Automotive manufacturing giant General Motors, a company that was among the first automakers to seriously explore the potential of 3D printing, recently revealed that it has saved $300,000 over a two year period as a result of the technology. The company now hopes to save millions more by implementing and standardizing 3D printing more widely across its manufacturing facilities.
Impressively, the $300,000 GM was able to save with 3D printing is the result of a single printer that was put into use in the company’s Lansing Delta Township factory. When purchased two years ago, the printer cost only $35,000. It has since been used for prototyping and for making specialized tools for the factory.
With a single printer having returned nearly 10 times its original purchase price in only two years, GM now plans to deploy 3D printers in all of its production facilities in the near future. Cumulatively, the savings from using 3D printing technology in all GM factories could easily range into the millions of dollars. Combined with other emerging technologies, such as AI, big data, and drones, the company hopes to revolutionize the entire manufacturing process.
Beyond saving money, GM reports that its 3D printer has also improved safety at the facility. Pieces of specialized safety equipment can be produced on the printer in much the same way that tools are.
GM’s huge savings as a result of 3D printing implementation offer yet another clear indication that the future of manufacturing will rely heavily on this emerging technological field. Production jobs 10, 15 and 20 years from now will likely require working knowledge of 3D printing hardware and software. If today’s children are to be ready for these jobs, it’s important that they learn how to use additive manufacturing tools now. Classroom 3D printers, like those made by Me3D, are ideal for teaching kids the basic concepts of 3D printing so that they are prepared for the manufacturing jobs of the future.