The Effects of Inflation on Tech Manufacturing and the Role of 3D Printing as a Savior

Manufacturing and inflation have a more nuanced and intricate relationship than most news headlines give them credit for. Here, we will examine the connection between inflation and manufacturing. Also, this blog post will share reasons why 3D printing is the way out in terms of lowered costs.

3D Printer

What elements in the supply chain influence price growth?

It is important to consider the underlying reasons for price rises along the supply chain in order to better comprehend how manufacturing and inflation coexist. Currently, we are dealing with three major issues:

Supply chain disruption is a term that is frequently used but not universally understood. By supply chain disruption, we mean significant occurrences that make it harder or more expensive for manufacturers to get the supplies they require throughout the supply chain. A major contributing element to the pandemic was a shift in:

Consumer Behaviour

With a swift but significant drop in spending in the wake of COVID-19 we saw shortages of a variety of goods, such as computer chips, since not everyone in the supply chain was able to keep up. Additional disruption is being caused by inflation and conflicts, and some goods made are currently harder to get by.

Labor costs

Labor dynamics are already changing when the epidemic occurred, hastening the process. With fully staffed floors, manufacturers have struggled to maintain operations at optimum capacity. The ones who have are rightly paying workers often.

How 3D Printing can Speed Up and Cut Costs Out of the Product Development Process

1-           Lower Costs for Prototyping

The capacity of 3D printing technology to significantly lower prototyping costs is perhaps the most significant and stunning benefit in the field of product development. Many times, it is possible to produce prototypes at a fraction of the price that would typically be required, enabling even small enterprises with tight finances to pursue product development.

2-           Reduced Material Expenses

Another factor supporting 3D printing as a competitive production alternative is the reduction of raw material costs. In 3D printing, raw materials are added layer by layer and only where they are actually needed, which significantly lowers material waste. 3D printing is resource-efficient compared to subtractive manufacturing techniques, which frequently result in higher material waste, especially when high-value materials are utilized.

A further benefit of 3D printing is the ability to minimize the quantity of material required to create an item; a fantastic example of this is the lightweighting of metal. Metal lightweighting is the process of utilizing 3D printing to make metal items lighter. One of the few methods to make lightweight metal components affordably is through 3D printing and design, which is especially useful in sectors like aircraft and racing where even one kilogram saved may result in considerable cost savings.

3-           Lowering Tooling Expenditure

More than just the cost of the individual component, 3D printing enables you to save costs throughout the whole production process. Additive manufacturing may let you completely reimagine your production process and enable supply chain optimisation. The technique of additive manufacturing, for instance, can enhance the production of tools and the assembly line.

With 3D printing, it's possible to directly create tools and even bypass some assembly steps by printing entire devices, which helps to drive down costs of tooling. Opel, a vehicle manufacturer, acknowledged a 90% decrease in assembly-related tooling costs. Another illustration is Jabil's Auburn Hills factory, which is also adopting additive manufacturing and has seen a 30% decrease in tooling costs, which is very significant. It depends on your industry and how you employ 3D printing, but it is unquestionably a way to reduce tooling costs.

4-           3D-Printed Accessories

It may be expensive for many companies to have a stock of infrequently used, low demand spare components. There is absolutely no need to retain an inventory of such replacement parts with 3D printing. Utilizing technology, manufacturers may generate replacement parts as needed, cutting down on the amount of components that need to be kept and lowering the cost of inventory.

OEMs and spare part suppliers are establishing regional AM facilities to 3D print replacement parts closer to consumers in response to the rise of dispersed manufacturing. Delivery becomes quicker and easier as a result, which lowers logistical costs and lessens supply chain complexity.