5 real-world benefits of 3D printing in package manufacturing

by Todd McDonald on February 4, 2015

Bifurcated. It’s at term you may have heard used to describe certain markets (such as the housing market), loans, civil trials and even bodies of water. It’s a word that often conjures up images of division and segmentation. One thing it might not make you think of, however, is 3D printing. But perhaps it should.

While 3D printing (otherwise known as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping) has existed for many years, recently we have seen explosion of advancement at two ends of the spectrum – low-end limited functioning offerings for hobbyists (think chocolate, jewelry or replacement parts for board games) and high-end, very expensive and sophisticated offerings (think bio-printing live tissues for testing during drug development or the use of 3D-printed cadavers for medical training). In other words, today’s market for 3D printing has become largely bifurcated.

However, as Jim Butschli states in his recent Packaging World article, 3D Printing’s Promise for the Medical Devices, “somewhere in the middle of these two application ranges, 3DP offers real-world benefits for manufacturing and packaging applications.” Including:

  1. Small volume runs
  2. Mold and tooling production that allows for multiple changes and adjustments before moving to tooling for commercial production
  3. Reduction in the amount of scrap generated during prototype development
  4. Reduction of development cycles
  5. Shortening of the supply chain

At TEQ, we couldn’t agree more. Which is why we purchased our very own 3D printing system that allows us to create one-off representations for customer review and product fit testing, as well as create machine-ready prototype molds for small part runs. As a result, we can help our customers solve design challenges early on in the product development process and bring their ideas to life faster while saving money.

What about you? Which end of the 3D Printing spectrum of services does your business or industry use?

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