Will 3D printing be a catalyst for the 4th industrial revolution?

According to HP Inc., the outlook of the future includes using new inks and agents that will allow 3D printers to work voxel by voxel to apply specific capabilities or control material properties. For example, adding color information to show wear and damage to a part, or embedding codes for traceability or anti-counterfeiting.

Marga Bardeci, 3DP Applications & Business Development Manager of HP, Inc. spoke at the ISTA European Packaging Symposium in Amsterdam earlier this month, and said that in the future we could see only “on-demand” products with less resultant shipping and inventory due to products that will be produced locally.

Though 3D printing is used mostly in prototyping now, the manufacturing sector offers great potential for 3D printing, according to Bardeci, with the following potential impacts on the supply chain:

  • Near sourcing – decrease in shipping
  • Mass customization and personalization – lower inventory levels
  • Parts on demand – service parts logistics

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