3D printing has presented new market opportunities for many companies in Singapore, even more so in recent years. From in-house 3D printing to outsourced 3D printing services, this technology is reconstructing the way products are built with its enhanced speed and streamlined production process. It is fast becoming an essential tool for every niche, including the consumer goods industry.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of creating a three-dimensional digital model from a digital file. 3D printing processes include Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), Polyjet 3D printing, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Multi Jet Fusion (MJF). Depending on the type of process, 3D printing can be especially advantageous for the manufacturing of smaller or customised parts and products.
When designing consumer goods for your business, it may be taking up a lot of time to evaluate design drafts and make changes to the trial products. But did you know that 3D printing can accelerate the prototyping process, yielding superior results in a shorter time frame? In fact, many 3D printed products are functional and can give you a good idea of what the end product will look and feel like. It is no wonder that many well-known brands have adopted 3D printing and introduced actual 3D-printed products to the market. These include Dr Scholl’s 3D-printed insoles and the 2020 Shelby GT500 by Ford Motor Company. Simultaneously, here are some other examples of consumer goods that will benefit from 3D printing.
Many companies dealing with footwear have incorporated 3D printing into a significant part of their production process. New Balance is one company that has leveraged 3D printing to produce footwear since 2015. They introduced the DuraForm Flex soles created with a thermoplastic elastomer material using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printing technology. With SLS, the 3D printed sole does not need any form of support as it is a powder-based technology with the powder serving as self-support. Therefore, a complex structure that optimizes shock absorption while making the shoe lighter can be created.
3D printing can be utilised to create prototypes for all kinds of bottles when they are still in the R&D stage, ranging from mother care products, such as nursing bottles and breast pumps, to unique perfume bottles and consumer detergent bottles. Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing is an ideal technology to create such prototypes, as it is able to achieve high accuracy with smooth finishing. One popular material used for bottle prototypes is clear resin (Somos Watershed XC 11122) and (Somos GP Plus) offered with SLA 3D printing. The benefit of the clear material allows you to create a transparent looking prototype that looks like the final product and it is watertight which allows you to test the product before introducing it to the market.
As 3D printing can be executed in a wide range of materials with different finishes, fast-moving consumer goods is no exception to the countless applications of this technology. 3D printing can be used to create product prototypes for a variety of fast-moving consumer goods, from electronic items such as irons and steamers, to smaller items such as cutlery. Additionally, with post processing, your 3D printed item can be dyed or spray painted to your desired Pantone shade, or even metallized to create a realistic looking prototype.
Above all, the consumer goods industry is not the only line of business that will gain from these merits. Other industries such as aerospace and medical can also reap these benefits. For example, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an unexpected urgency for the essential healthcare equipment. 3D printing, when quickly adopted, is a cost-effective manufacturing method that makes it possible to bridge the gap between the urgency of the pandemic and the time traditional manufacturing methods will take to gather the right tools to mass manufacture healthcare equipment such as swabs.
If your company wants to build up your competitive advantage and stand out from the rest, consider integrating 3D printing to expand your business capabilities. As a start, we recommend using our Digital Part Analysis software to determine if 3D printing is suitable for your business. The tool will give you a better idea on whether your part is suitable for 3D printing. At the same time, it reflects the appropriate materials you should use, and the quantity of which will be economical to 3D print. If you decide to implement 3D printing in your production cycle, it is then time to decide between purchasing a 3D printer or engaging a 3D printing service provider.
As a 3D printing company in Singapore, Additive3D Asia seeks to provide end-to-end solutions and services to help businesses in Singapore emerge victorious with the latest disruptive technology. For more information, explore our services today.