When creating a mold for a new product, it generally requires 6-8 weeks to complete. This is 6-8 weeks that a company is waiting to move forward. Then once the mold is complete it can take several weeks of verification to ensure that the parts that mold is making are viable.
Contrast this is Production 3D printing. It requires less than 1 week to prepare a part for production and have a sample for verification. Then parts can be produced at a rate of thousands per week. (And though the rate of production for additive manufacturing is a bit slower, its Just-in-time capabilities saves warehousing and lost inventory costs).
How can production additive manufacturing be considered "slower" when weeks are saved during design and setup.
Let's actually see where the break-even for Time is with Injection molding and production 3D printing.
There is also the component of Design Time. With 6 weeks for a mold to be created it is 6 weeks before a design can be verified for production. If there is an error in the design then the process has to start over from scratch.
With additive manufacturing a simple design change can be implemented within days. And during production, it can be implemented within hours. This is simply not possible for injection molding.
Additive manufacturing is often considered a slow process when compared to other production processes. On a time of part per machine basis that might be true. But when so much time is saved during design and setup, additive manufacturing starts to look faster than injection molding. Would you rather have part in the warehouse within 2 weeks or within 10 weeks?