3D printing offers greater flexibility and agility than traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding. It allows for rapid prototyping and production of parts without the need for expensive and time-consuming tooling. This means that Adhesives Technology could quickly produce the hangers they needed without waiting for new injection molding tools to be created, reducing their downtime and enabling them to fulfill their orders.
The cost implications play a significant role. Recreating a complex multi-cavity mold, such as the one used for Adhesives Technology’s hangers, can cost hundreds of thousands. 3D printing can be more cost-effective for small production runs or when the complexity of the design requires frequent changes or customization. By utilizing 3D printing as a temporary solution, Adhesives Technology could bridge the production gap without incurring the high costs of recreating the injection molding tool.
3D printing can be a valuable short-term solution; there may be considerations for long-term production. Factors such as material properties, volume requirements, and production efficiency could still favor injection molding once the stability of the supply chain or reshoring is achieved.