For a number of years I viewed 3D printing as a solution looking for a problem. I visited the Consumer Electronics Show and saw people printing accurate 3D chocolate renderings of their heads, which whilst being very clever, is largely useless. I wondered to myself where the technology was going, but in the last year or so things have changed and 3D printing seems to be finding its feet in terms of technology and applications, confirming its place in our future.
3D printing is now impacting the electronics supply chain from innovation to fulfillment; this is in part due to price. We are currently seeing 3D printers priced below $2,500, opening the technology up to consumers and innovators, while creating the opportunity to build ‘print farms’ with multiple printers producing small runs efficiently and economically. Another factor driving adoption is the use of more 3D printable materials, making more complex and more usable products possible.
Here are a few of the ways 3D printing is impacting the electronic supply chain.