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3D Printing, Friend or Foe for Plastic Injection Molding?

Category: Knowledge Base Articles

I’m sure most of you have heard of 3D printing or additive manufacturing. It’s a technology that has been around for decades and is now impacting many industries in a big way.

By its very nature, it is a disruptive technology that’s making inroads into various industries. We have seen it and have been using it for over a decade now.

It’s commonly used when creating prototypes before starting the manufacturing of a mold. It provides a fast and economical method of getting functional parts into the customer’s hands for evaluation and testing.

But can it or will it, replace injection molding?

For the moment, and not for a very long time, 3D printing does not compare with the cost effectiveness and quality of large volume production that is common in injection molding. The range of material properties available, high quality & varying surface finishes, and the time it takes to manufacture high volumes are all areas that are standard in injection molding. While 3D printing is changing at a phenomenal pace and absolutely has its strengths, it is still far away from achieving similar results.

But like any new technology, especially rapidly changing ones, it is finding new places in the market. Molders should be aware of what this industry offers and use it to supplement and improve their businesses. What it can provide is substantial and what it will provide in the future will be very exciting.

For us here at PH Molds, we see this technology as an opportunity that wasn’t available to use even five years ago.

So, 3D printing is our friend and is here to stay.

Here is an interesting article on some aspects of the technology:

http://www.plasticstoday.com

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