As well as revenue from the sale of printers and consumables, 3D printing offers scope for sales of multiple accessories, from uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) to print management software. US company Battery Backup
Power says that UPSs are essential protection for 3D printers that can take hours to complete a job, as any interruption or interference to the power supply could result in defects to the print or damage to the printer itself.
It says that conventional UPSs are unlikely to provide the durability and capacity required by a 3D printer. Instead, it recommends systems that pack more batteries for longer run times, have higher load capacities, pure sine wave output (not usually found in less expensive UPS systems), direct USB communication with certain professional 3D printers, metal enclosures and other attributes designed to keep a 3D printer running smoothly.
Arron Fu of enterprise printing software solutions provider Uniprint points out that although prices will have to fall significantly before 3D printers become standard office issue, when they do IT will be responsible for making sure usage is managed responsibly and billed accurately, and that means implementing the same technologies already used to manage 2D printing.
“With the most sensitive development projects likely to reach 3D prototype printing first, secure 3D printing should be considered now if companies wish to protect IP from the outset. This will have to involve the use of a secure area attached to the printer with a print appliance attached that will verify employee ID access codes and provide true follow me secure printing,” he said.