The idea of the sharing economy has gained momentum in recent years, thanks to the success of brands like Uber and Airbnb. Both have generated impressive profits by adopting a collaborative approach to business; collectively, the companies are worth more than $75 billion. But while this mainstream success made the sharing economy a go-to business innovation tool, it can be said that supply chain is the original champion of collaborative working. Supply chain professionals are well-versed in managing an extensive network of partners in which each company works independently to deliver a final product. But the next step in the supply chain sharing economy is within co-managed collaboration, which will see partners share resources and strengths more broadly rather than in a linear fashion.
3D printing has been the stuff of Geeks and Makers Faires for quite a while. However, the application of 3D printing technology at the business level, particularly in manufacturing, is quickly emerging as the place where the real promise lies at least in the near future.
“Factors such as 3D printing evolving from developing prototypes to end-user products, mass customization, production of complex parts, government investments in 3D printing projects, and improvements in manufacturing efficiency are expected to drive the growth of the 3D printing market,” according to a new market research report 3D Printing Market from MarketsandMarkets.
North America is expected to account for the largest share of the market, with a variety of business verticals leveraging the technology to do anything from creating prototypes to manufacturing enduser products.
The aviation trade is facing a dilemma as passenger demand for flights goes through the roof while customers increasingly demand more for less from airlines.
In 2016 alone there are expected to be more than 3.7 billion people boarding flights around the world. As a result,has predicted that accommodating the huge increase in passengers and cargo will require 38,050 new airplanes in the next 20 years, at the cost of $5.6 trillion.
Canada is on the verge of a manufacturing renaissance as 3D printing technology is spurring a wave of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation amongst manufacturers—large and small—across the country. Canadian manufacturers who haven’t investigated commercial 3D printing solutions should take note.
In the past, 3D printing has been used primarily for producing detailed prototypes. But new systems have come along capable of making superior quality functional parts up to 10 times faster at half the cost of previous generation 3D printers.
There’s a massive, untapped opportunity in the industrial 3D printing market. As the technology gets better, while costs go down, the solutions available are becoming a more attractive option for manufacturers looking to design and produce prototypes and finished goods.
Do you know your rights when it comes to 3D printing and design?
In Legal Aspects of Protecting Intellectual Property in Additive Manufacturing, authors Brown, Yampolskiy, Gatlin and Andel, from the School of Computing at the University of South Alabama, examine this topic at from four different stages of the design process: the blueprint; the print process; a finished object; and the embellishments to the object’s design.
The authors reach the conclusion that ‘Until sufficient deterrents are in place to render Internet piracy manageable, federal protections will be insufficient to deter many forms infringement’. This issue is by no means unique to the digital design files in the 3D printing industry with online theft, from music to movies an issue already faced by these industries. The question is whether the 3D printing industry will learn from the lessons in the music and movie business.
Imagine that you had invented a thingamajig that was widely recognized to be of high quality and very useful. Soon, everyone was buying one and your hard-earned investment was paying off. The, suddenly or slowly, purchases started to drop and the money was only come in dribs and drabs. You’d reached the dreaded saturation point at which everyone who needed your fantastic thingamajig already had one and, since you had created something with such high quality, the only people who ever purchased another were those who had lost it somehow. At this point you have to invent something else that everybody is going to need if you want to continue to make money.
If, however, your invented doohickey had in it a joint that weakened and broke after 200 uses or if the outer covering of it could be redesigned to make the old one look so unfashionable as to be embarrassing, why you’d be back in business. The idea of planning for future failure, or engineering need for continuing purchases into a design, is termed planned obsolescence and was popularized as a concept in the 1950s by Brooks Steven.
DHL released its latest DHL Trend Report today – 3D Printing and the Future of Supply Chains. DHL has been testing a variety of both 3D printing hardware and techniques for several years and has identified applications that have potential to redefine manufacturing and supply chain strategies. While the 3D printing market is estimated to grow between US$180 billion and US$490 billion by 20251, the report however finds it will not become a substitute for mass-production but a complementary process.
Matthias Heutger, Senior Vice President, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, said: “The DHL Trend Report ‘3D Printing and the Future of Supply Chains’ recognizes 3D printing as a transformative technology. However, it is not a magic bullet that will render factory mass production and manufacturing obsolete. Its exciting potential lies more in its capability to simplify the production of highly complex and customizable products and spare parts – and this could bring logistics and manufacturing closer together than ever before.”
DHL, part of Deutsche Post, has just released its newest DHL Trend Report, entitled “3D Printing and the Future of Supply Chains.” The report, while offering an in-depth look at how 3D printing technologies will play a part in manufacturing and supply chain processes, is also a bit of a call down to earth for those toting the revolutionary potentials of additive manufacturing technology. That is, while 3D printing technologies and applications are undeniably growing and advancing, DHL suggests that additive manufacturing will not fully replace existing manufacturing methods (especially for mass production) but will be used more as a complementary process.
DHL, which has been working with 3D printing for years and has initiated pop-up 3D printing shops, has stated in its latest report that despite a projected growth to $180 billion to $490 billion by 2025, the 3D printing market will remain a complementary manufacturing process, used primarily for producing customized and small-batch complex parts rather than being adopted for mass manufacturing.
When a new manufacturing method like 3D printing becomes widely commercially viable, it breaks down barriers to market entry for thousands, if not millions of companies. TCT’s pages are full of stories of businesses that owe their success to semi- or fully automated additive manufacturing (AM). Innovative companies enjoy reduced costs for shipment of their creations to markets far and wide. Many other players also use AM to operate on the back of others’ creations.
Websites allowing sharing of CAD designs of physical objects are particularly popular, giving individuals or companies that already have access to AM devices all they need to “print” their own copies of others’ products and creations. Sharing CAD files and creating associated objects in this manner can of course allow private individuals to enjoy hobbies harmlessly, and can even spark creativity in those willing to invest time in creating their own designs.
3-D printing (3DP) is the process of making physical objects from a digital model using a printer. Although still in the developmental stages, the technology has advanced swiftly since its introduction in the 1980s, and is already presenting opportunities in new areas, such as in the custom manufacture of prosthetics, dental products and other medical devices or high strength lightweight precision automotive and aerospace parts that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
A 3-D printed model of Barrick Gold’s Turquoise Ridge mine in Nevada, US. Photo Barrick Gold Corp
Over the next decade, technology observers predict that the pace of change will intensify and more and more applications will be found as sophistication increases and the cost of equipment falls, following the now well-established curve for technology products.