The article “3D printing and the Future of Manufacturing” (http://www.industryweek.com/emerging-technologies/3d-printing-and-future-manufacturing-infographic) is an infographic that breaches the norm of 3D printing discussions. Instead of talking about how 3D printing could influence the industrial manufacturing industry, this article focuses another potential user; the non-industrial consumer. As stated in the article “Today, almost anyone can become a manufacturer or contribute to the manufacturing process.” “If applied correctly, that point might be the biggest business opportunity presented by the technology to date.” The article displays ten major characteristics of 3D printing, three of which will be discussed today.
- The range of materials is exploding: 3D printing is no longer limited to plastics or the recently added metals, but can now be incorporated with ceramics, concrete, food, and other biological substances, among others. This opens the 3D printing market to virtually every business today.
- New major players: As stated above, almost anyone can become a manufacturer or contribute to the manufacturing process. The possibilities are endless.
- The consumer possibilities are also endless: 3D printing enables customization at no additional costs, giving a sustainable solution to the “thirst” of personalization.
These three main points, along with many other aspects and benefits of 3D printing, create the perfect storm for 3D printing to flourish. As the technology grows and improves, the impact of 3D printing will only continue to grow.