The Industrial 3D Printer Price
While much attention has been focused on the consumer market, consumer-grade 3D printers are not suitable for large-scale production grade additive manufacturing. Industrial 3D printers are designed for a specific purpose and they have the speed, facilities and robustness which are critical for industrial 3D manufacturing.
They come with a wide range of features and different specifications, that means that the industrial 3D printer price can vary hugely. To identify just how much industrial printers cost, it is worth understanding a little more about them. What is the difference between the consumer 3D printer and industrial 3D printer price and why? Where is it based on and how to compare?
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1. What is the difference between the consumer 3D printer and industrial 3D printer price
Industrial printers are designed to be used in an industrial setting. This means that they are engineered to print in a different way and they have a higher output of precision and accuracy. Consumer 3D printers are simpler in design and used to create easier models that use less durable materials. Let's have a look at the main difference so you understand better why the Industrial 3d printer price is always slightly higher.
The different features:
The big difference in use is often down to the specific construction parameters of both devices. 3D printers that are designed for use in an industrial setting are more advanced as they enable the printing of fully functioning prototypes. Therefore, they are ideal for printing tools and instrumentation. This also means that the creation of a final product is possible using 3D printing.
Consumer 3D printers are designed for different applications. These 3D printers are less advanced and are best used for creating simple models using less durable materials. This means that they are ideal for someone who wants to create individual elements which are not very complicated and do not require high precision or certain physical features.
1b. Closed chamber (enclosure)
For those businesses that need the use of more demanding (high-performance) materials, industrial 3D printers come with enclosed chambers. This makes it possible to print at a temperature that is higher and stable which is a requirement for certain print materials. Most consumer 3D printers don’t have a closed chamber, so there are more temperature fluctuations while 3D printing. Therefore you can only use a limited choice of print materials and you have to compromis on the quality of your prints as well. The presence of a casing will result in a higher consumer and/or industrial 3D printer price.
1c. Assembled or DIY-kit
Consumer 3D printers are available as assembled units or Do It Yourself (DIY) kits. Hobbyist which have the technical knowledge and enough time, are happy to build a printer themselves. Of course, this makes the purchase of the consumer printer cheaper compared to the industrial 3D printer price. Industrial 3D printers on the other hand are delivered fully assembled, and often ready to print by arrival. In some cases this is not possible, for example because of the large size of the printer and shipment restrictions. In that case the industrial 3D printer manufacturer often offers a service of installation on location. An engineer of the manufacturer will take care of installing the printer on site.
1d. Single or Dual extrusion
As mentioned, consumer 3D printers are simpler build than professional 3D printers and that is why the industrial 3D printer price is a bit higher. Having the ability to print complex models and using support material is all down to the quality of the printer and software settings. Also the number of extruders (print heads) can play a part here. If you have a single head extruder, you can print one material.
When you are printing with one material, PLA for instance, it is sometimes difficult to break the supports away from the model. This can cause damage and leave traces that can prove difficult to remove. If supports are printed using a different material to that of the main model, for example water-soluble (PVA) material, it often makes it easier to remove it and reduces the risk of damage and chipping. In this case you need two extruders (dual head), which also influences the industrial 3D printer price.
1e. Process Automation
A consumer 3D printer can be reliable up to a point, but it is limited in what it can design. It does not have the same functions as an industrial 3D printer. Even though, in some cases, these functionalities are not necessary. When it comes to printing a complex object, these additional features such as automatic build plate calibration or out-of-filament sensor, will become a useful option. When printing with a consumer 3D printer, there is a lot to think about, that means that the print time increases and the chance of errors is higher.
1f. Implementation costs
When a company considers investing in an industrial 3D printer, the cost of printing with a 3D printer and how it can benefit the business will be ascertained. We will later in this article proof to you that implementing a 3D printer into an industrial environment can deliver significant costs savings, helps to save time and improve productivity.
