When 3D printing technology was first created, it was used mainly for rapid prototyping, which in turn was developed to help companies significantly reduce their lead-time in developing products. Whether a company needs to test a part they plan on ordering, or they are still in the concept stages and want to see an innovative design in 3D, rapid prototyping helps move a product more quickly to the next step of the manufacturing process.
Lead-time can be any length, from about two weeks to six months or longer, but the longer your lead-time is, the higher your expenses generally are. By ordering rapid 3D prototypes for your proposed products at different stages of planning and testing, you are able to better communicate what you envision and test for flaws in your design. With a shorter lead-time, you save money and get your product to market, faster and with fewer flaws.