Do you really understand your 3D post-processing cost? Calculating the benefits of automation…

3D post-processing efficiency and cost graphicWe’ve found with years of talking to customers about 3D post-processing, very few have taken the time to quantify the cost of their post-print operations. With most attention paid to the design and build stages of additive manufacturing, this is understandable as post-printing is often an afterthought. But when parts do not depart the printer in a final finished state, there’s an additional cost to make it “customer-ready” that many have not taken into consideration. Today we are seeing more and more customers realizing just how important this post-print step is to getting to consistent part production.

Taking on the task to quantify current post-print costs is where the journey towards the benefits of automation starts. This includes labor rates, cost of damage, and technician and process times. This data frames the current state picture to then calculate the transformative benefits that an automated post-print operation can offer.

Here at PostProcess, we’ve developed a software-based ROI Calculator to help manufacturers step through this analysis. Based on years of experience and hundreds of thousands of benchmarked parts, we’ve built a tool that considers all of the customer’s operational factors and outputs how quickly they can see a return on an automated solution investment as well as realize gains in productivity and cost savings.

First, it starts with current print costs and volumes to help frame how beneficial automation can be depending on scale of operation. The second step is defining current post-print costs. Whether using manual labor or traditional finishing solutions, there are costs to consider regarding technician time, damage rates, and overall process times. From our experience, 95%+ of the time, post-printing is completed with labor-intensive, non-automated processes where inconsistent results don’t meet customer-ready requirements and time-consuming manual labor doesn’t scale.

Step 3 is understanding the impact of automation on post-printing. During this phase, using the customer’s benchmarked data for sample parts run in PostProcess’ machines in our FINISH3D lab, we input cycle times, batch sizes and labor rates for the minimal amount of technician time required. This brings us to step 4 where we see, based on investment cost including machine and consumables, the timing for break-even and then return on the investment. In our experience, customers have seen return in as little as a few weeks with implementation of our automated post-print solutions, and cycle times at a fraction of their non-automated processing.

Intrigued? You should be. Many companies, whether in prototyping or production scale operations of additive manufacturing, have much to gain in productivity and cost savings in the implementation of automated post-printing. Contact us today to learn more.

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Putting the “M” in AM in 2018

Multi-colored holiday ornament with Season's Greetings written on itHappy New Year to all, as we give you this week’s blog post as a reflection of this time of year when we celebrate the past and make plans for what lies ahead…

As we look to 2018, the impact of Additive Manufacturing seems to be reaching that exciting inflection point. Here at PostProcess, we’re seeing tremendous demand in production-scale post-print inquiries as one proof point of the market’s growth. In believing that the industry will finally put the “M” in AM in 2018, we aim to add our voice to the conversation in 3D printing … it’s not just about getting it printed, but how do you make 5000 customer-ready parts in a week?

Industry experts are echoing this same message. This week’s 3D Printing Industry “What’s Next for 3D Printing in 2018?” article highlights mass customized production, automation, software, and more. The awakening to the need for software-driven automation in post-printing to transform additive manufactured parts into finished goods is arriving.

We’re excited for what lies ahead this year, primed and prepped to solve the post-printing bottleneck with the world’s only automated, intelligent, comprehensive solution. To help the market realize its full potential, we’ll be spreading the good word about our ability to finish all 3D print technologies and materials with a unique combo of software, hardware, and chemistry across a range of part sizes and print volumes.

Looking forward to 2018 as the year we bury the dirty history of post-printing and elevate it to its proper position as an integral part of Industry 4.0.

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