How will 3D printing affect my business? This question is being asked by companies in several industries, especially those involved in the manufacturing process. A diverse group of companies came together last month to discuss and better understand the impact of 3D printing in the lighting industry. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is already being used in several industries to augment conventional manufacturing.
3D Printing – Understanding the Impact on Lighting
The discovery workshop, organized by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer in partnership with Carbon Group Global, was designed to understand the impact of 3D printing across all areas of buildings and construction, and especially its impact on lighting. A group of industry leaders focused on how to best assimilate 3D printing with the lighting industry, the mutual benefits to all stakeholders, and the implications to and the impact on the existing ecosystem. The group will soon embark on developing an industry roadmap to make additive manufacturing a viable option for the lighting, building, and construction industries.
The Benefits of 3D Printing for Lighting Professionals
The potential benefits of 3D printing include the ability for manufacturers to create custom products that are uniquely designed for spaces to be illuminated. Fixtures could be printed on-site and on-demand, benefitting the user/customer, the manufacturer, and the local construction industry.
3D Printing Individual Solid State Lighting Components
With 3D printing, the manufacture of individual lighting components, such as heat sinks, electrical traces, and led optics, could be customized, enabling the design of parts that cannot be manufactured today by traditional methods, improving both aesthetics and functionality.
Research is still needed to advance the integration of 3D printing into the lighting industry, beyond the current prototyping stage. To date, the Lighting Research Center has conducted initial investigations into the potential for printing thermal, electrical, and optical components.