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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Is 3D printing the future of manufacturing?

    Yes, but not because youíll have a 3D printer at home.

    It is actually because the costs of additive manufacturing inputs are changing. Transportation costs have fallen all through the Industrial Revolution. When transportation was poor everything was made locally. As transportation improved, regional sourcing and distribution became possible. But manufacturing still needed energy sources, which initially meant locating mills on waterfalls. But steam power allowed factories to get power anywhere there was water and fuel. Manufacturing costs were lower if you located close to raw materials, leading to regional manufacturing. The advent of the assembly line made more complex products possible, but now you needed to be near a skilled work force. Manufacturing was still regional, but near urban centers rather than remote mining locations. Containerization and better logistics made overseas manufacturing cost effect, and as tariffs disappeared, globalization occurred.

    But now we are starting to tax carbon emissions and transportation costs are going up, and so is urban retail space rents and energy increasing inventory carrying cost. And now increasing tarris are also being threatened. But thanks to robots and automation, labor cost components are disappearing, and the economic cost differential between mass production with global shipping and inventory everywhere vs. on demand single unit production near point of sale are shifting in favor of local production.

    Simple, small and single material products, that benefit most from personalization and customization will be the first to experience this shift.

    The changing cost of manufacturing inputs will not only dramatically shift more and more manufacturing from global mass production to local single unit production over time, but these economic forces on manufacturing and inventory will be part of what changes the nature of brick and mortar retailing ó as personalization and personal service that produce custom items on demand (which online canít do without your personal geometries) become the dominant differentiator for surviving retail stores, as opposed to breadth of inventory on hand which drove the rise and recent fall of the neighborhood department store.

    3D printing is heavily transforming many sectors of our life. The range of 3D-printing influence covers consumer goods production, dental prosthetics, motor vehicles and different medical services.

    3D printing allows building solid-state models of different shapes and sizes, using any material you like. Where does that get us? Letís see, what we can 3D-print and where it is applicable.

    3d printed Medical models of different body parts or organs → healthcare industry, medical research, education;
    3d printed Architectural models, maquettes → construction industry, exterior and interior design;
    Automotive components → motor-vehicle construction and engineering;
    Virtually any consumer, household and fashion goods. 3d printing chennai bengaluru kolkata delhi mumbai india

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