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.”
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.