3D Printing is changing the manufacturing landscape. Additive manufacturing (aka 3D printing) is helping companies in a wide range of industries realize their design ideas at every stage, from concept to end-use parts faster and cheaper than has ever been possible before.
Generating inexpensive, yet highly accurate prototypes early in the design process allows manufacturers and engineers to check form, fit, and function without committing significant resources. They can rapidly gauge customer response to an item, adjust the design and produce multiple iterations to compare alternatives. They can even quickly craft end-use parts that are customized for a particular job – and they can do all of this in hours or days, not the weeks or months that are required for traditional outsourcing to fabricators.
In an effort to shed a spotlight on this disruptive technology, a number of local companies (Concept Frames in Newton; US Conec in Hickory) and business assistance organizations have created the inaugural Catawba County 3D Printing Competition.
Companies and individuals are invited to apply by September 7 and illustrate some of their most innovative designs or where a particular 3D printing process saved substantial time and money for the company.