3D Printing: The End Of Global Supply Chains?
3D printing technologies, which allow an individual or small company to fabricate small items in their homes or local shops, will lead to the end of the global supply chains which have ruled economics for the past generation. In a White Paper recently released by the industry site Transport Intelligence, John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transport Intelligence and Ken Lyon, CEO of Virtual Partners have predicted a future in which 3D printing will be the main supplier of goods.
(Zprinter 350 full-color 3D printer)
The rise of 3D Printing is expected to cause a decline in the cargo industry, reducing the demand for long-distance transportation such as air, sea and rail freight industries. Despite the potential loss in custom, as production moves closer to end markets, Lyon believes that industry sectors such as these will find another application.
“These transitions take a very long time and after a while the migration from the way we used to do things to the way we do things now takes place. Some people that were employed for a previous application could be employed to use new tools, technology and techniques. I think that’s true for this as it is with a number of other innovations, very few of these things happen overnight.”
3D Printing has the potential to remove the need for traditional manufacturing techniques, which often take longer and are more expensive. No matter what the complexity of the item is, 3D Printers are able to produce small items ready assembled, with customisations and revisions. In addition to this, the new technology will remove the differentiation between the pricing of a single copy or many copies.
“The most interesting aspect of this is the mass-customisation, people are able to go out and buy what they really want, as opposed to going out and choosing what the retailer wants them to buy. This has been sort of a trend going on over the last 20-30 years, but this is where it really comes to fruition. People will be able to look something up on the web, think actually I want it in this particular style and have it printed how they want it, and that will go back right through the supply chain,” explained Manners-Bell.
(Cubify at Google I/O 2012)
Fans of sf author William Gibson may recall the nanofax from his 1999 book All Tomorrow's Parties. This novel opened my eyes to the economic repercussions of rapid prototyping and 3D printing technologies:
"Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance. Within certain rather large limitations, of course. A child's doll, placed in a Lucky Dragon Nanofax unit in London, will be reproduced in the Lucky Dragon Nanofax unit in New York-"
An organic approach to the problem of reproducing three-dimensional objects is presented by Philip K. Dick in his extraordinary 1956 story Pay for the Printer; see the entry for Biltong life forms.
On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of original to be duplicated. Beside them, a few prints had been commenced, unformed balls of black ash mixed with the moisture of the Biltong's body, the juice from which it laboriously constructed its prints.
See also these different uses for 3D printing:
I'd also like to point out that I've turned comments back on and the contact form is also open.
Via Supply Chain Digital.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/14/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
3D Printing An Entire Car
"... Almost as good as the original it was printed from."- Philip K. Dick, 1956.
Self-Building, Self-Tooling, Autonomous Manufacturing
'The machinery was building a miniature replica of the demolished factory.'- Philip K. Dick, 1953.
3D Printing Is Here - Pay For The Printer!
'On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of originals to be duplicated.'- Philip K. Dick, 1955.
3D Printing: The End Of Global Supply Chains?
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'- William Gibson, 1999.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Augmented Reality Ship's Bridge From Rolls Royce
'... the immense, three-dimensional, minutely cubed model...'
Artificial Blood From Factories
This blood's for you.
Wrigley's Anti-Impotence Chewing Gum
'Chew one of these, Mr. Chip.'
Arcology Now Universal Constructor
'... the hotel direly wanted to exist.'
MisTable Fog Display Like SeaQuest DSV
Captain Bridger, a message is coming in.
Full-Size Invisibility Cloak Now Possible
'I donned it and drew its hood, and threw on its current.'
Bioengineered Muscle Grows In Mice
'Joeboys... shoulders bulging with grafted muscle.'
Self-Assembling Nanoparticles Move Like Tiny Gears
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically...'
PredPol Predicting Crime As It Happens
'All day long the idiots babbled...'
UK Internet Filters Default To 'Family-Friendly'
'People bought personalized filter programs...'
NASA Gives Away Rocket Code - For Dads
'The rocket thundered and leaped. The children danced in their hammocks, screaming.'
Automated Planet Finder Telescope Starts The Hunt
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'
Crabster CR200 Robot Prowls The Deep
'The handling-machine did not impress me as a machine, but as a crablike creature...'
Neither Dead Nor Alive - But Not In Suspended Animation
'...Can he be brought out of the cold-pack?'
Dolphin Whistle Translator
'Louis could hear the other translator discs whistling softly in Puppeteer, snarling quietly in the Hero's Tongue.'
Military Tech Inside Your Roomba?
What else can Roomba do?
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories