11 January 2017
From retail goods to medical implants and even food, 3D printing technology promises to change the way we think about everyday things. It is difficult to predict what impact it will have on manufacturing but whatever the precise effects, they are likely to be deep and permanent.
Also known as “additive manufacturing”, 3D printing refers to processes where an object is put together by layering materials under programmed commands. Objects can be of almost any shape or geometry and are produced from digital model data or other electronic data sources, such as an Additive Manufacturing File.
The advent of 3D printing opens the way for manufacturers to significantly reduce the production cost of their goods by eliminating many steps in the manufacturing process, such as casting and welding metal. It also reduces the complete production process to no more than three to four key players.
With 3D printing, what would have initially been a series of stages of production could be cut down to a designer at one end, and the printer or “manufacturer” at the other. The middle players would most likely be suppliers of raw materials or “ink”.
… This article first appeared in The Conversation. The authors, Christopher H Lim, Senior Fellow in Science, Technology and Economics and Tarama Nair, Research Fellow in Non-Traditional Security Studies are from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University. Read the original report here.
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Last updated on 13/01/2017