Advantages of 3D printing and 3D scanning for industry

Advantages of 3D printing and 3D scanning for industry
Image taken by Mark Casey at TRUMPF stand during AM Europe

Using 3D printing and 3D scanning techniques can offer several advantages for industry. At the Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing European Conference (AMEC) that was organised by CECIMO, the European Association of the Machine Tool industries, at the European Parliament in Brussels last year it became clear that industry pleads for an ambitious European industrial strategy.

Of course advantages may vary per industry or even per company, but just to highlight the possibilities, here’s a brief overview of why 3D printing deserves to be embraced by industry.

3D printing
AM allows individualised design as well as local production. This means parts and products can be customised to exactly fit a clients need. Moreover, by local production, delivery times are reduced. Joanne McIntyre from Stainless Steel World magazine for example notices how additive manufacturing offers production advantages to produce stainless steel components.

3D scanning
3D scanning is a helpful way for plant owners to conduct maintenance inspection in aging industrial facilities. Keeping aging industrial facilities both profitable and safe for example is by no means an easy task but 3D scanning in maintenance inspection makes it possible to complete measurements both faster and more accurately. And especially portable 3D scanners are useful in inspection work, both for inspecting more hazardous and not easily accessible areas, a drone can be equipped with a 3D scanner.

Scan to model
When combining the 3D scanning and 3D printing, reverse engineering comes to mind as a solution for replacing obsolete parts. Useful in the car industry, by means of aftersales for example, but also (again) in aging industrial facilities.

In addition, for the medical industry the option to 3D (print) your scan (CT or MRI) can be of use for patient education: a 3-dimensional patient-specific model can be helpful in preparing a complicated surgery.

These are just a few examples in which industry can benefit from implementing additive manufacturing to complement or even replace more traditional manufacturing methods. For the upcoming edition of 3D fab+print magazine, I would love to hear from you when you recently implemented using 3D-scanning or -printing in your industry, when you are contemplating doing this, or when you know of interesting industrial application possibilities for 3D printing. So be sure to drop me an email to further discuss.