An Eye to the Future

In the article “An eye to the Future – Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing of Bespoke Eyewear”(http://www.paconsulting.com/our-experience/additive-manufacturing-3d-printing-bespoke-eyewear/), the boundaries and potential of 3D printing are explored. The article starts specifically reviewing the spectacle industry and then delves into its reach into other markets. While the manufacturing hasn’t changed in over 50 years, recent developments in additive manufacturing are making a push from “a prototyping tool to the manufacture of low volume production items for products as diverse as aircraft parts and cookie cutters.” As a test, PA, a spectacle company, set up a design team at the 2014 London Design Festival’s TENT exhibition. In the shop of the future, the user would scan their face, let the software work out the optimal fit .The final product could then be printed to the customer’s specifications. This stand “demonstrated how existing, affordable cutting-edge technologies such as digital FDM 3D printing can already be used to create unique ranges of highly personalized fashion products.” To finish, the article also lists other diverse market items that smart manufacturing is being used in. These vary from medical injectors to an ‘ecoMeter’ in home display. With this information however, several questions are raised. Does a company need different 3D printers to successfully manufacture different products? Are skilled workers needed to manufacture each specific item? Will 3D printing increase the amount of jobs in the working force?

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