[innovate, invent, inspire]

Perhaps you are familiar with Just-In-Time manufacturing? In the 1960’s and 70’s, Japan sought to overcome its relative lack of resources by implementing a new system of production. Corporations developed relationships with specialized suppliers that would produce and supply key components. The result? Japanese manufacturing became increasingly efficient as smaller companies developed economies of scale centered around key components. This allowed larger manufacturing centers to produce end products faster and in far greater quantities. This new system would come to be known as Just-in-Time production; it would sweep the globe and reshape manufacturing.

Manufacturing was re-born and some businesses chose not to enter that new world. Within 25 years, a great number could not keep pace; they ceased operations or were assimilated.  The U.S. Department of Commerce notes:

"From 1980 to 1985 employment in the US economy increased from 104.5 million to 107.2 million workers, or by 2.6 percent. But employment of operators, fabricators, and laborers fell from 20.0 million to 16.8 million, a decline of 15.9 percent.” (U.S. Department of Commerce 1983, 416; and 1986, 386)

The 21st Century has also seen the rise of a new process of production — one with potential to have even more profound impact — additive manufacturing.

Have you seen a YouTube video of something ‘cool’ being 3D printed?

·      A house maybe? 

·      A castle? 

·      A proposed Martian habitat! 

·      What about a heart or prosthetic limb?

But 3D printing isn’t just a novelty and it isn’t just somewhat useful.  3D printing is profoundly more transformative than Just-in-Time production.

Perhaps you are barely aware of it yet, but life as you know it has changed. 

The wonder of 3D printing is thought by many to be comparable to a Star Trek replicator as per the video to the left.  The similarity of the replicator to 3D printers lies in the storage of designs for inanimate objects within a computer and the rapid “materialization” of those items at the will of the user. But while 3D printing is cutting-edge and revolutionary, it doesn’t need to be mysterious.

3D printing has actual application to your day-to-day life and to the advancement of your business.  You can understand how it works and how it can help you.  No, not just NASA; not just biomedical scientists or pioneers in other high-technology endeavours.  You.  And your business. 

Is that exciting? Or daunting?

i3D is here to help.  No, we’re not suggesting you out-source your production to us. (Sure, if you want us to help with that, we can.) But in our view, the most powerful benefit of 3D printing is that it permits you to manufacture in-house — faster and cheaper than by outsourcing. That’s why we’re available to equip you in those efforts — so you can streamline your own processes and grow your business. Here are a few possibilities of what that could look like in practice:

1.  ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING:  i3D can help you take inventory of current operations and map out an implementation strategy. We have multi-step planning guides designed to help you assess where and how within your organization 3D printing can be most effective and most profitable.

2.  Provision:  i3D can supply you with the machines and accessories you need to align your production with 21st century manufacturing.  We have a full line of 3D printers to suit any budget. 

  • FLASHFORGE: These cost-effective polymer FDM printers are some of the versatile, durable and easy-to-use on the market. If you’re looking for something practical and efficient, Flashforge is a great choice.

  • INFNITY: These commercial-grade printers are made in Canada! And they offer more of everything – size, durability, material versatility, customization. If you need wide-ranging production capabilities, check out this line.

  • SHINING3D: The next frontier — this is our line of metal and SLA printers.  The EP-100 and EP-250 printers are SLM printers able to produce components in any metal, including stainless steel.

  • ACCESSORIES: We offer 3D laser scanners and filament dry-boxes. (Is there another accessory you could use? Just ask us.)

3.  DESIGN AND PRINTING SERVICES: i3D is committed to supporting you every step of the way.  We offer consultations and training seminars, support everything we provide you, and provide design and production services for clients.

Which of those would be most helpful to your business right now? We’d love to chat with you.

The i3D mission:

to provide you and your organization

with the information and tools you need

to see the transforming power of 3D printing

in your world

If you are relatively new the the idea of additive manufacturing and what to find out what all the fuss is about, your first step is to check out our Additive Manufacturing 101 page!