Revolutionary or hype? Not since pre-recession have we seen such an opportunity for manufacturing technologies. Driven by multiple needs such as rapid prototype development, cost and waste reduction, on site customization, double digit growth is expected for the 3D printing and additive manufacturing market across multiple industries.
Perform an internet search for 3D printing and you will see a dazzling array of products from ornamental gnomes to medical prosthetics. Like Frenzy’s in the past, manufacturers of 3D printing and venture capital investment seem to be popping up overnight and hitting media of all sorts.
Information Resources, is actively researching this market and is a leading source of information for those seeking to separate the media hype vs. the technological revolution in front of us.
First, let’s squash the myth that 3D printing is going to pull the rug out from under and turn the world of traditional manufacturing upside down replacing all with 3D printers. This simply is not true. What does remain true is that now designers can finally create beyond traditional manufacturing methods. Those who are in the engineering community are familiar with the term Design for Manufacture (DMF). DMF is the guiding principle of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture.
With the rise of 3D printing designers are able to break the barriers of DMF and generate products, never designed before. With the 3D printing you can build things with complex geometries. Complex geometries can exist in a piece of jewelry and also a space craft. This is the beginning of rising past the hype.
Second is to separate out the consumer and business applications. 3D printing is a strong reality beyond prototyping in the medical community. Hearing aids and orthodontic aligners are two examples where 3D printing are mainstream manufacturing methods. Consumer applications such as phone cases and figurines are yet to be identified as market makers. Join us in rising above the noise in understanding the realities of this truly revolutionary technology.
We welcome your opinions. Please let us know what you think in the comments or visit Information Resources to learn more about their upcoming global demand analysis for 3D printing.