3D Printing on the Horizon: Can You Spot the Trend?
Peter Goldmark is a former budget director of New York State and former publisher of the International Herald Tribune, headed the climate program at the Environmental Defense Fund. Mr. Goldmark weighs in on the 3D printing movement on Long Island Newsday.
It’s hard to spot a trend before it happens, and trends in technology are harder to decipher and predict than eating habits. But on our horizon is one powerful new technology, still in its birth pangs, that will revolutionize large parts of our production economy. It’s called 3D printing. It’s just starting to be talked about more in the media now; I learned about it from a friend who is advising one of the young companies in the field. Enthusiasts say this is coming at us like a freight train — but, in its early days, it looks very hard to me to tell how fast this train is moving.
He sees the implications as revolutionary as we do.
Think of where this may ultimately lead. What happens to the factory or the assembly line? What happens to the comparative advantage of China and other emerging countries where cheap labor and manufacturing underpin their entire economies? What happens to manufacturing jobs period, in any country, if all a computer operator has to do is input the specs of the desired item to a 3D replicator?
3D printing will spell the end of inventory as we know it. And at the most basic level, it will change the meaning and operation of that most fundamental law of business: economies of scale.
It’s not too early for Walmart, or the Teamsters, to start worrying.
Here’s a video showing the latest in 3D printing.
Read the full post at Newsday.
Trend commandments photo by Michael Covel used under Creative Commons license.