Home 3D Printing Eleven The 3D Printing Eleven (2): A Greater Product Variety

The 3D Printing Eleven (2): A Greater Product Variety



Dedicated Budget Applications

Thanks to the zero need for upfront investments, the available working capital can now be fully dedicated to the core of the project itself: creating new or enhanced lighting solutions. No more financial losses for non-matching manufacturing tools, write-offs for obsolete inventories or dealing with unreasonable minimum order quantities. The engineering budget is now freely available for the real product engineering and optimization work. It allows engineers to choose the best option by trying different product variations or iterations to come to an optimal end solution.

Multiple Product Variations

Instead of being limited to dozens of identical products, 3D printing now enables a designer to fully customize his projects. Even within the project itself, the individual lighting modules may look different from each other, or have different functionality matching a specific need. A good interaction between the lighting designer and product engineer may result in new and unique applications, and even better cover the needs for good lighting for the right places.

Easy Product Optimization

Using 3D design, printing, scanning and imaging software, it’s now become just a matter of creating the CAD file, convert it and queue it for printing. With only one step from CAD-file to end-product, products are now available in a very short time frame. When the expectations are unmet, or different from the expected, product changes can easily be made. A lighting product can now easily be optimized after fault detection, or its functionality enhanced after testing. A variety of product accessories, such as printed optics, decorative covers or mounting rings can now be supplied for project specific purposes in quantities as low as one. Working towards the final product solution, a lighting design engineer now can order various product iterations on a single product component at the same time, just to find out which of the foreseen options suits best.

Enabling Software Solutions

Thanks to the ongoing digitization, new and enabling software solutions arrive to meet growing customer demand. Starting from scratch, new products can easily be designed, or chosen from a pre-defined product library. Next to creating a product design from scratch, reversed engineering can be used to design a new lighting product, to duplicate or to optimize a traditional one. By producing 3D images of manufactured parts, a renewed ‘blueprint’ will become available in order to remanufacture the part.

To reverse-engineer a luminaire, for example, the part can be measured by using a coordinate measuring machining, e.g. by 3D-scanning. As it is measured, a 3D wire frame image is generated and displayed on the screen. After the measuring is complete, the wire frame image is dimensioned an converted into a solid CAD file. Any component can be reverse engineered using these method.

Mass Customization Options

The ongoing digitization enables printing as easy 1 x 1,000 parts as 1,000 x one part. So called ‘mass customization’ is now within the reach of every designer. All of the products applied onto a project may look different. Such a great variety of parts may turn into a project where all the luminaires used look different in appearance, functionality and performance and perfectly fulfill the needs of the customer.

The possibilities with 3D printing are endless and they encourage designers working with light to discover the new boundaries of manufacturing. New product features and enhanced project opportunities will arise and product diversification will be well-stimulated!

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Illumarco (Marco de Visser) is a Dutch self-proclaimed 3D Printing and Lighting enthusiast. Marco is an active contributor to the 3DPrinting.Lighting, Inspiration.Lighting and 3DPrinting.GLass blogs and actively involved with the global lighting, optics and maker movements.



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