3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The "additive" part refers to how the printer creates the object. It lays down successive layers of materials until the object is created. Each layer looks like a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object. Traditional manufacturing referred to as "subtractive manufacturing" cuts out, or hollows out a piece of metal or plastic with different machines, like a milling machine. Technik Manufacturing has been taking advantage of 3D printing technology to manufacture more accurate and cost-effective parts for our custom kiosk and vending machines.
3D Printing for Research & Development
Creating new and better products is costly, especially when you're dealing with high tech machines like custom kiosks and vending machines. By taking advantage of in house 3D printing technology, we can create and test innovations at a much lower cost than before. This not only reduces costs, but it saves us time. The majority of the parts in our machines are metal, but testing first with 3D printed parts allows us to bring upgrades to market at a much faster rate than if we had to machine mill every part we tested.
3D Parts in Our Products
Although the majority of parts we use in our kiosks and vending machines are metal, some small internal parts can be used from 3D printing.
Multiple products we manufacture have custom sensor spacers. We have switched to 3D printing for most of our sensor spacers because we can produce a more consistent and better quality spacer with 3D printing. Another part we have started printing is our RFID card mech. This part is an internal card guide, but also provides mounting for the card reader in our kiosks and vending machines.
3D Printing Passes Savings to Our Customers
One of the greatest benefits is the savings that get passed to our customers. 3D printing not only cuts costs for R&D and the manufacturing of small internal parts, but it expedites and the process of getting certain parts if we need them fast. Traditionally getting a part in a week would drastically increase cost, but with 3D printing, we can pass those savings onto our customers.
3D printing has a long and promising future. Expect to see more and more innovation across all industries thanks to this time and cost saving technology. We certainly look forward to using this technology to continue to provide our customers with the best technology and manufacturing possible.