Initially, the concept of 3D printing was surrounded by plenty of excitement and hype. The technology was supposed to give the ability for anyone to create personalized products very cheaply. The industrial sectors was euphoric when they eventually realized that large-scale production of similar products could eventually be replaced by the creation of customized products at the same cost. Some even thought that the advent of 3D printing solutions would herald the start of a ‘Third Industrial Revolution’, with a helping hand from the Industrial 3D Printing Market.
But the reality has turned out to be a little… disheartening.
Creative artists and hobbyists, who are generally considered as the early adopters, were expected to come up complex designs and shapes with cheap plastic printing material. But the integration of this material on the production floor has turned out to be more complicated than anticipated. Apart from a few complexly designed products like dental implants, polymer printing material has not been able to find a lot of takers.
According to IndustryARC estimates, the 3D printing of metals is currently too complex to undertake on a reliable basis as well as being far too expensive, despite the best efforts of the Industrial 3D Printing Market. Both factors are not expected to ease anytime soon. Hence, only companies with massive budgets and highly expensive laser equipment are currently indulging printing metals.
The original idea of coming up with a digital design and printing prototypes has been swept away by high costs and the slow rate of printing for now. Once these obstacles are overcome, designers are expected to enjoy a lot more freedom. Devices with complex shapes are extremely difficult to create through current manufacturing procedures. Engineers and scientists are also eagerly anticipating the day they can experiment with unique materials and properties.
But most importantly, the success of the Industrial 3D Printing Market would completely revolutionize the concept of economies of scale. This revolution originates from the fact that the printing cost of a particular product would always remain constant regardless of the quantity which needs to be produced. If manufacturers can depend on such a constancy, their planning behind inventory, size of production facilities, manufacturing processes, etc., would change significantly.
In other words, the necessity for economies of scale would decrease and all kinds of small and medium sized manufacturers can compete with the behemoths in their respective sectors. Without these constraints, enterprises can focus exclusively on their just-in-time manufacturing capabilities, or in other words mass production of customized products. Instead of maintaining extensive logistic chains and warehouses, strategically placed factories would be suit just fine.
Ultimately, the onus is on the Industrial 3D Printing Market to decrease enterprise reliance on mass manufacturing and raise the efficiency of creating personalized products. Along with the removal of vast supply chains and wastage of raw materials, 3D printing can also open up an entirely new category of personalized products. The long-term benefits include localized supply and demand where the economy gets divided into self-reliant mini-markets.
IndustryARC is a global market research and business consulting firm based out of India. We have research centers across Asia and Europe with consultants experienced in the following verticals – Agriculture, Automotive, Chemicals and Materials, Energy and Power, Food and Beverages, ICT, Electronics, Life sciences and Healthcare, Automation and Instrumentation.
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