Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How 3D Printing can change the world of Manufacturing, dynamics of the industry and economy

3D printing is one of the most discussed innovations of 21st Century. From theoretical idea to first successful working 3D printer took 30 years to take birth. We are a about to enter a printed economy where 3D printing will have a major role in manufacturing and changing the industry dynamics. Up to now, 3D printing has been most useful in creating prototypes.

Some commercialized version of 3D printer is also available in the market. Price of 3d Printer is gradually coming down.  From the automotive to the electronics and toy industries, 3D printers will increasingly produce critical parts and finished products.
The major manufacturing domains where 3D printer would have serious impact are as follows:
Food: Food products such as chocolates that are having specific shapes can be 3D printed. Anything that can exist in liquid or powder form can be printed such as sugar, cheese, sauces, and others. A meal comprising of pizza, an eggplant dish, corn pasta, and panna cotta was recently 3D printed for The New York Times.
Automotive: 3D printing will have the capability to manufacture specific parts and may be the whole car gradually. High-end, specialty cars that have relatively small production runs such as sports cars would revolutionize this industry. It will be free from manual errors. Bentley is one company that has already demonstrated the feasibility of using 3D printing for small, complex parts. Car seats will, helmets for bikers can be customized for people in this 3D printing.

3D-printed three-wheel, two-passenger vehicle. (Photo courtesy of Sara Payne)
Medicine: Medical solutions can be customized for individual patients. Any simple soft-tissue organ such as an ear, finger, or kidney can be 3D produced and will soon be widely used. Metal hip implants, skull implants, orthopedic insoles, body braces, and jaw transplants have already been manufactured on 3D printers. Even animals are able to survive with artificial limbs. To conclude 3D Printing can transform the health care industry.
Dudley the duck and his 3D printed prosthetic leg
Military: Machines for the military are complex and produced in relatively low volumes.  Production of custom or replacement parts is possible via 3D printing.  Instant production of replacement parts on-site in remote locations through 3D printing. The gun has been made already.
Textile Industry: Any custom designer garments could be made in the textile industry and 3d printing will be able to change the manufacturing process of the industry.
Film Industry: 3d printing usage is being used in the Film industry as well. It was first introduced in the Pacific Rim movie. 
Take a look at this interesting video:
Electronics: Optimal shape, error free electronic staffs are possible via 3D printing. 3D printing is ideal for the complex geometric features needed in small, compact electronic circuit boards that use multiple materials ranging from low conductivity plastics to high conductivity metal materials. A team of researchers from Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has already fabricated tiny batteries using 3D printing. The batteries can power insect-sized robots and hundreds of other minuscule devices.
Jewelry: Jewelers are going to abandon traditional manufacturing processes and use 3D printing to create custom, limited-edition chains and necklaces. Customization according to customer request on demand is possible in 3D printing.
Toys: Inexpensive consumer 3D printers at least 10 times cheaper than ones that exist today and open-source 3D design will change the toy industry.  It may be even better such as children might be able to download 3D design files for the toys they want, modify and customize them as they wish, and then 3D manufacture them in their homes.
These examples indicate that 3D printing will transform the manufacturing industry we have seen till now. It has the potential to meet the needs of people across the globe. 3D printing is set to disrupt multiple industries in the cross section of three things which are the Internet of Things, our growing desire to personalize our things, and the coming revolution in the way things get delivered to us.
3D Printing is actually driving down the many difficulties which we see in traditional manufacturing and changing the way we think:
Upsell opportunities
3D print designers will be able to offer free or low-cost templates, monetizing advanced features, support, custom design solutions,
Lower production, distribution friction
3D printing could also overcome production and distribution hurdles to lower the go-to-market cost on a wide range of everyday products. 
Avoidance of big packages and the delivery cost:
Just with the design made by good designers seating at some other part of the world, the 3D printing could be done as close to customer as possible to avoid shipping bg package and reduce the delivery costs.
This was a profitable industry is being born. That is why gradually it will be changing not only the manufacturing industry but also the world economy.

1 comment:

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