Submitted by: Greg Conder, PE
Some industries like healthcare and jewelry are actually using 3D printing technology to produce finished and usable parts. The main benefits of 3D printing for equipment manufacturers reside in the speed and cost savings in product development and prototyping components, especially when it comes to small complex components like small heat sinks and other mechanical components for electronics and electrical systems.
Consider, with 3D printing there is no need for expensive special tooling, fixtures and molds. Also, no bulk order of materials, which can sometimes be exotic and very expensive, is required. 3D printing may not achieve a finished usable part, but it can be a cost effective product development and prototyping process.