the 3D printing industry continues to grow, more businesses will start to own their own 3D printers. You can get ahead of that trend by going through the learning curve now.
If you feel as if it’s a great advantage for you over your competitors then spending the time and money now can set yourself up for success down the line. However, your competitors may beat you out by going with a 3D printing service to expedite the learning curve and yield results in the quickest.
3D printing software is going to continue to advance, so you and your staff will be tasked time and time again to get up-to-speed on those changes. If you feel up to that challenge, the reward can be well worth it.
As long as you’re prepared to invest in new software and new industrial 3D printers every few years, the payoff can be substantial.
Make the Right Industrial 3D Printer Decision for Your Company
No one knows your business operations better than you do. Buying an industrial 3D printer means having some setbacks to set yourself up for the future. On the other hand, you could hire a 3D printer service and never skip a beat on your production.
Be sure to read this article on how big a role that design thinking plays in 3D printing for your business. For more inquiries, please reach out via our contact us page and we’ll be happy to assist you further.
The post 3D Printing Services vs Owning an Industrial 3D Printer: How to Choose appeared first on Shapeways Magazine.