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 Printer 'Teleports' Objects Like Simak's Way Stations
'An entirely new being but exactly like the old one'- Clifford Simak, 1963.
3Doodler 2.0 Create A 3D Object With A Pen
'Plastic comes out of the end of the drawing arm and hardens as it comes.'- Murray Leinster, 1945.
Oak Ridge To Pay For The (Giant, Superfast 3D) Printer
'Can your Biltong print for more than a hundred people?'- Philip K. Dick, 1956.
Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart
'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.
Autonomous Cars Will Own Themselves
'The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow.'
World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'
Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'
Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'
ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?
Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'
Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'
Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'
Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'
FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.
'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'
The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'
GuardBot Robotic Sphere Of War
Much more ominous looking when they come after you.
Sony Aibo Robotic Dog Now With No Repairmen
'...they break down and then everyone in the building knows.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories