The manufacturing industry in Mexico owes its recent success to a number of factors. Favorable trade agreements made the country a global contender for import and export business, while a young and talented workforce offers optimal and cost-efficient labor. This skilled workforce not only makes the country a viable option for complicated manufacturing, but an early adopter of certain innovative products and processes such as 3D printing.
A recent Yucatan Times article detailed how the Guadalajara manufacturing community is poised to become a major technology producer akin to Silicon Valley. New ideas, developed and tested within Mexico, promote the construction of innovative products and new methods of manufacturing. Specifically a 3D printing manufacturing process which handles the production process of a good from start to finish with just the push of a button.
3D printing in the manufacturing industry is also called layered manufacturing and both terms are used interchangeably. In the coming years, businesses should expect to see more examples of layered manufacturing in Mexican facilities.
Layered Manufacturing has come a long way in recent years. When first introduced, the process would only work with a few construction materials. Now, layered manufacturing can use a variety of substances to construct products for multiple markets.
The medical device manufacturing industry seems especially interested in a production process that consistently makes items to exact specifications. Science Daily shared a Investigación y Desarrollo piece about a new type of cast designed and created by researchers at the National University of Mexico. The product is ten times lighter than traditional cast options and the material doesn't absorb water like plaster and old-fashioned bandages. This prevents infections and rashes while the unique design provides ventilation.
The creators of this product launched a startup to make the product available to all patients who need a better cast option. The goal is not to sell the products to hospitals, but to sell the casting and machinery to manufacture the medical asset at different locations using the technology at the company's exact production specifications. One of the primary advantages of layered manufacturing is that the technology handles the process from start to finish, so all employees have to do is turn it on.
Green Manufacturing with 3D Printing in Mexico
Another benefit of building products one layer at a time is that it produces less waste. Instead of taking materials and trimming them down to proper shapes, innovative Mexican manufacturers only use exactly what's necessary for production. This is very popular with businesses that want to go green.
Layered manufacturing can sometimes make the most of eco-friendly materials. For example, 3ders.com, a layered manufacturing news site, described how a Florida brewery is working with manufacturing facilities in Mexico to create drink containers that won't harm ocean life. Layered manufacturing shapes biodegradable materials into traditional beverage rings to bind drinks together and prevent animals from being caught in discarded packaging.
"Layered manufacturing shapes biodegradable materials."
The brewery and the Mexican engineers hope more companies will adopt the green materials into their product containers to bring down costs and protect the environment.
In both the drink container and medical supply example, the processes rely on exact measurements to create wave after wave of identical products. Aviation and Aerospace Mexico suggested layered manufacturing often works in tandem with precise data collection solutions to help businesses scan objects and recreate merchandise based on original designs.
This is great for aerospace manufacturing as planes need parts ready to deal with very small adjustments in angles to account for wind and friction. Even the slightest adjustment can be captured in information systems and instantly made part of future production lines. Beside following best practices, manufacturers can also use the technology to build products to a customer's exact specifications.
There are many benefits in providing parts made through layered manufacturing in Mexico and this is just at the beginning of its implementation. The technology is always evolving so staying up to date with how 3D printing in manufacturing can benefit the industry is important to staying competitive in the market.