Using a 3D printer can require a bit of training, which is something that you do not get with a consumer 3D printer because of the way in which they operate as well as their capabilities. In an industrial environment, it is important to understand the potential problems, solutions as well as determining how to ensure a successful print each time. With a consumer 3D printer, there is often no real level of support as users are left to test everything themselves.
1g. Parameters / Settings
When it comes to getting a 3D print right, there can be a huge array of features on the list of settings. This can include things such as extruder (nozzle) temperature, layer height (resolution), printing speed and the distance between the main print and the support, not to mention the heated build platform temperature. The list can be considerably long but the settings have to match the requirements of the printing materials in order to obtain a successful print.
Industrial 3D printers often come with preconfigured software settings, which includes the specific parameters required for certain filaments. They make it possible to print at the highest of quality, while ensuring that the right parameters are in place to help create a successful print. In the case of consumer 3D printers, they often not come with the correct parameters, as they are lower in price and designed for users who want to spend more time tweaking the printing process.
1h. Availability of materials
There are many different materials available to print with when using an industrial 3D printer. However, when using a simple consumer 3D printer, the more demanding materials are often not suitable for use. Printers that have been designed for industrial use can handle many different materials like HIPS, ASA, PC-ABS, Nylon (PA) and even the high temperature thermoplastics such as PEEK and PEI/ULTEM. The industrial 3D printer price is a little higher because of this, but it will give companies more design freedom to meet their specifications.
Just give us a call and we explain it all to you!
At Tractus3D, purchasing an industrial 3D printer will ensure that the correct level of support and service is provided. This can cover issues, queries and how to get the most from the machine without any form of second guessing. This support can provide complete peace of mind knowing that there is assistance there when required.
2. How to compare the industrial 3D printer price and what to look for?
Industrial 3D printers come with a wide range of benefits which we will discuss later in this article. It will enable a business to work to a higher level of efficiency and produce objects that consist of excellent accuracy and quality. However, making the right decision is all about how you plan to use it.
The industrial 3D printer price can vary and so, you need to determine what your budget is and which printer fits in best with that. To find the right printer, it could mean having to prioritize some needs in order to get what really works for you. So, what do you need to consider when it comes to comparing professional 3D printer prices? First consider the size of the printer including the required build volume, second the materials (filaments) you plan to print with, third the specifications. These features (and more) will play into the cost of the printer and what you will be able to achieve with it.
Features to compare:
2a. Printer size and build volume
3D printers come in a number of different sizes depending on the needs. The industrial 3D printer price can vary considerably based on build size. This means, when you want to get most out of your budget, you have to consider first your requirements about the build volume. The bigger the printer you need, the more you will pay for it. Of course if you have a need to print large objects and want to do so in an economical way, then a large volume industrial 3D printer that can print a large object in one process is always the best option. Also when you want to print large batches of smaller objects this is your best choice.
The storage of the 3d printer will also play a part in determining the cost. It could mean that you for example need a warehouse transporter or mobility system if you want to move the printer around.
2b. Printing Materials
An industrial 3D printer will enable you to print a with a wide range of print materials, also called filaments. This is where you need to consider what material you plan to use as that can have a detrimental effect on the cost. The materials that you print with will also determine the temperatures that you have to print with. Some materials require high temperatures while others need a lower temperature. This is why you need to think about the build platform (print bed) and extruder temperature, because this will enable you to deliver a successful print.
If you plan to use one material then you can opt for a basic Industrial 3D printer, which will mean that you can opt for a cheaper printer. If you want to print with a number of different materials then you will need to look at a printer with more functionalities, affecting the industrial 3D printer price. As described before there are a few features like a closed chamber and heated build platform which are required to be able to handle the more demanding filaments. The materials that are being used, mostly determine the costs of 3D printing. A lot of professional 3D printers can only print with their own brand of materials, obligating you to buy a particular brand. With 'open filament systems' you have more freedom and can choose your own preferred filament supplier.
