In this week’s career-wise, let’s explore how to build a career in 3d printing
In the near future, applications of 3D printing are going to increase greatly. Imagine remote geographic areas being able to print vital equipment on demand or hospitals being able to print human organs for transplants. While this is not possible today, as technology improves, 3D printers are likely to have almost limitless applications for production.
The use of this technology is going to grow exponentially due to the many advantages that it offers including speed, efficiency, simplicity, design freedom, reliability and precision. Offering rapid turn-around time, 3D printing is especially useful for creating small volume, highly customised products which are not suited to mass production.
3D printing is poised to transform manufacturing in India. Anyone interested in new technologies with an eye for precision and detail, will find much to explore in the fast-expanding world of 3D printing. Given the projected growth of this technology, this is the perfect time to develop expertise in this arena.
Requirements for a career in 3D printing
In order to become an expert in 3D printing, an ideal combination is:
(i) a degree in a field like engineering, or design, animation, medical technologies, or software development, combined with,
(ii) a 3D CAD course in order to plan and design projects; and additionally
(iii) a course in additive manufacturing, to develop knowledge of the mechanical operations and manufacturing applications of 3D printers.
This three-part combination can serve as a springboard into new roles centred around 3D printing. Anyone wishing to pursue a career in 3D printing will have to stay abreast of the latest technical breakthroughs and market demands for 3D printing as it is a continuous process of learning as well as keeping oneself updated and upskilled.
Career opportunities in 3D Printing
The growth of 3D printing and its transformational impact on the manufacturing process is creating a number of rewarding new job roles. Many industries are using 3D printing and hence job opportunities for highly skilled professionals are in abundance.
The ability to produce lightweight, high strength parts very fast, at a low cost, is of great benefit to aerospace professionals. This sector offers many opportunities for engineers skilled in 3D printing and design. Boeing, Airbus, and even NASA are all using 3D printing for producing parts for engines, satellites, aircraft bodies and fixtures. The automotive industry too, benefits from the ability to print lightweight parts.
3D printing is being widely used in construction and is used to fabricate anything from tiny hardware to lightweight, durable tools, even printing entire houses. 3D printing is making its way into the interior design industry as well. Fashion design, jewellery design, product design also benefit from 3D Printing. So does the film industry- for designing sets, costumes, merchandise, etc. All these sectors have roles for 3D printing professionals.
It is accelerating new breakthroughs in the medical field through applications like bio-printing and prosthetics. Surgical planning has been greatly enhanced through 3D Printing. Dentistry, maxillofacial and plastic surgery as well as orthopaedics utilise the technology in many ways including customized implants. A number of hospitals are setting up in-house 3D printing facilities and the demand for professionals in 3D printing is growing in the medical sector.
Many other sectors like consumer durables, electronics, robotics, FMCG, all use 3D printing. The list is long. It is being applied in almost every sector, every industry and there is a proportional increase in demand for professionals trained in 3D printing and design.
— Written by Dr Rashmi Sharma, Head, Webel Fujisoft Vara Centre of Excellence: Industry 4.0