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Why the Metal Construction Industry Needs 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Now

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

By Thomas Belichik  |  Submitted On February 10, 2016

I know in the past I've stated that the metal construction industry lacks innovation and most people in the industry have agreed with me while the comfortable ones have lauded me. What does that tell you? From my perspective it seems that many of the past innovators of the industry have become comfortable or complacent. You know what happens when that behavior sets in right? Well, I think they are about to get that much needed push to start innovating again or they may be out of business. Now this won't happen in the next few years or anything like that, but within the next 5-7 years they might have a problem. However, if the innovators of the industry want to move forward then it is time to start looking at 3D Construction printing and additive manufacturing. There are many snow retention, clamps, clips and brackets manufacturers at construction trade shows so let's use these companies as examples. What if I said I could print these products on my printer at home? Or what if I was a manufacturer that could print these and send them out to my contractors? You wouldn't believe me, right. Well, consider this there is a company out there producing metal pieces with a 3D metal printer. I'm not going to tell you who it is either, it's a perfect example of innovation. So now think about the manufacturers who have potential products that could be printed on a printer and how their business will change or no longer exist. Ah ha, did you figure it out yet? Well, here is what potentially could happen based on those facts, manufacturers could start investing in their own products specifically to design ways to print them or even better sell the files so that contractors/customers have the ability to print them at their site. Ultimately, this leads to lower production costs and manufacturers are still protecting their intellectual property. I would even argue that this may increase their sales. Imagine ordering some clamps and brackets from S-5! in file format where you print them at the job site or at home? Now that would be easy right? If you're the manufacturer you've now decreased overhead costs associated with production, material, and shipping to name a few. We all know that decreasing costs increases your gross profit margin so obviously innovation is winning again. If our leading (past) innovators of the metal construction industry are smart then they need to invest in this area now to get ahead of the competition. The competition isn't necessarily other companies in the industry anymore. The competition becomes those 3D printers that are looking to move into the market on a horizontal level. 3D printers and additive manufacturing will become so big that large scale changes will need to be made to metal construction industry companies. You can believe me or not on this subject, but there is no questioning the lack of innovation within our industry, It's time for change will you start now? It is your choice ultimately to become a leading innovator again versus being complacent or as many have said, "being comfortable."

*If you are a 3D printing or additive manufacturing company and would like to exhibit at METALCON, submit an inquiry by going to


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