Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


The Future Of 3D Printing And Manufacturing

Jan 15 2014, 3:21pm CST | by

10 Updates


Recommend Your Tweet as Top Tweet:

Full Story

The Future Of 3D Printing And Manufacturing

3D printers are extensively used in manufacturing. However, so far, their use has been limited and restricted to specific processes. What will a future 3D printing manufacturing ecosystem look like?

In an interesting pos t on the HBR blog network, Ed Bernstein and Ted Farrington from the Industrial Research Institute attempted to predict that future and its effect on the market. Based on their research, the authors forecast that the combination of 3D printing with manufacturing may result in two manufacturing models: the low-endBuyer Beware” model, where manufacturing organizations focus on rapid iteration at localized manufacturing hubs, and the high-end “R&D” model, where research organizations provide product ideas and social capital to small businesses and local manufacturers.

By themselves, these models are not new nor are they radical reinventions of existing manufacturing processes. However, 3D printers and e-commerce enable a complexity in scale and product differentiation that was not possible earlier.

The Buyer Beware Model: Decentralized Manufacturing Hubs

The underlying idea behind the “buyer beware” model is that of a decentralized network of local hubs. These hubs, which I assume would consist of banks of 3D printers to manufacture a prototype stream, would cater to specific geographies. Think of a local manufacturing hub for your Nike shoes or Jensport backpacks. This will enable manufacturing organizations to rapidly test and craft prototypes based on consumer feedback.

As I mentioned earlier, the process is not new.

Consumer research groups already conduct focus groups for products. However, the scale and rapidity of these focus groups will increase with the introduction of 3D printers. The other thing that interested me about the idea of decentralized manufacturing hubs is the level of customization possible through 3D printing. Currently, product portfolios for major companies rely on a centralized manufacturing hub that churns out similar products for large geographies (such as countries). The decentralized manufacturing hub model, however, enables custom blueprints for the same product at a much more granular level. For example, consider the customization of cars to suit weather conditions for geographies as diverse as California and Illinois.

The authors assert that the new process will encourage “natural selection” but do not provide proof to back it up. I think “natural selection” of products is a bit of a stretch because marketing muscle (whether for small businesses or large organizations) is an important factor in determining our decisions regarding products. In addition, setting up banks of 3D printers will take a combination of expertise and resources (financial and human). Large, established organizations hold an upper hand in both.

Research & Development And Small Businesses

The other model envisions a manufacturing ecosystem, where research and development organizations tackle big problems such as climate change and poverty. They provide ideas or results of their research to small businesses and local manufacturers, who will make these products using their 3D printers. According to the authors of the research, this collaboration will provide social capital to small businesses and local manufacturers.

Unfortunately, this idea flies in the face of the buyer beware model, where product prototypes are changed based on consumer feedback. Also, the R&D model relies on independent and inexpensive research production processes that are accessible to small businesses. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Bernstein and Farrington further claim that social-value metrics will displace product cost and effectiveness as arbiters in consumer buying decisions. That analysis, however, assumes an ideal marketplace where all businesses, whether big or small, have unfettered access to good ideas and equal production capabilities.

The authors have not made clear whether they are referring to industrial printers, which are expensive and require technical resources for operations, or consumer 3D printers, which are comparatively cheaper and less technical. For example, consider that Voxeljet, a Germany-based 3D printer manufacturer, makes expensive sand printing 3D printers with large build areas, especially for the automobile industry. It is hard to imagine small businesses or local manufacturers competing with Mercedes or Ford at an even keel. The same holds true for other industries, such as consumer products or engineering.

Source: Forbes


You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over the ownership of the... R ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT


Update: 9

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known businessman, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar... R ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% stake in Berjay ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT

Update: 7

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? KiniBiz examines the.. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT

Update: 6

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest following intervention from a... R ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT

Update: 5

Malaysia Spends Over $9 million on MH370 Hunt: Report

Source: NDTV

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Malaysia has so far spent about RM27.6 million (over $9 million) on search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an of ...
Source: NDTV   Full article at: NDTV Jun 9 2014, 3:12am CDT

Update: 4

Bill for Kidex likely to soar to RM3.4b

Source: Malaysia Today

The original RM2.4 billion tag on the proposed highway did not take into account the cost of acquiring the land mostly in the urban areas, claims an assemblywoman Fabian Comelius, ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 9 2014, 2:51am CDT

Update: 3

MACC: No elements of graft in Bank Rakyat’s loan to businessman

Source: Malaysia Today

BET AWARDS '14 - Red Carpet
(Bernama) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found no elements of corruption in Bank Rakyat’s RM32 million interest free loan to a businessman. MACC in a statement today said in ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 31 2014, 9:33am CDT

Update: 2

IHH Healthcare posts 25% rise in 1Q earnings to $62 mil

Source: The Edge Singapore

IHH Healthcare Berhad announced that revenue grew by 8% y-o-y to RM1.8 billion ($703 million) for 1Q2014 ended March, as earnings grew 25% YoY to RM159.1 million. R ...
Source: The Edge Singapore   Full article at: The Edge Singapore May 29 2014, 11:29am CDT

Update: 1

Hasan Malek evades media over RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal

Source: Malaysia Today

Elizabeth Zachariah, The Malaysian Insider The minister embroiled in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal refused to take questions from the press today at an event in Kuala Lumpur.... READ MORE ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 28 2014, 11:42pm CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Benedict Cumberbatch Comes to Comic-Con San Diego
Benedict Cumberbatch Comes to Comic-Con San Diego
Benedict Cumberbatch is the new English super star actor. Fans of Comic-Con can experience the man live this year.
Elon Musk to Donate a Million Dollars to Nikola Tesla Museum
Elon Musk to Donate a Million Dollars to Nikola Tesla Museum
Elon Musk is to donate about a million dollars to the Nikola Tesla Museum on the request of 'The Oatmeal' creator.
Top 50 Online Marketing Influencers Of 2014
Top 50 Online Marketing Influencers Of 2014
It’s getting more and more difficult to know which sources to trust online. I think this helps explain why lists like this one are consistently some of the most read and shared: people want (no, need) to know that the...
Lenovo&#039;s Motorola finds Low-end Success
Lenovo's Motorola finds Low-end Success
It’s been a dim couple of years for Motorola, a company that has had badly misfiring high-end smartphone strategy. Just two months ago, the company decided to shut down its vaunted U.S. manufacturing plant in...