Rapid Prototyping has had a history that depicts a major and consistent trend in any industry—mass production. As a nation, we are constantly trying to find new, innovative, and efficient strategies to produce more in a shorter time span. The most common strategy is to create a new technological mechanism that speeds up a process. This need to mass produce dates back to the Industrial Revolution when John Deere created the first steel plow in order to speed up farming across the Midwest.
In the late 1980s the invention of Rapid Prototyping was developed and since then has continued to grow, evolve, and dominate several industries. With its efficiency, vast capabilities, and low costs the manufacturing industry has substantially benefited. Rapid Prototyping enabled them to create a completely new approach and radically changed the way they manufactured products. While many believe that we are too dependent on machines, companies in the manufacturing industry realize that in order to compete with each other they have to manufacture new, innovative products. With rapid prototyping, they are able to produce more of these in a shorter amount of time and have an advantage over their global competitors.
Rapid Prototyping has caused a paradigm shift in the manufacturing industry.
Rapid Prototyping quickly produces 3D products through a layer by layer process. The goal of rapid prototyping is to fabricate a complex 3D object with maximum precision in a quick manner. The automated mechanism has allowed designers to create any conceivable object through mathematics and physics. The process of rapid prototyping starts at a 3D Computer Aided Design. Contrast to traditional methods, rapid prototyping then takes that computer generated design and slices it into different cross sections. Once this is done it goes through the rapid prototype machine and one layer is built followed by singular layers built on top of each previous layer.
What are the benefits of Rapid Prototyping to the manufacturing industry?
Time: Rapid Prototyping is known to have saved manufacturing companies to speed up a process by 60%-90%. While still being efficient and precise, rapid prototyping is much faster than other manufacturing processes. This speed is a product of automated processes, unattended operation, process simplification, and queue minimization.
Cost: Cost savings can be correlated with time. With the substantial amount of time they are able to save, they are able to reduce cost in labor.
Capabilities/Efficiency: Unlike other manufacturing machines, rapid prototyping is capable of producing sharp inside corners and tall or narrow or deep ribs. Though it is a machine, it is extremely diligent in its production. It is able to produce complex and challenging designs. Rapid prototyping is also able to detect any design flaws in the earlier portion of the process, as well as any deficiencies in the earlier prototype, coding activities, and requirement analysis. It is a very efficient and consistent machine that produces high-quality products.
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