Moving from computer-aided design into production with advanced all-in-one machines will create great new opportunities for additive manufacturing.
- The rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity;
- The analytics and business-intelligence capabilities;
- The human-machine interaction; and
- The improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world.
Taken together, they will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen.
One of the pillars of this revolution is additive manufacturing (AM), also referred to as 3D printing. AM is already used to make some niche items, such as medical implants, and to produce plastic prototypes for engineers and designers. While 3D printing for consumers and small entrepreneurs has received a great deal of publicity, it is within manufacturing that the technology could have its most significant and lasting commercial impact.