There have been some meteoric rises in the 3d Printing Industry. But a couple of problems persist:
Lack of a Single Defining Application
Historically, personal computers became ubiquitous through their productivity applications. Investment in personal computers became a tangible benefit due to the presence of productivity applications, such as VisiCalc and Word. 2D paper-based printers enabled similar efficiencies. Such applications are conspicuously absent in 3D printers. Their use has remained confined to a niche audience of hobbyists enthralled by the future possibilities of the technology.
Within the mainstream market, 3D printers are mainly used to prototype models for designers and body parts for medical students. The materials commonly used for 3D printing—PLA and ABS, both plastics—and imperfections of the technology make it difficult for average consumers to print useful or complex objects. But that is all changing…
Quality and Material Issues in Manufacturing
3D printing holds much promise in manufacturing. For starters, it can enable crafting of custom products in an easy and cost-effective manner. Secondly, it can shorten supply chain cycles by collapsing multiple product manufacturing processes into a fewer number of steps. But, 3D printing’s limited consumer use is mirrored in the manufacturing sector. According to a report by consulting firm PriceWaterhouse Cooper, only 0.9% of surveyed companies used 3D printing for production of final products or components.
3D printing becomes industrial strength.
Once reserved for prototypes and toys, 3D printing will become industrial strength. There are aircrafts that already contain some 3D-printed components. The technology will also start to be adopted for the direct manufacture of specialist components in industries like defense and automotive. Overall, the number of 3D printed parts in planes, cars and even appliances will increase without you knowing.
3D printing starts saving lives.
3D-printed medical implants will improve the quality of life of someone close to you. Because 3D printing allows products to be custom-matched to an exact body shape, it is being used today for making better titanium bone implants, prosthetic limbs and orthodontic devices. 3D Printing could reduce if not eliminate the organ donor shortage.
Customization becomes the norm.
3D Printing grows, and customers get more and more demanding!
3D Printing is so entering the fashion business, that the Jerusalem Post even covered it in this story:
….Danit Peleg, a 27-year-old designer from Tel Aviv who graduated from Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in August, says her 3D collection envisaged a world where people would be able to download their favorite t-shirt and print it at home at the “click of a button….”