3D printing is no longer tomorrow’s promise; it is available for manufacture today. But with much competition in the investment sphere of technological innovations, from Artificial Intelligence to Augmented Reality, how do you make the business case for 3D?
Down the road, 3D printing will bring about a radical new era of total supply chain transformation, with local, print on demand solutions dramatically reducing both costs and time to market. But this will take time and, as Paul Croft, Director, Ultimaker GB explains; any business dealing with additive manufacture can explore 3D printing to achieve incremental gains today.
New technologies such as the internet of things and 3D printing are not just transforming global supply chains – they are also changing the way trade is being financed, forcing trade finance providers to innovate their offerings.
In a conversation with GTR on the launch of a new report, Vinay Mendonca, HSBC’s global head of trade finance propositions, says the bank is currently exploring ways to finance the trade of data and design as 3D printing and the internet of things (IoT) gain momentum. It comes in response to a growing need from the bank’s customers for more innovative ways to finance modern supply chains.
The bank’s report Navigator: Now, next and how for business, released today, surveyed 6,033 firms of all sizes across 26 markets on their short-term outlook for global trade. It found a high degree of optimism: 77% of the companies expect their trade volumes to increase in the next 12 months.
Most hearing aids in the U.S. are now custom-made on 3D printers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first 3D-printed pills. Carmakers have started using 3D technology to produce parts. And last year saw the first demonstration of a digital printer producing multilayer, standards-based circuit boards. Imagine the changes afoot in the pharmaceutical, medical device, automotive, and consumer electronics industries.
3D printing is poised to redefine global manufacturing and distribution. It could upend supply chains, business models, customer relationships, and even entrepreneurship itself. It may do to physical goods what cloud computing is now doing to digital services; what the PC, internet, and smart mobility have done to personal computing; and what outsourcing did to software development and business processing — take mass distribution and innovation to the next level while realigning the very geography of work and trade.