Do Manufacturers Really Not Understand 3D Printing?

By on August 9th, 2017 in Ideas


 Manufacturing metal components
Manufacturing metal components

There’s something odd about how 3D printer companies are marketing these days. 

While such companies often announce new products, equipment usage tips, financial results or corporate changes, there is another type of announcement that has become extremely common these days: printing examples. 

You see these constantly. Here’s a few recent posts from different manufacturers: 

[Stratasys] Prototyping Ophthalmological Diagnostic Equipment & Lenses with 3D Printing

[Stratasys] Western Tool & Mold Adopts Stratasys’ New 3D Printing Solution For Certifiable Aircraft Interior Components

[Ultimaker] 3D printing final parts for high-value snow machines

[EOS] How 3D printing is changing the supply chain – Daimler EvoBus & EOS

And so on. It seems that case studies are a very popular thing to talk about. 
But why would most 3D printer manufacturers do so many case studies? Obviously their purpose is to somehow demonstrate the benefits, potential and feasibility of 3D printing to more industries. 

And why is that? 

I think it’s because the vast majority of industries simply don’t understand 3D printing yet. I think that the manufacturers know this, and are attempting to grow their market by “turning on” more companies to the concept of 3D printing. 

As someone who has been following this industry for a decade, it is surprising to me that anyone doesn’t know about 3D printing. But in fact it goes a bit deeper than just that. 

While a small business manager may have heard of 3D printing, they may not understand that it could be applicable to their particular business. In many cases, small manufacturing operations have been literally operating the same equipment for years or even decades without issue. 

Why change? Why spend money to end up with the same results they always had? Why take risks on something that’s new when existing processes do the job and are profitable? 

This is the immense problem 3D printer manufacturers are faced with: a large segment of intransigent business managers who don’t understand or in some cases don’t even want to know about 3D printing in their business. 

That is why Stratasys, EOS and others are publishing this type of material. They’re trying to hit these folks on the head enough times that that the idea will sink in deeply enough for them to start asking questions, and just perhaps, do a test of 3D printing. 

Once they do, they will realize the world that opens before them and that they’ve been missing out for years. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!