Product teams face a laundry list of potential qualities to look for in a cable and connector manufacturing partner, especially when seeking a customized or re-engineered solution. In such cases, we cannot stress enough how important in-house 3D printing capabilities are to achieving successful outcomes.
3D printing is a form of rapid prototyping that converts Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or Model-Based Definition (MBD) renderings into a tangible, at-scale part or product, allowing engineers to hold an accurate prototype in their hands and test or validate design assumptions prior to mass production, including:
- Product dimensions
- Surface finishes
- Material performance
One of the greatest advantages of 3D printing is the ability to analyze the performance of a part or product before tooling the design in steel. Rather than waiting months for production tooling, product teams can evaluate design elements in one to two weeks, markedly accelerating the time required to take designs to production. From a cost and quality standpoint, identifying weaknesses or enhancement opportunities earlier in the development process also drastically reduces risks and ensures the best possible outcome.
Why In-House Capabilities Matter
While manufacturing processes that incorporate rapid prototyping services, such as 3D printing, can significantly reduce the time and cost of production, the only way to maximize the value and benefits of this value-added service is to select a partner with in-house capabilities. Why? Because the inefficiencies of outsourcing this phase of development to a third party diminish potential value gain in several ways:
- Coordinating between vendors requires more time
- Enlisting multiple partners can increase security and human error risks
- Outsourcing costs may be higher
- Managing multiple vendors can hinder productivity
- Outsourcing may increase time-to-market
Thinking beyond time and cost savings, access to in-house 3D printing streamlines the entire manufacturing process, creates a single source authority to guide all decisions moving forward, and ultimately results in a highly refined product blueprint. Best of all, product teams can sign off on orders with total confidence that their solution adequately addresses all project demands, including application requirements, budget, and time-to-market.
All projects can benefit from in-house 3D printing capabilities, but the ones that stand the most to gain those that:
- Involve numerous distinct parts
- Have little or no room for error
- Are on a tight deadline or budget
- Require low-volume tooling
Interested in learning more about how our in-house 3D printing capabilities can benefit your next project? Download the case study.