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Industry Insights| As 3D Printer Soars CTA Requests Tariff Exemptions for 3D Printers, Robots and More

Under the circumstances of COVID-19, 3D printing has played an important role in helping make 3D printed ventilators, 3D printed face masks, 3D printed protective goggles, which greatly mitigates the medical supply shortage confronted by the whole community. The United States Trade Representative Office (USTR), thus, has made certain exemptions for imported ventilators, oxygen masks, and nebulizers. Now, the tariff-exemption product category is extending to more, including 3D printers, robots, drones, and elevators.
 
The CTA is a trade association in the U.S. that represents the country’s $422 billion consumer technology industry, which supports more than 18 million U.S. jobs. The CTA and other industry groups wrote a series of letters to the USTR, explaining what an important role those above-mentioned technologies have played in managing the COVID-19 outbreak across the United States.
 
The lines in the letters that CTA wrote to the USTR read, “These tariffs are not only a barrier to the entry of necessary products, but they are also a tax on businesses and consumers that have become ever more harmful as many enter ‘survival modes’.”
 
The 3D printing industry has been a major contributor to this coronavirus innovation streak with products such as ventilator parts, protective face shields, and nasopharyngeal testing swabs. Many companies, organizations, and individuals gathered together to leverage 3D printing to produce supplies for local hospitals and healthcare centers. For instance, Creality, a Chinese 3D printer manufacturer based in Shenzhen, has been utilizing 100 3D printers in making thousands of pieces of 3D printed face mask buckles for hospitals in Shenzhen and Wuhan. Compared to the traditional mass production method, 3D printing is capable of producing large batches of equipment in a short period of time anywhere.
 
Though the USTR has yet to issue an official response to exemptions for products “relevant to the medical response to the coronavirus,” there is supposed to be some possibility of making it come true.
 
Advantages of 3D Printing to be Tariff-Exemption
As an additive in mass manufacturing, 3D printing will greatly improve business flexibility, allowing manufacturers and individuals to increase their ability to quickly respond to the possible crises. 
 
1. Cost-effectiveness
In contrast to the traditional prototyping methods like CNC machining and injection molding, 3D printing is much more a cost-effective manufacturing process, which only requires only 1 or 2 machines and fewer operators to manufacture the needed parts. Besides, there is far less waste material because the part is built from the ground up, not carved out of a solid block as it is in subtractive manufacturing and usually does not require additional tooling.
 
2. Flexibility
In 3D printing, the design is fed into slicer software, needed supports added, and then printed with little or no change at all in the physical machinery or equipment. 3D printing allows any user, even those with limited CAD experience, to edit designs however they like, creating unique, customized new parts. This also means any given design can be manufactured in a wide range of different materials.
 
3. Quality
Traditional manufacturing methods can result in poor layouts, as a result, of low quality models. Picture baking a cake, where all the ingredients are integrated and mixed with each other, then put in the stove to bake. The cake would have problems like air bubbles or fail to bake extensively if it happens the components were not blended well. The very same can accompany subtractive or injection techniques; top quality is not constantly assured. The nature of 3D printing permits the detailed set up of the component or item, which guarantees the improvement of the design as well as far better high-quality parts/products.
 

4. Accessibility

3D printing systems are a lot more easily accessible and can be made use of by a much bigger series of people than conventional production setups. In contrast to the enormous cost included with establishing conventional production systems, a 3D printing arrangement prices much less. Likewise, 3D printing is almost completely automated, needing little to no additional employees to run, monitor, as well as keep the machine, making it a lot more obtainable than other making systems by a good margin.
 
5. Sustainability
With 3D printing, fewer components require contracting out for manufacturing. This amounts to less ecological influence because fewer things are being shipped around the world as well as there is no need to run as well as preserve an energy-consuming factory.3D printing develops a whole lot less waste material for a solitary part plus products made use of in 3D printing generally are recyclable.
 
Current Situation of 3D Printing and Market Trends
Early on Feb. 25th, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China (MIIT) issued the Guiding Opinions on the Orderly Promotion of the Resumption of work and Production of Industrial Communication Enterprises, giving priority to developing strategic emerging industries such as 5G, industrial Internet, integrated circuits, industrial robots, additive manufacturing, and more.
 
According to the data released by the Guangdong Bureau of Statistics, the 3D printing industry is bucking the trend and showing a strong impetus, with the total output increased by 131.2%. On Google Trends, the search volume of the 3D printer has got a great surge during the last 90 days, especially during March. In March and April, Creality achieved the sales volume of over 200,000 pieces. It is believed that 3D printer will continue