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Does 3-D Printing Have a Role in Lean Manufacturing?

A lean workplace seeks ways to make itself more productive and more efficient, and a recent article at Reliable Plant and Lean Manufacturing Journal asserts that 3-D printing naturally fits in well with lean thinking. 

3-D printers, the article explains, can make prototyping and customizing easier, which creates a less wasteful manufacturing environment. Additional benefits of 3-D printers are they can increase the consistency of products and ultimately lead to lower prices. 

Lean tries to eliminate wastes in the workplace such as time spent moving products, time spent waiting for parts or equipment and products with defects. In-house 3-D printing may allow some manufacturing facilities to avoid waiting for items made outside the facility. It could also reduce problems such as defects. 

It seems like 3-D printing may have some real potential as a lean manufacturing tool. What do you think? 

Read the full article at Reliable Plant and Lean Manufacturing Journal

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