It’s the new big thing, as game-changing a technology as the personal computer was a generation ago. If you’re involved in manufacturing, you’ve no doubt heard of 3D printing. Maybe you’re even putting it to use in your design, prototype and production operations.

The technology, also referred to as additive manufacturing, uses plastics and powdered metals to additively build solid objects, such as tool parts, that are designed using CAD/CAM software. A 3D printer enables you to physically print out a 3D object—no tooling required, providing lots of flexibility when you’re doing design work. You can create a CAD design in the morning and have a prototype built in a few hours. By the afternoon, you can hold it, inspect it, and show it to your client. The whole process is much faster and much cheaper than tool making.

We’ve explored the use of additive manufacturing here at Centryco, especially in mold making. At the moment, it’s not a viable solution for manufacturing our products because the rigid materials utilized in 3D printing at present don’t allow for the flexibility our products require.

In the meantime, we’re working with early adopters to protect the investments they’ve made in their 3D printers. Our customers use Centryco pleated or sewn screens, constructed in anything from simple light-duty to heat-reflective/heat-dissipation materials, to shield workers and the machines themselves from potential mishaps.

If you’re using 3D printing for design, prototyping or production purposes, we’d like to hear from you. Head over to our Facebook page and tell us how you’ve fit 3D printing into your production process.

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