How 3D Printing is Shaping Wood Manufacturingby James Rawstron on February 28, 2017 From News And Comment
With its high-speed, high-definition capabilities, 3D printing is increasing productivity and driving design innovation in the wood manufacturing industry. By offering virtually unlimited design options – including wood grains, patterns, and photographs – and the ability to print on any substrate, the technology gives companies full creative freedom when improving existing products and developing new ones. In addition, the sheer speed of these 3D machines allow woodworkers to produce thousands of products with ease, so that they can meet consumer demand and get new products to market as quickly as possible.
Thanks to the benefits of 3D printing in the wood manufacturing industry, there are currently a numberof important uses for the technology. They include:
1. Produce virtually any wooden object. With recent advancements in 3D printing, virtually anything can be printed. From flooring and furniture to wall paneling and ceiling products, the possibilities are endless. Plus, 3D printing is ideal for creating any one-off designs that need to be changed frequently, such as displays in retail environments.
2. Rapidly prototype products. In the past, prototypes were created part by part in a costly and time-consuming process. With new 3D printing technology, companies can develop prototypes much more quickly. This allows them to speed up the product-development process, test new concepts before committing to production, and provide highly-accurate models for testing and focus groups.
3. Create intricate and complex parts. The latest 3D printers allow manufacturers to produce strong and durable working parts – not just prototypes. Because they are ultra-precise, these machines are particularly helpful when creating parts that are intricate and feature interlocking mechanisms and moving components.
Although these are the most common applications for 3D printing in the wood manufacturing industry currently, new uses are constantly emerging. One of the most promising applications on the horizon is the ability to use the technology to adopt sustainable building practices. By using printable wood components, manufacturers can create sustainable structures without relying on our finite natural resources, dramatically changing the way buildings are designed and developed.
James Rawstron is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America, located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Rawstron has 20 years of marketing communications experience in the software, high tech, industrial, advanced manufacturing machinery and medical device markets. He has written numerous articles for B2B publications, including blogs for a variety of industries. Prior to joining Hexagon, Rawstron served as a web marketing professional at IBM and a Marketing Manager at Vector Software. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and European History from Union College of Schenectady, New York.