A broader understanding of 3D printing’s value to the supply chain is increasing investment plans across industries worldwide. Gartner research found that 65% of supply chain professionals are using or will invest in 3D printing over the next 2 years as they recognise its ability to produce product and augment manufacturing operations.
The first 3D printing technology was invented 30 years ago. Over time more uses of 3D printing throughout the supply chain have been developed, especially in aerospace, healthcare and general industrial manufacturing. For example, 3D-printed personalised medical devices—hearing aids, dental implants and braces, and prosthetic limbs—are more common than many people realise. Recent advances in hardware, software and materials are making 3D printing a more viable process across the supply chain even as its adoption remains low.