There are a variety of factors to consider when evaluating a make/buy decision. These factors can include the strategic importance of the work, core competencies in the supply chain, capacity constraints, and cost. Companies should rarely use contract manufacturing if the work in question is of high strategic importance. Exceptions could be made if the specific fabrication process involved is not a core competency of the firm but may be a core competency of a supplier. Using contract manufacturing to offload work to a supplier that specializes in a fabrication method can lead to several advantages including improved quality, cost, and speed. A relatively new fabrication method, 3D printing, is a good example of a manufacturing process in which many companies still may not have a large amount of in-house expertise. Contract 3D printing can quickly and easily enable companies to utilize all the unique advantages of 3D printing, without the risk.
3D printing contract manufacturing can allow for better quality, faster lead times and lower costs because many contract 3D printing suppliers specialize in 3D printing. This leads to a higher knowledge base that can design products for 3D printing and build 3D printed parts more efficiently with higher quality and less print failures.
Save On Capital Expenditures
One of the largest hurdles for companies interested in using 3D printing is the large expense to introduce 3D printing into the work flow. Machines must be purchased, staff must be hired/trained, and existing real estate must be devoted to a 3D printing machine. In Contrast, contract 3D printing requires no capital expenditures, employees’ time is not tied up, and factory real estate is spared. Rather than being tied down to a piece of equipment, contracting the work provides the flexibility to quickly scale up or down based on your 3D printing requirements.
Obtain 3D Printing Design and Fabrication Expertise
Building a 3D printed product is not as easy as just simply putting a digital product file designed to be fabricated by a conventional method on a 3D printer. For maximum effectiveness, products should be designed for 3D printing to utilize all the unique capabilities of 3D printing and mitigate the constraints. Likewise, during the fabrication phase, the design must be oriented and processed correctly in the file preparation stage to have a successful print. 3D printing contract manufacturers specialize in design and fabrication of 3D printed products and can offer an exceptional level of design and fabrication expertise that will result in high-quality 3D printed products.
Get Parts Faster
As with any manufacturing method, capacity is a key constraint and balancing customer demand with production capacity can be a difficult endeavor. Contract 3D printing offers the flexibility to open extra capacity to get 3D printed products much faster. Additionally, when compared to other conventional methods such as CNC machining and injection molding, those methods often require significant tooling or secondary assembly, whereas 3D printing does not require any tooling and multiple components can be consolidated into a single unique shape, cutting out assembly time.
Improve Your Value Stream With 3D Printing Contract Manufacturing
ZABFAB specializes in 3D printing contract manufacturing and offers excellent 3D printing design and fabrication expertise to support your manufacturing needs. Contact us to get started designing and manufacturing your 3D printed product!