How to crack the dilemma of 3D printing?

Under the premise of a certain amount of social production relations, the application and development of any new technology simply shifts market demand and does not create new demand. 3D printing technology is no exception, it shifts the needs of traditional manufacturing customers.

But now 3D printing technology is embarrassing, and it is limited to prototyping verification in industrial manufacturing applications, commonly known as prototyping. Obviously this application market is very small, not enough to support the survival of hundreds of companies in our industry.

So why is this happening?

For example, a few days ago we received an order from a customer to print 2000 kits with 20 small pieces each. The customer is in a hurry. The traditional injection molding method requires mold opening and cannot be completed in a short time. 3D printing. We immediately recommended the platform service provider’s quotation, which can guarantee the minimum quotation of USD$300,000 in accordance with the required time. The same material customer injection molding cost is only USD$150,000, but it can accept an increase of USD$50,000 to offset its time cost. In the end, the customer gave up because the 3Dprinting cost was too high, and the customer would rather delay the supply chain time.

The above is a very typical 3D printing customer case. There are many similar cases. The customer wants to try 3D printing. But, the cost is too high.

Why the cost of 3D printing is so high, I think there are four reasons:

First, (Cost calculation of 3D printing): traditional manufacturing materials are often priced in tonnage, while 3D printing materials are priced in grams, which seems ridiculous. A big reason for this is that almost all high-end materials need to be imported abroad, and China has no domestic pricing right.

Second, The cost of 3D printing equipment has been repeatedly reduced in the past two years, but it is still unbearable for 3D printing service providers, resulting in the inability to purchase more equipment, the formation of large-scale production, and the unit price cannot fall. What’s more, high-end metal parts 3D printers, high-precision nylon printers, ceramics 3D printers, wax  material prototyping printers and other machines need to be imported, and Chinese manufacturers have no pricing power.

Third, labor costs remain high, and it is difficult to recruit the right talents. At present, almost all post-90s recruitment of 3D printing equipment operations and modeling, but this generation prefers to pursue freedom and personality, which means that it is difficult to recruit and retain, coupled with the bad social values and morals, it is difficult to have Young people can settle down to do things, especially when the entire industry is not yet making money, and the liquidity is very large, which is very detrimental to 3D printing services.

Fourth. At present, there are hundreds of 3D printing service providers in China, but policies and banks can hardly support them. For example, service providers have a lot of machine production, but they cannot obtain bank loans. Service providers focus on applications, for manufacturing Industry to provide services, without patents, and cannot get national high-tech support. They are the most critical nodes to promote the development of the industry, but it is embarrassing to obtain support.

We have analyzed the factors of high cost of 3D printing technology application,  how to crack it?

From the current point of view, only the domestic hundreds of service providers to reduce prices, or even strategic losses, is the only way out:

First, grab cakes from traditional manufacturing and expand market share;

Second, force materials and equipment manufacturers to further innovate and reduce prices to reduce technology application costs;

Third, under the premise of good liquidity and sufficient market, it can naturally attract capital support such as bank loans and venture capital;

Fourth: If Manufacturing Industry is full of vitality, talents will be glad to come in. Modern talents need both prospects and money in the short term, and we must give them respect and support.

Finally, 3D printing technology is inevitable for the subversion of traditional manufacturing. It will expand from prototyping(model making service) to small batch production, and then to large-scale (high volume)production to achieve comprehensive digital manufacturing. We believe that this day will come soon.

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