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Mass Customization Using 3D printing – A cutting edge technology

How is the gap between mass production and custom manufacturing bridged by mass customization? by utilising cutting-edge and developing technology to gather data, develop designs, produce components, and put goods together.

Let’s look at some of the most common technologies that enable mass customization and real-life examples.

Product Configurators

With the help of online, mobile, or software-based product configurators, users can add or remove essential product functionality, change how it appears or feels, or even build entirely new features or designs from scratch. They are among the most popular co-creation tools, useful for marketing as well as for recording customer preferences directly so that they may be translated into bespoke products.

Automotive configurators that let buyers view a given car model in several colours, rims, and interiors, sunglass configurators that let customers virtually test on alternative frames and lenses, and more are a few instances of product configurators. Recent developments in configurators use augmented reality to enhance the realism of the experience.

CAD Design

Based on patient intraoral scan data, specialist CAD software tools are now accessible to build dental products like aligner therapy, dentures, or crowns. Designing anatomical models, prosthesis, or surgical guidance is made possible by medical CAD tools. Jewelry designers can build new bespoke designs using jewellery CAD tools, which is far easier to achieve on a large scale than manually carving old wax patterns.

3D Scanning

3D scanners are essential tools for gathering data for mass customisation, and their applications are widely spread today. They are frequently essential for mass personalisation, where they are used to reference the precise shape of the human body, allowing for the creation of products and appliances that are custom-fit. Although some applications need specialised 3D scanners, smartphone scanning (photogrammetry and LiDAR) has advanced quickly, so billions of users already have a scanner that can collect data that can be used as an input for mass customization.

3D Printing

The only thing that needs to be updated to customise each product to the consumer without spending more money on tooling when using 3D printers is the digital design. As it can make intricate shapes and elements like overhangs, microchannels, and organic structures that would be expensive or even impossible to produce with conventional production techniques, 3D printing also provides nearly limitless design freedom.

One of the most popular production techniques for mass customization is additive manufacturing, which provides options for producing consumer goods as well as solutions for medical, dental, and audio appliances.

Rapid Tooling

Rapid tooling is the group of techniques used to fabricate tooling fast, at low cost, and efficiently for traditional manufacturing processes like injection molding, thermoforming, or compression molding, to create parts on a slim timeline or in lower quantities.

The most popular materials used to make conventional tooling are strong metals, and techniques like metal casting and machining are used. These procedures, though, are more suitable for lengthy manufacturing cycles and are more expensive. Rapid tooling makes it possible to manufacture unique or small-batch end-use parts using normal production techniques, which would be prohibitively expensive with conventional tooling. This enables producers to explore new product markets, provide a greater selection of goods, or create parts that are more suited to specific client requirements.

3D printing and machining are the most widely used techniques for generating quick tools, with the former being best for bulk customization.

Custom-fit ear devices such as in-ear monitors, hearing aids, or noise protection used to be labor-intensive and expensive to make, which means that they were only accessible to a few niche audiences. Now, 3D scanning can be used to scan someone’s ears and molds for casting silicone ear tips can be 3D printed, empowering audiologists to produce affordable custom-fit devices at scale.

Robotics and Automation uses mass customization

Companies no longer always need to rely on pricey integrators since programming robots at every level is becoming simpler. Smaller enterprises and those who want flexible production environments—essential for customization—can now afford industrial automation.

Data platforms may now incorporate connected manufacturing equipment, such as robots, sensors, and assembly lines, to inform not only daily operations but also every phase of the product lifecycle, from conception, design, and engineering, to distribution, sales, and service. This is crucial for large customization since monitoring jobs and parts becomes more difficult and error-prone when each part is unique.

Mass Customization Workflows

1. Design

Customers can be given configuration options, a CAD design can be modified, or a design can be made specifically for them based on a 3D scan of a current model, an MRI scan, or an intraoral scan.

2. Manufacture

Use 3D printing to create end-use parts directly, or combine it with conventional manufacturing processes to create quick tools. Additional customisation possibilities and longer-lasting products can also be made possible by post-processing and finishing.

Forget about the limitations on design imposed by conventional methods; 3D printing allows for the affordable production of complicated designs as well as unique parts.

3. Assemble

Use the customised part in manufacturing as a component or sub-assembly or as a standalone product, exactly as you would a part made with conventional tools.

Utilize the off-the-shelf components in conjunction with the custom item to save costs while increasing production efficiency.

4. Scale Up and Be Agile

Diversify your operations, scale up as demand increases without incurring exorbitant equipment expenses, and respond to the market and your customers faster than your rivals without having to make expensive tooling changes.

Utilize personalization and innovative direct-to-customer business models to boost profitability and forge closer bonds with your clients.

Crenodez offers quality, attention to detail mass customization service.

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