Today, lab/practice partnerships are more beneficial with the accessibility of 3D printers. Advanced 3D printing solutions produce devices with a faster turnaround time than traditional and even legacy 3D printing methods. The innovative resins and resin-printing techniques used by modern 3D printers offer industry-leading strength, accuracy, and transparency leading to better end products.

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Additive manufacturing has been expanding into many industries over the past several years. The 3D printing solutions used in additive manufacturing have many advantages over traditional manufacturing. Companies looking to increase agility, reduce costs, and become more resilient to supply chain disruptions should consider the advantages of additive manufacturing to improve traditional manufacturing processes and to directly produce finished parts.

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3D printing in prototyping and low volume production

Advancements in 3D printing as a production solution are also enabling additive manufacturing for low volume production. With tightly integrated solutions including 3D printing machines, software, and materials, additive manufacturing is enabling more effective and efficient prototypes through production workflow as well as faster time to market.

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patient receiving a dental crown

In the past, digital workflows used a combination of CAD/CAM software and CNC milling to make crowns. 3D printers could not make permanent crowns because the materials did not have the appropriate mechanical properties, and there was poor accuracy or fit. With recent advancements in 3D-printable resins, 3D printers can produce permanent crowns that meet mechanical property requirements and make them faster and more cost-effectively than CNC milling. 3D printing is streamlining the dental crown manufacturing process and can benefit labs and dental practices.

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Advancements in 3D printing technology are improving the production of clear aligners. Today’s 3D printing solutions are widely available to both dental labs and private practices. Orthodontists can now choose between outsourcing aligner production to a lab or
in-house production.

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A 3D-printed midsole

The projected revenue increase demonstrates the continued adoption of additive manufacturing processes by footwear manufacturers. 3D printers have been available since the 1980s. However, many industries have only recently integrated 3D printing solutions into their production processes, as significant advances in machines, material, and software are not only meeting industry requirements but also enabling greater innovation with better performance production parts. Today many footwear companies use 3D printers to optimize design, prototyping, and full production.

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3D-printed jigs and fixtures have several benefits over those made by traditional methods. 3D printing solutions can help companies save time and money by eliminating skilled labor steps and optimizing production processes.

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Companies use a low-volume approach to test products in the market before high volume production or if the demand is small. Low volume options include injection molding, CNC milling, and 3D printing. Each low-volume manufacturing method has pros and cons and is best implemented for specific applications. Low Volume Manufacturing Method 1: Injection Molding Injection…

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