Is 3D printing the future of manufacturing?

Jun 23, 2015
Author: Craig Burton
Craig acts as commercial partner for a wide range of corporate and non-corporate clients. He is also responsible for maintaining technical standards throughout the firm.
3D printing

Is 3D printing the future of manufacturing?

3D printing could be the key element in determining whether or not many manufacturing businesses will flourish or fail in the future. Research indicates that 3D printing is revolutionising manufacturing as we know it, which will see companies being able to fulfil consumers’ desires, creating personal specifications on orders without significant time or cost constraints.

As the cost of the technology continues to fall, 3D printing now has the potential to fundamentally change the economies of scale for the smaller, pioneering companies, opening up considerable opportunities for innovation and growth.

An evolving and improving technology

3D printing is certainly not new – the technologies first appeared more than 25 years ago – but with significant technological advances the operational applicability and affordability is evolving, and improving.

The future of 3D printing is likely to have full scope, with research on foodstuffs, such as chocolate, well underway. The immediate impact, however, is in the (high-end) manufacturing industry as the technology has the potential to enable rapid product development through prototyping and creating products to personal specifications.

Some possible future benefits of 3D printing for manufacturers:

  • Customised, personalised manufacturing
  • Reduce machine set-up time
  • Cost-effective production
  • Greater flexibility in production
  • Improved environmental footprint
  • Material variations

As the technology continues to make pace in the market, it is important manufacturers, small and large, consider the potential future implications of 3D printing. As specialist manufacturing accountants, we have the necessary expertise and experience to provide your business with proactive and commercial advice.

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