2c. Specifications of the printer
There can be a number of differences between industrial 3D printers and this especially includes the specifications. Therefore, the better the specifications, the higher the industrial 3D printer price. The specifications could consider the printing speed you require. As faster the speed, the higher the industrial 3D printer price. And of course also the quality of the output counts. The higher the resolution, the more detailed your object will be. This is measured in microns, a high resolution of 10 microns is a layer thickness of 0,01 millimeters. The specifications could also consider the number of printing nozzles. If you will print with one material during a print job, then one nozzle will be fine. But if you want to print with more than one material during one print job, you will need more than a single extruder.
There are also some differences in specifications concerning the first layer adhesion. The first layer is the most important one. When the layer is uneven or the adhesion to the build plate is not sufficient, the whole 3D print can fail. To ensure a good first layer there are some handy features like automatic build platform compensation whereby the build plate is leveled automatically. Also a heated build platform will help as this will improve the adhesion of the layer. Don’t want to deal with glue or hair spray for sticking the prints to the bed? Then a PEI build plate is advisable as it requires no preparation in starting the 3D print. Of course all these features influence the industrial 3D printer price.
2d. Design and display
There is a difference in the design of 3D printers. Each 3D printer brand has its own look. Some printers have extra bells and whistles that are meant to please the eye. Of course, those printers that have a simpler design can cost a bit less while those that are well designed will cost more.
3D printers with a detailed touchscreens will have a higher price than printers with a basic LCD control panel. A screen can provide you a wide range of functionalities, among which the ability to control the machine directly and track print jobs.
2e. On-site installation
In the comparison with consumer 3D printers, we already described that if you assemble a printer yourself with a DIY-kit, it will save you money. That is why consumer 3D printers are simpler build. However with industrial 3D printers, often the manufacturer wants to make sure you can start 3D printing professionally after delivery. These printers are delivered fully assembled and ready to print by arrival.
When this is not possible, for example because of the large size of the printer and shipment restrictions, the manufacturer will normally offer a service of installation on location. An engineer of the manufacturer will take care of installing the printer on site. This often also includes a customer training to learn to operate the printer and the software.
2f. Software needs and connectivity
When 3D printing in an industrial environment, there is every chance that you will need the right software and connectivity solutions to carry out an effective job. Perhaps you require the 3D printer to be connected to a network or you want to connect via USB. Whatever the needs, connectivity is a crucial part of understanding what you require.
The right software will enable you to create print jobs to the highest of standards and share them with the printer. Check if the 3D printing software, for example Simplify3D, is included in the industrial 3D printer price. When you have created a design in for example AutoCAD or SolidWorks, you can save the design as STL file and import the model in the 3D printing software. After indicating the required settings (print material, resolution, etc.), you can save it as Gcode file and transfer it to the 3D printer.
2g. Support and service
Using a 3D printer is great when it works but if you have problems or need assistance with queries, having the support there when you need it provides peace of mind. That's why it is wise to check the support level by phone, email and/or live chat.
Paying for a higher level of support could be worth it if you are relatively new to 3D printing, but if you are happy to deal with any problems yourself then you could make savings. In some cases the purchase of an industrial 3D printer can also include a Service Level Agreement (for free). Besides the warranty this will provide extra services and other benefits during a certain period of time.
3. The industrial 3D printer price and calculating your ROI
Of course you have to consider all the advantages when you are thinking about investing in a professional 3D printer for prototyping and/or production. However, the main question is if it makes economic sense for your business. Let us help you with that calculation first and later sum up the rest of the advantages.
Calculating cost per part requires accounting for the costs of the machine, the materials and of course the labor. It’s helpful to understand the factors that influence each of these cost components so you can evaluate them against your other production methods.
3a. Fixed machine costs per part
The machine costs consist of all the costs related to buying and owning the machine. Hereby you can think of the consumer or industrial 3D printer price, installation costs and the cost of maintenance. These costs are fixed and will be made regardless of whether a machine stands still or produces many parts a week.
Obviously the more you produce, the less a single part will costs. You will see: an industrial 3D printer is not that expensive. Also because it has the capability to produce thousands of parts over their lifetime, the equipment ownership cost can become almost negligible.
