In recent years, industrial printing has revolutionized and redefined production methods and opened up new design and manufacturing possibilities.
Going far beyond traditional printing processes, industrial printing (sometimes synonymous with industrial 3D printing) stands out for its efficiency, flexibility and diversity of materials.
In this article, experts from our industrial machinery design department give you an overview of the many facets of industrial printing.
What is industrial printing?
Industrial printing differs from traditional printing methods in several ways. Whereas conventional printing, such as offset or screen printing, is mainly used to reproduce images and text on paper or fabric, industrial printing is used to create functional objects for a variety of industrial applications.
For industrial printing, the focus is on large-scale production of strong, precisely-crafted parts. In addition, industrial printing is not limited to a flat surface. Thanks to techniques such as 3D printing, it can be used to create three-dimensional objects of all shapes and sizes, from product prototypes to aerospace components.
The importance of digital printing to modern industry
Digital printing has completely transformed the industrial landscape. By offering unrivalled speed, flexibility and precision, it has made it possible to rapidly produce prototypes, implement mass customization and manufacture complex parts.
Industrial printing also optimizes the use of materials, which significantly reduces waste and results in cost savings and reduced environmental impact. In a world where speed to market, continuous innovation and sustainability are paramount, digital printing has become a major tool for companies seeking to remain competitive.
What materials are used in industrial printing?
Industrial printing offers a variety of solutions, as it can be used with a wide range of materials according to the specific needs of each project.
From durable plastics to strong metals and delicate ceramics, each material brings its own unique properties to the industrial printing arena.
Resin is a liquid polymer that hardens when exposed to a light source, such as a UV laser. In industrial printing, resin is used in high resolution printing such as stereolithography, since it can accommodate fine details.
Resin is used to print prototypes, make molds and produce complex components that require high precision. Thanks to its unique properties, resin can also be combined with other materials to obtain specific characteristics, such as enhanced strength or flexibility.
Polyamide, also known as nylon, is a strong, flexible thermoplastic. It is generally used in powder form for industrial 3D printing and fused with a laser in the laser sintering process.
Parts printed in polyamide are strong and resistant to heat, and can be flexible or rigid as required. It’s a popular choice in industrial machining, particularly for the creation of gears, hinges and components requiring a certain degree of elasticity.
ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a thermoplastic that is commonly used in 3D printing. It is valued for being strong and easy to process.
ABS is slightly flexible, resistant to impact and able to withstand high temperatures. It is a material of choice for the manufacture of toys, tools, electronics cases and many other industrial products.
Titanium and stainless steel
Titanium is renowned for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, ability to resist corrosion and biocompatibility. It is the material of choice in the aerospace and medical industries.
Stainless steel is valued for its durability, and is widely used to manufacture tools, household appliances and industrial components.
In industrial printing, these metals are used to produce solid, durable parts with remarkable precision.
Precious metals such as gold, silver, bronze and platinum also have their place in industrial printing, particularly in jewelry and watchmaking. When crafted correctly, they can be used to create elaborate, personalized designs. These metals also have conductive properties, making them useful to applications related to electromechanics.
Ceramic 3D printing differs from traditional methods in that it can be used to produce complex shapes that would otherwise be impossible to fabricate. Once fired, ceramic becomes hard, heat-resistant and chemically stable, making it ideal for applications such as electronic parts, medical components and artwork.
Advantages of using ceramics in industrial printing
The use of ceramics in industrial printing offers major advantages. Since it is chemically inert, ceramics are is ideal for use in situations where corrosion could be a problem. Their resistance to heat make them invaluable for parts that need to withstand high temperatures.
What’s more, with 3D printing, companies can produce ceramic parts with previously impossible levels of detail and complexity.
The benefits of industrial printing for businesses
Beyond the simple use of materials, industrial printing can give companies a strategic advantage so that they will stand out in the marketplace. Here’s how.
Save materials and reduce energy consumption
One of the main advantages of industrial printing is the ability to use only enough materials to create a part. Unlike traditional methods, where materials are often removed or wasted, 3D printing adds material layer by layer, minimizing waste.
By adding material instead of removing it to create a part not only saves on raw material costs, but also reduces the energy impact associated with waste production and processing.
Produce complex designs
Industrial printing has revolutionized the world of design and manufacturing, making it possible to create structures and shapes that were previously impossible or too expensive to produce.
Complex geometries, internal channels, lightweight lattices and other advanced designs can now be created with precision and ease. This design freedom opens the door to new innovations and optimizations in many industrial sectors.
Flexible choice of materials
With the growing range of materials available for 3D printing, companies can choose or even mix materials to achieve the desired properties for a particular part.
Whether to combine flexibility and rigidity, add electrical conductivity, or even change color or achieve transparency, industrial printing offers a wide range of options. This makes it possible to customize products according to specific customer or application needs.
Reduce production times and increase efficiency
The era of industrial printing means that the transition from design to production can be achieved in record time. There’s no longer any need to create expensive molds or set up complex production lines when you need to produce small batches. Companies can now produce rapid prototypes, carry out tests, and then move straight on to full-scale production.
This reduction in intermediate steps leads to greater efficiency, lower costs and improved manufacturing quality.
HARtech: your industrial printing partner
The rapid evolution of industrial printing is promising to transform the way companies design, manufacture and market their products. Industrial printing offers considerable benefits in terms of efficiency, design and sustainability. However, to make the most of these advantages, you need the right expertise.
The professionals at HARtech combine in-depth experience and passion for innovation. We’re more than just a 3D printing service provider: we’re your dedicated partner, making your industrial ambitions a reality.
Don’t let your company fall behind during this industrial transformation. Trust HARtech to help you propel your business to new heights. Let’s talk about your next project today!