3D printing is arguably the most interesting, useful and potentially disruptive of the exciting array of technologies gradually becoming available. Its claim to being disruptive is a potent one: Supply chains are predicated on the idea of getting the parts and eventually the finished products from here to there. Indeed, moving things around pervades the process.
3D printing changes that dynamic radically. In some cases, it eliminates the geographical element. The supply chain becomes less of a chain.
3D printing is showing no signs of slowing down. Indeed, it is growing radically. This week, Wohlers Associates released the twenty-first edition of its market assessment. The category had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.9 percent last year. Its worldwide category finished the year with a value of $5.165 billion. The three-year CAGR was 33.8 percent. Perhaps the most impressive figure was the 27-year CAGR: 26.2 percent. That’s a long time to sustain yearly growth of a quarter.