Tag Archives: global
Arvind Singhal writes an opinion piece for called “The nation must focus on transformational changes around us“, highlighting 3D printing as one of a few changes that will transform the world we know today:
One of the most potentially impactful of these changes is the rapid progress a relatively new technology ’3D printing’ is making. Till a few years ago, 3D printing-based manufacturing was in the realm of a technology that could have applications mostly for defence and industrial prototyping applications.
They have already moved into the realm of mass consumer applications. The possibilities are fascinating and range from printing human organs including complex ones such as kidneys using the recipient’s own body cells, to the elimination of several types of manufacturing with the end consumers directly ‘printing’ at their home things like crockery and cutlery or small home appliances after they have electronically paid for the ‘application’ to the designer and creator of the products.
With dramatic reduction or near elimination of labour from many manufacturing processes the implications are mind-boggling.
The other transformational changes are: the digital age, nanotechnology, and biomedical engineering.
Churchill Club photo from jurvetson used under Creative Commons license.
The Economist has published an in-depth special report on 3D printing and the macro-economic impact this technology will have on our global supply chain. The introduction of this report reads:
The first industrial revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century, with the mechanisation of the textile industry. Tasks previously done laboriously by hand in hundreds of weavers’ cottages were brought together in a single cotton mill, and the factory was born. The second industrial revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production. The first two industrial revolutions made people richer and more urban. Now a third revolution is under way. Manufacturing is going digital. As this week’s special report argues, this could change not just business, but much else besides.
The report features include:
- A third industrial revolution
- Back to making stuff
- The boomerang effect
- Forging ahead
- Solid print
- Layer by layer
- All together now
- Making the future
Be sure to read all of this great analysis by The Economist.
$3.1 billion by 2016 and $5.2 billion by 2020 — those are the estimates made by Forbes for the size of the emerging 3D printing industry.
Given that the field is nearly 30 years old, it looks like 3D printing is finally ready to hit an inflection point.
Forbes cites a quote from research by industry guru Terry Wohlers:
“Low-cost 3D printers affect both the professional and consumer markets. The increased sale of these machines over the past few years has taken additive manufacturing (AM) mainstream more than any other single development. 3D printers have helped spread the technology and made it more accessible to students, researchers, do-it-yourself enthusiasts, hobbyists, inventors, and entrepreneurs.”
But hobbyists and researchers are clearly not the only sources of growth. Here are some other examples:
- Medical: Dental practices are employing 3D printing to construct perfect-fit crowns in tooth repair procedures.
- Mechanical engineering: CAD models can now be edited in your web browser, untethering expert designers from their desks and expensive software.
- Global: Consumers in the US and Europe are buying 3D printed goods based on designs created by individuals in China, South Africa and India.
Will 3D printing grow from a quaint hobby to a $5 billion market in 8 years? Most certainly.