Liberating Design How Retailers and Designers are Embracing 3D Printing | Clark Rubber & Plastic

Liberating Design: How Retailers and Designers are Embracing 3D Printing

One of the biggest benefits of using a 3D printing technology is customization. Mass producing products work in some industries, but not everyone can make a profit off this business model.

Even when mass producing products is the main manufacturing plan, there are still plenty of opportunities to make a bigger profit from offering customization to clients. This hasn’t been something that manufacturers have always had warm fuzzies about, but it’s catching their eye as it grows in popularity.

One example of customization options is being explored by Adidas. While it is still in the prototype phase, they are partnering with strategic manufacturing partners to bring 3D printing into their business model.

Since runners crave custom shoes to help them run more comfortably, the company hopes to deliver a more individualized experience. One day, they hope that customers will walk into their stores and hop on a treadmill for a new type of analysis.

Through different scans of the foot and additive manufacturing software, the freedom to design a custom pair of shoes for the customer can be done on site with 3D printing. This also allows customers to choose their preferred colors and look to make a shoe that is truly customized to them in effort aspect of the product.

Changing the Field

A more personalized form of manufacturing is being explored by more industries than just shoemakers. It is reaching into different forms of wearables, housewares, eyeglass frames, medicine, orthopedics, luggage, toys, jewelry, and more. The list of companies seeking this type of service is growing constantly to meet the new standards that customers want.

Traditional manufacturing uses solid materials, then cuts away to create an item. Another name for 3D printing is additive manufacturing because it does the opposite in creation; materials are added layer by layer to create the product. This liberates design for retailers for several reasons.

  • Modeling software allows customization with fast changes
  • Many materials are available, like plastic, paper, epoxy, resins, and nylon are all available in this process
  • Special orders are created on the spot, cutting down wait times for customers

This process brings value to not only the customer but also to the company. Having the personalization edge is attractive to customers, bringing in more revenue. People feel empowered and more in control of the products they want to buy, unleashing a lot of creative ability for the designers and customers alike.

Data collection is a valuable resource for companies with this manufacturing style as well. Knowing exactly what their customers want and need from them helps companies know where to focus their efforts. If trends are tapped into wisely, mass production can bring down the cost of these items, being displayed and sold for less than the customization options. All of this points to one thing; value to the customer, brand, and experience for all parties.

If you are looking to up your manufacturing game, it is important to consider getting on the 3D printing train. This is more than just a trend, it’s the wave of the future in the industry.