The business world is on the verge of revolutionary technological change with the advent of 3D printing. Despite the naysayers, more businesses are taking a serious look at the slew of advantages 3D printing will likely bring. Here’s how 3D printing can change the face of consumerism forever.
Printing the Future
Businesses and consumers are printing for less and finding this innovation to save time and money. As 2D printing initially came with a hefty price tag, 3D printers are following the same monetary trajectory: starting high and slowly decreasing in cash value over the years. By 2016, enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for less than $2,000, according to Gartner.com. And just as home 2D inkjet technology (along with digital media) all but relegated the printing press, 3D printers seem set to overtake traditional manufacturing as we know it. Even though 3D printers seems promising, there are plenty of doubters who believe that the trend won’t cause a revolution but merely a minor industrial influence.
Business & Consumer
Should 3D printing become a more cost effective method of manufacturing—and 3D printers become a household item—businesses could opt out of the manufacturing process altogether. Business2Community.com suggests that customers would purchase the business product online and print it out at home. With 3D printing, businesses can also create a base product and boast its ability for limitless customization options for consumers. Forbes.com predicts that product innovation will move at an accelerated pace due to 3D printing. It will reduce production times everywhere from the automotive industry to household appliances thus enabling designers to move from prototype to finished product at breakneck speed.
3D Printing Applications
Printed products are already a reality. SmartPlanet.com says shoe companies like Nike and New Balance have taken advantage of the technology to print and customize parts of their shoes. 3D printing should be on all entrepreneurs’ radar. “Businesses must continuously monitor advances to identify where improvements can be leveraged,” Gartner research director, Pete Basiliere, has stated on Gartner.com. The process of 3D printing is applicable to nearly every field and is only limited by the designer’s imagination. The Gartner report stated, “Early adopters can experiment with 3D printers with minimal risk of capital or time, possibly gaining an advantage in product design and time to market over their competition, as well as understanding the realistic material costs and time to build parts.” The report continued to state that 3D printing applications will expand commercially into engineering, architectural and geospatial industries. A Forbes.com article states that 3D printing will eventually be able to manufacture soft tissue organs and other body parts. It’s currently used today in printing prosthetic limbs, orthodontic devices and titanium bone implants. The Forbes article also predicts the advent of 3D print shops at the mall where retailers “ship” the design, not the product for customer pickup.
Author: Cecelia Perez CeCi loves living the big city life in San Diego and being a freelance writer.