Holistic impact of 3D Printing on the value chain
The vision of a world where almost anything can be 3D-printed in the comfort of your own home is no longer so far-fetched. Backed up by remarkable breakthrough applications and repeatedly celebrated by the media, 3D printing has captured the interest of everyone from business entrepreneurs to at-home hobbyists in recent years.
In fact, 3D printing is already a major disruptive trend in some industries, and it will certainly disrupt others. It is likely to impact logistics and especially the design of supply chains. Some analysts predict companies will soon create and manufacture a vast range of items in entirely new ways, far beyond the confines of traditional factor walls.
But how much of this is hype? And how far will it disrupt the logistics industry?
The fundamentals needed to encourage widespread adoption are gradually coming online, so this long-awaited trend is now moving into the mainstream. There are, of course, obvious limitations. Not everything can be printed, but the products and parts coming off 3D printers today offer some pretty clear evidence that this technology has vast potential.
And we can’t ignore that potential. I believe it is essential to recognize its disruptive effect on the overall value chain.
Demystifying 3D printing
The market has witnessed a recent surge in 3D printing innovations paving the way to more technological advancements and competitive solutions, both in the consumer and enterprise arenas.
Companies are starting to recognize that 3D printing, also known as “additive manufacturing,” is a key sourcing technology of the future, with initial momentum already showcased across various industries – from aviation to healthcare.
The mechanics of 3D printing are fairly similar to those of conventional inkjet printing. However, while inkjet printers apply ink to paper, 3D printers inject materials in successive patterns to build a three-dimensional object.