3D printing in one form or another has been around for 30 years. But only recently has it become a financially feasible option (and caused controversy since a gun was recently produced).
This technology is now being put to widespread use, and in 2012 reached $2.2B in sales and services worldwide. This is expected to triple by 2019.
Imagine downloading a design and creating a form that is layer upon layer of plastic and other raw materials, right in your home or office! You can now create anything from toys to prosthetics to cars. Watch out Detroit! The Urbee 2 only weighs 1,200 lbs and needs very little labor to assemble. (To me it still feels like a Lego car and I don’t think I would be on the winning end of an accident…)
This technology will have a dramatic impact on business and industry, and will help shorten (and in some cases, eliminate) supply chains and assembly lines, and put many traditional printers and smaller manufacturers and companies out of business.
Missing a plastic connector doohickey? Fire up the printer and voila! Going to the beach and need a pail and shovel for the kids? Not a problem. Boggles the mind and the possibilities are very exciting. You can’t pick one of these printers at Staples yet… but probably very soon.
How can your industry evolve and use this printing process to stay ahead? What new industries will the amateurs/entrepreneurs create? At SFA, we’re looking into ways to make 3D technology work for ourselves and our clients.
Just a few things to think about, but right now I’m printing out some utensils so I can eat my lunch.