We couldn’t agree more with the anonymous writer who penned The World Needs to Grow a Pair to Stop China.
But not only must we stop China, we must also protect our own interests and recreate American Self-Reliance. Sadly, the situation described in How Not to Lose Your IP When Developing a Product with Your China Factory is all too common. But there is a homegrown solution that is faster, safer and more cash flow friendly than ordering containers from China. The solution is additive manufacturing, a/k/a 3D printing, which was invented by an American, Dr, Chuck Hull, in 1986.
The United States has had the opportunity to fortify its Self-Reliance for over 30 years and it’s been more or less squandered in the name of globalization, which has mostly been defined to mean China manufacturers pretty much everything for the rest of the world. If we’re morally obligated to do anything it’s to reestablish the self-sufficiency on which America was founded. Not the kind where you can’t get medical supplies during a pandemic. We must cease to be at the mercy of a country like China.
The United States is in a cold war with China. As companies rethink their supply chains, they ought to seriously consider embracing a new manufacturing technology that’s now ready for prime time: 3D printing.
No longer relegated to trinkets and prototyping, 3D printing, which is also called additive manufacturing, is now moving into mass production. Printer makers have solved a variety of quality, cost and speed problems to the point where printers can compete with conventional manufacturers at volumes of tens or even hundreds of thousands of units.
The US military has already been working on additive as a quicker way to supply repair parts to remote locations and to make ultralight, high-performance fighter jets. The Trump administration is looking to ramp up those efforts with tax breaks and direct subsidies to companies that bring military supply chains home.
While tariffs and trade wars from the White House may threaten our jobs, peace and prosperity, technology innovations from American business could save us. Just as new technology in energy production and extraction have reduced our dependence on the Middle East, a technology innovation of a very different sort — 3D printing — is already poised to reduce our dependence on Asian factories.
3D printing is a process whereby a specialized printer repeatedly deposits thin layers of material to form a product in three dimensions. These printers can make almost any kind of shape by simply adjusting the software file for the specific product. And in recent years, 3D printing has become cost-competitive with conventional manufacturing for many kinds of products.