Industy News| 12 Sectors That Are Ripe For A 3D-Printing Revolution

Date: 2018-12-03
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Industy News| 12 Sectors That Are Ripe For A 3D-Printing Revolution

A few years ago, 3D printing was considered a novelty, mostly used for small-batch projects and prototypes. Today, this technology has exploded and is being used for things we once only dreamed of, including the mass production of car parts for manufacturers like Volkswagen.

Although these emerging uses are impressive, the capabilities of 3D printing are far from fully realized. The experts of Forbes Technology Council follow the latest industry trends and have some insights on which sectors might be impacted by 3D next. Below, 12 members share their predictions for which industries are ripe for a 3D-printing revolution.

1. Full-Scale Manufacturing 

With new material (such as metal) and faster 3D printers coming into the market, the potential for streamlining many pre- and post-production processes with automation of the most time-consuming tasks is an attractive benefit to many engineers and designers. - Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales

2. Local Small-Batch Production 

3D printing allows for efficient, local, small-batch production of all kinds of parts and products that are currently mass produced far away and shipped around the world. The largest effects of this shift will be a lessening of the need for offshore production in developing countries and a correspondingly lower demand on long-distance global shipping. - Chris Grundemann, Myriad Supply

3. Prototyping 

Companies are now using 3D printing to very quickly prototype products and do market testing before committing resources to actually design and build them. This is enabling companies to be much more agile in the concept and business-case stages of product development. - Paul Heller, Sopheon

4. Bio-Engineering 

Every human is unique. Human parts cannot be mass produced and require sophisticated assembly. 3D printing is already showing great promise in the production of bones, joints and teeth. The marriage of 3D design and medicine will give way to amazing progress in bio-engineering. - Tom Roberto, Core Technology Solutions

5. Clothing And Textiles 

3D printing will pervade nearly every industry that can benefit from the value proposition. Put plainly: Anything that can be made with a 3D printer will likely be made with a 3D printer. I expect that to be very true in fashion and apparel. Fashion is unique, and 3D printing gives individuals and small designers the opportunity to create the clothes that fit them perfectly, in their own style. - Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Technologies

6. Home Improvement 

As global supply chains grow and are more diverse, coupled with the decreasing mean time to failures, stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Menards will find it increasingly difficult to stock the materials needed to repair the very things they sell. From plastic parts to specific Asian or European metal components, this is a huge gap currently in the market. - Sultan Meghji, Virtova 

7. Aerospace

We have seen the growth of 3D printing in various industries. The sector that will benefit most from 3D printing is aerospace, where you have composite parts, which are difficult to manufacture and are expensive. At any point, when this composite part is required, it can be 3D printed. - Naresh Soni, Tsunami ARVR

8. Hardware 

Having to carry a large assortment of fasteners, tools, drill/driver bits and miscellaneous connector hardware can be easily eliminated with mass-produced 3D-printed objects. I would expect to see this type of technology show up at the local hardware store with an expanded catalog of print-on-demand items. Customized parts would be printed as you wait. - Chris Kirby, Retired

9. Housing 

3D printing is truly changing the way we work and live. In my opinion, 3D printing and housing will see some expansion in the coming years. With this tech, we will be able to make homes faster and cheaper. How fast and how cheap? I can see $10,000 per home in one day. I think if we can advocate for this tech sector, we are bound to see more homes and less homeless. It could be a win-win. - Tony Raval, IDMERIT

10. Electronics 

Think about a cellphone made specific to our needs. Let's say I'm a heavy user, and I don't mind a big phone. I would be able to order one with a bigger battery. Someone else, on the other hand, may want all the power of a large phone but does not want the big screen. A 3D printer will eventually be able to accommodate that. We're not there as of yet -- printing sophisticated, multi-material parts of phones -- but we surely are on our way. - Vikram Joshi, pulsd

11. Construction 

3D printing on a large scale is coming soon to the construction and homebuilding industry. Soon, contractors will be able to print custom-sized foundation piers and other concrete pieces on site instead of shipping in and assembling these extremely heavy and costly components. With 3D printing, the "raw material" can be shipped as densely as possible, which will lower construction costs. - Jason Gill, The HOTH

12. Infrastructure In Developing Countries 

3D-printing technology is transforming the way we design and manufacture, but it also has the ability to transform the way we affect other populations in developing countries and underserved regions. 3D printing is quick, lowers labor costs and can make products with immense intricacies; therefore, products such as water filters and small shelters are possible. 3D printing can be a life-saver. - Alexandro Pando, Xyrupt


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