An Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing Services in China
3D printing services is a digital production and prototyping technology that creates metal parts or plastics one layer at a time. This technology is also renowned as additive manufacturing as the material is added gradually to build a mold or part, in contrast to subtractive manufacturing procedures. These include laser cutting, CNC machining, water jet, plasma cutting, stamping, etc. which erase material to manufacture raw material.
Invented in the 1980s, 3D printing services have grown massively in stature in the 21st century. As plastic 3D printing is becoming a crucial prototyping method. Also, top-quality metal additive manufacturing is now a common factor in industries like medicine and aerospace.
Different kinds of 3D printers work in different ways, despite sharing specific fundamental characteristics. All 3d printing services in China control 3D printers through computer instructions and operate via turning raw material. Raw materials include liquid resin, powdered metal, or thermoplastic filament into a new shape and one layer at a time until a full 3D object is developed.
Although additive manufacturing (production-quality) is growing, 3D printing machines are still used predominantly as a prototyping tool because of having low startup costs. Also, they do not need tooling and are fast at printing one-off products.
This blog covers the basics of 3D printing services. It includes the main 3D printing advantage and applications. Without further ado, let’s dive in:
3d Printing Advantages by 3D Printing Services in China
There are several advantages of using a 3D printing service over its alternatives like CNC machining and injection molding. These include:
Focusing on rapid prototyping of one-off mold or parts, 3D printing services is among the fastest fabrication techniques. You can send digital files to a 3D printer along with minimal preparation. This can provide forging & extrusion services companies a competitive edge through shortening time-to-market and R&D cycles.
Since tooling is minimal, 3D printing services are inexpensive for creating short runs or one-off parts. There is minimal material wastage as well since the process is not subtractive but additive.
This depends on fewer design limitations compared to processes such as injection molding. It allows for complex internal sections and patterns. This is true especially of processes such as SLS that are powder bed processes since the powder helps the printed structure from every side.
3D printing is the regular use for one-off prototypes and parts, it, in essence, produces consistent duplicates. Why?
Because part quality does not depend upon factors such as tool wear or mold lifespan.
3D printing limitations include sluggishness in large volumes, restricted part strength than forming and subtractive processes, limited material range, material cost, and limited choices for coloration.
Printing Applications by 3D Printing Services in China
These services are a preferred method across industries; both for short-run production and rapid prototyping.
Across industries, a major 3D printing application is rapid prototyping of new parts during R&D. There is hardly any technology that is as well equipped for quick fabrication of metal parts or plastic— even in non-factory circumstances.
Printing machines can be used in-house by corporations, while a few businesses prefer to order prototypes (3D printed) through service bureaus.
3D printing service is helped in fabricating medical components such as surgical guides and patient-specific titanium implants, 3D printed prosthetics, and even bio-printed 3D human tissue. MRI equipment, X-ray machines, etc. can be 3D printed as well.
Technologies such as SLS and SLA are widely used in the medical or dental industry for prosthetics, models, and restorations.
The aerospace sector has always been a major user of 3D printing technology because it allows aircraft companies to make lightweight parts along with a decent strength-to-weight ratio. Examples of such parts include simple components such as cabin partitions and groundbreaking engine components such as a 3D printed fuel nozzle tip.
Automotive companies use 3D printing services to fabricate one-off repairs and spares, as well as rapid prototypes. Some of the common car parts made through 3D printing include brackets, dashboard components, and antennae components.
Cars with huge metal 3D printed structural components like early models from auto startup divergent are more extreme examples.
Jewelry and art
Technologies encapsulating services like SLA are widely used (as an indirect fabrication process) in the production and repair of jewelry, while virtually all kinds of 3D work can be used to create artwork and sculpture.
Advancements in production-quality additive manufacturing have enlarged the scope of applications in architecture and construction. Concrete 3D printing that works like FDM plays a key role in this industry.
Development of 3D Printing Services in China
Although China has only a few noteworthy companies of 3d printing services in China. However, Farsoon (DMLS, SLS), UnionTech (SLA), Creality (FDM, DLP, SLA), and Shining 3D (FDM, DLP), are some well-known names. — China along with the Asia-Pacific region is considered as one of the fastest-growing markets of 3D printing. These two regions are showing widespread adoption thanks to government attention and incentives.
Although the manufacturing of Chinese 3D printers is dominated by resin and FDM technologies; however, around 50% of 3D printers sold in China are for industrial usage in contrast to small-scale or personal professional use. It was playing a key role in the economic recovery of the global 3D printing services market.
Future of 3D Printing
As per a recent study report, the research company “3DPBM Research” expects manufacturing of metal additives would grow (in value) from $1.6b in 2020 to $30b by 2030. Further, this is massively down due to the repositioning of AM as a manufacturing tool and the expansion of high-performance engineering materials.
To be precise, 3D printing services in China will progressively become a major competitor to other manufacturing processes across various disciplines.