The idea of offering short-run manufactured parts on demand has been around for quite some time—arguably as long as there have been blacksmiths. It’s appealing for the same reason as meal prep delivery: you get exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. For manufacturers, that means less inventory to maintain and reduced downtime due to machine failure.
Today, there’s a whole industry built around quick turnaround on-demand manufacturing services, including companies such as Proto Labs, Plethora, Star Rapid, Xometry and 3ERP. Much of the growth in this industry can be attributed to the falling costs of 3D printing and the development of additive manufacturing as a production process.
Read the full story at engineering.com.