3D printing finds its place in the supply chain

In a 2016 “Logistics Trend Radar” article, DHL identified 3D printing as a major disruptive trend impacting logistics, due to the technology’s potential to “create instant production and distribution models.”

3D printer creating plastic parts

With just a single 3D printer, companies and consumers can:

  • Cut out steps in the design, prototyping, and manufacturing process
  • Improve delivery time
  • Reduce logistics and production costs
  • Enhance efficiency with greater sustainability

Today, 3D printing is already being used in a number of ways. Here are some of the companies and industries currently making use of this versatile technology:

  • Normal Earphones prints custom-fit headphones, which are designed by analyzing pictures of each customer’s ears.
  • NextDent personalizes dental crowns after performing a 3D scan of the teeth.
  • Medical professionals can now create inexpensive prosthetic hands.
  • Several manufacturers can customize shoe sole inserts based on foot scans.
  • Local Motors has designed the world’s first 3D-printed electric car.

Applications of the technology abound. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s also earning its place within the supply chain.

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