Calculation fixed machine cost per part:
Industrial 3D printer price + service, installation and maintenance costs over the expected lifetime of the machine / number of parts you expect to produce in the lifetime of the machine.
3b. Variable material costs per part
As this is a relatively new technology that is gaining momentum, the material cost can still remain high. This is mainly the case for the very high temperature filaments like PEEK. However, the range of materials is growing and this makes it possible for the price to decrease over time. But, in the same way as the machine costs, in comparison to traditional methods, the overall cost is a lot lower.
Make sure to identify first what materials you’ll need to create the given parts, as the cost of materials are different. And, as said before, some industrial 3D printers only work with special materials, and thereby limit your options.
The materials you are going to use to create the parts are part of the variable costs. These costs are highly dependent on the number of parts you’re producing. Notice that you don’t have to calculate for waste as 3D printing in theory only uses the required amount of material to create a part.
Calculation variable material costs per part:
Amount of material that is needed for one part x the price of the material (filament spools).
3c. Variable labor costs production
Unlike traditional manufacturing where many different people may be required to operate a number of machines, or a production line is required to piece together the product, 3D printing removes this. A 3D printer only requires an operator to start the machine before it begins an automated process of creating the uploaded design.
This is only true when you have chosen a 3D printer that is optimized for ease of use, so regular maintenance or changing materials are not time-consuming tasks that require a skilled operator. Labor costs are significantly lower when there is no need for skilled machinists or operators to form part of the process.
As a rule of thumb: it takes us maximum of 15 minutes to start the 3D printer and take the finished object. Of course then there already is a good drawing.
Calculation variable production labor costs per part:
(Hourly rate of the operator / 60) x minutes it takes to start the 3D printing machine.
3d. Variable labor costs post-processing
Post-processing workflows vary by technology, but in most cases include removing supports or excess material and cleaning parts. This will take a short time. When you really want to produce end-parts this can take longer as the objects might need some polishing, priming, painting, etc. Of course you have to also take these labor costs into account when calculating the ROI. You also have to take into account if you need any special tools or equipment for the post-processing.
Calculation variable post-processing labor costs per part:
(Hourly rate of the operator / 60) x minutes it takes to finish the object
Calculating the ROI
The more you print the more value it will be worth. With implementing 3D printing, you can improve product development to be more time efficient and cost effective. 100 parts may not seem worth it, but it can have other advantages than costs to use 3D printing over traditional manufacturing. For instance because you need it for fast prototyping, you want to save time so you can go to market faster, you want to produce on demand or you want to protect your intellectual property.
3D printing eliminates the overhead manufacturing costs required for every part, for every design change. The same rainsensor used earlier has a tooling cost of $5,865 for an injection mold prototype. If any modifications are made to that design, that cost must be included with each design change. The price of a 3D printer you only need to pay once, while tooling and prototyping costs are required for every design. Those overhead costs combined with manufacturing lead time delay the product development cycle make the investment worth it.
Determining the value of a 3D printer in your industry can drastically improve your profit margins and eliminate overhead costs. It’s clear that any type of equipment in manufacturing technologies is an investment; resources like ROI can better justify the value of equipment, the cost of materials and the profit margin. With 3D printing, you are eliminating “routine” outsourcing costs and thereby can save time.
