If you think printing is just putting ink on paper, the fast-moving train of technology has left you behind. Since the advent of printing, beginning with Johannes Gutenberg inventing the first printing press, printing technology has been growing at an astonishing rate. Recently, it has given birth to the new kid on the block, whom everyone is talking about: 3D printing.
Innovators are testing the waters with this new technology. And this revolutionary manufacturing process, considered impossible just a few years ago, has exceeded our expectations. It produced spectacular results spanning different industries, pushing them in new directions.
Here are four ways 3D printing is shaping technology in 2017.
1. Improved medical care
The impact of 3D technology in health care deserves the first mention, given that good health tops the list of priorities in life. Advancement in medical care has made it possible for people around the globe to enjoy healthier and longer lives. But patients pay through their noses, and those who aren't privileged are left to their fates.
Pharmaceutical and healthcare industries spend huge sums of money on research and development of drugs for treatments--hence the need to recuperate financial expenses through high medical fees. Additive manufacturing with 3D printing steps in to save the day. It ensures that resources are well managed, time is put to better use and long manual processes are shortened, leading to a drastic fall in the price of production. In the long run, medical care becomes more affordable.
Most 3D printing medical solutions are in the experimental stages at the moment, but some have been successfully executed. For example, we can now print skin for burn victims; prosthetics of body parts, like hands, for amputees; and surgical tools, like hemostats, scalpel handles and clamps, among others, for surgeons.
2. Innovative designs
Whether it's the auto industry, construction or interior design, we've witnessed some mind-blowing technologies in the last several decades. However, 3D technology is a game changer for all such industries as it can be used in the creation and production of a variety of things--from the simplest to the most complex.
Advancement in 3D technology was stalled due to the high cost of equipment and production, but that's a thing of the past. The gap between 3D technology and the end consumer is closing as emerging tech companies have stepped in as middlemen to make advanced cutting and engraving equipment for creating unique designs more affordable.
3. Touchable memories
Moments in life are fleeting. And the beautiful ones, when captured, become lasting memories. They give us reasons to smile even when we feel blue. It's all thanks to photography. Whether in black and white or colour, in film or digital formats, pictures help us relive experiences. Unfortunately, the visually impaired were left out of the awesomeness.
3D printing takes those who cannot see along on this journey by creating lasting touchable memories. With this technology, they can literally feel their pictures: images of people and the physical environments captured in photographs are printed in carved forms, allowing the visually impaired to "see" these moments by touching them. There are only a few things in the world that can bring this kind of satisfaction to the visually impaired, and 3D printing is one of them.
4. Durable automobile parts
Heavy weight doesn't necessarily equate durability. Creating stronger but sleeker vehicles have always been the goal of the automobile industry. 3D printing of car parts is no longer fiction. It's a reality that's taken the automobile industry to a whole new level.
The nightmare of replacing damaged car parts is becoming a thing of the past. You don't have to wait endlessly for such parts to be manufactured. With 3D printing, your customized car parts will be ready in a matter of days. It's bye-bye to abandoning of damaged cars as every part can be reproduced without you losing your sleep.
Unlike some innovations that are restricted to specific areas, 3D technology cuts across different industries such as healthcare, automotive, utility and food, to name a few. There's something for everyone to benefit from. Ideas are brought to life with the speed of light, making innovation more accessible to a regular consumer faster than ever before.