Fixed machine costs per part
Installation costs: €0,- (ready to print)
Maintenance costs: 2 extra print heads (€780,-) + labour costs (€614,25) = €1394,25
Years of accounting entry: 4
Expected number of parts per year: 2850
Expected output 3D printing machine in lifetime:
4 x 2850 = 11.400 parts
Calculation fixed machine cost per part:
(€2499,- + €1394,25) / 11.400 = €0,34 per part
Variable material costs per part
Price of material: €37,95 for 750 gram
Needed amount: 62 gram
Parts that can be produced from 1 spool of filament:
750 / 62 = 12 parts
Calculation variable material cost per part:
€37,95 / 12 = €3,16 per part
Variable labor cost production
Minutes of labor required production per batch of parts: 30 minutes
Parts in one batch: 12
Labor costs per hour: €12,29
Calculation variable labour cost per part production:
(€12,29 / 60) x 30 = €6,14 per batch
Calculation variable labour cost per part production:
€6,14 / 12 = €0,51 per part
Variable labor cost post-processing
Post-processing: adding 2 screws
Minutes of labor required post-processing per part: 1 minute
Labor costs per hour: €12,29
Calculation variable labour cost per part post-processing:
(€12,29 / 60) x 1 = €0,20 per part
Calculation of the ROI
Fixed costs: €0,34
Variable costs per part: €3,16 + €0,51 + €0,20 = €3,87
Total costs per part: €0,34 + €3,87 = €4,21
Costs of outsourcing per part: €11,46
Difference in price per part: €11,46 - €4,21 = €7,25
As you can see Exalto Wiper technologies earned their investment back in 9,4 weeks. In 4 years they will have saved €89.615,- by implementing 3D printing into their workflow.
“We’re able to make a part that would have cost €11,46 with 2,5 weeks lead time of machining from one of our local manufacturing partners. We can now 3D print it ourselves and the manufacturing floor likes it just as much, if not a little better…and they’re using it to this day,” says Ben Hart from Exalto Wiper Technologies. “I was amazed when I started doing the ROI calculation. We have seen a full return of 3D printing these parts in not even 10 weeks"
4. Other advantages of 3D printing
3D printing is a versatile solution for a wide range of applications. We’ve shorty summed up the advantages for you.
4a. Less time
Traditional methods can take weeks or months to go from the design stage to prototype stage, right through to the production process. What does it mean for your business when you can take products much earlier to the market?
4b. Less errors
During the traditional manufacturing process, faulty prototypes cost time and money. Even small adjustments have a significant financial impact. 3D printing allows you to ''fail'' faster and cheaper.
4c. Test the market
By developing a product that people can physically hold, you can remove any concerns or miscommunication. 3D printing makes it possible to develop products faster and creating prototypes more frequently. Until the product is perfected and ready for production, resulting in a successful product launch.
Another advantages of 3D printing is that third parties can not claim your innovations for themselves. Prototyping and manufacturing in-house with a 3D printer ensures that designs never leave the company premises, safeguarding your intellectual property.
e. On demand
Traditional methods relied on molds and cutting and this makes customizing a very time-consuming process. 3D printing is perfect for one-off productions and building single parts in one process. So production on demand and the ability to customize is there to take advantage of.
5. Tractus3D offers you the best industrial 3D printer price
Now you know why to choose for an industrial 3D printer and how to compare, we would like to inform you about our 3D printers. At Tractus3D, innovation and forward thinking leads the way. The market is already competitive for a number of reasons, but Tractus3D offers something that is different. Our industrial 3D printer are more advanced than others in the market, enabling businesses to achieve results that cannot be met by other 3D printer manufacturers. Also our printers are competitively priced, so you get value for money. This way we ensure that we continue to be one of the industry leaders.
Create small and detailed parts
With a 3D printer on your desk you can easily create small parts and specialized tools yourself. It is far less complex than other machines, which means that you can produce more products in an efficient and simple way without the high costs. The 3D printers in our desk-series have a fast printing speed, a high accuracy and a low weight, making it easy to put on your desktop or move around. Read more >>
Create strong and lightweight parts
High-performance materials, like PEEK and ULTEM® (PEI) are stronger and more resistant than other thermoplastics, making them popular in a number of engineering applications. To 3D print such materials, you need a special printer that can handle very high temperatures. The High Temperature printers are designed for 3D printing high performance thermoplastics, which are strong and durable for long-lasting parts. Read more >>
Create large parts up to 2,1 meters
The ability to use 3D printing to enhance business operations, reduce costs and improve efficiency is exactly why a 3D printer has become a popular solution. If you’re looking for a way to produce detailed and big objects our large volume 3D printers are an excellent choice. They have a much larger build size than most other industrial 3D printers and can print objects fast at high resolution. Read more >>