Why 3D printing is the third industrial revolution?

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Why 3D printing is the third industrial revolution?


All industrial revolutions start with some great innovations. The mechanical revolution started with the first loom in the textile industry which was the first production line. This was the first instance of mass production and because of this, science flourished and lead to the second industrial revolution. Now we are in the midst of a digital revolution that began with the first programmable logic controller and now leading to automated production.

One technology with great potential that is part of the automated production is 3D printing which some say will lead to a new industrial revolution? Is it still the third industrial revolution or we can say that 3D printing opens a new fourth era?

Despite the fact that 3D printing is going through a fantastic Renaissance, some respectful mass media sources relate it to the third industrial revolution. We investigated the question and shall justify why 3D printing is the first step in the new revolution with 5 arguments.

1. 3D printing technologies change business models

There is no need to outsource production to third parties anymore. 3D printing makes it easier to prototype in-house or to produce missing and final parts of objects (e.g. for aircraft). In addition, additive manufacturing (3D printing) helps businesses to keep up with the times where customers crave for personalized products. Standardized molds are no longer a major focal point in regards to production. 3D printing allows fully customized products to be produced at the same cost. Therefore, a 3D-printed product may bring more value to an individual user.

Businesses will optimize their costs while 3D printing automates the process of production and diminishes labor costs. This will allow for more focus on other areas that can bring value to customers.

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2. Production pace

3D printing can benefit a lot of industries like aerospace, medicine, fashion, education and more. Product development with 3D printing can be quicker and more accurate than non-3D printing product development. With 3D printing technologies, the fear of production mistakes and the need to restructure production lines are eliminated. It is possible to redesign and develop products which are aimed to meet users' needs better than costly production lines that take longer to develop.

3. Step from design to consumption becomes swifter

At the moment if you want something in addition to your mass production product (e.g. spare part or tool) you have to go through the several steps from production, storage, transportation and logistics, processing and packaging and even retail to actual consumption and usage of a small but necessary part. Each step requires various resource expenditures. 3D printing creates a much closer link between production and consumption, which makes it more customizable, accessible and usable.


4. Accessibility

Could you image that in the near future you will produce the goods you demand in the comfort of your own home?

The days of going to the store seeking for a special object part or waiting for that item from the manufacturer will become a distant memory. Contrast this with 3D printing where all you will need is a design file which you can 3D print in a matter of minutes. It is expected that 3D printing will terminate the manufactures monopoly on the products. A person will need just a computer and 3D printer to create their own goods.

5. From mass production to customization

The consumer-driven approach is rapidly gaining momentum in many areas of business but still remains a luxury option. 3D printing will revolutionize the world with customization almost in any sphere of goods. It denotes a shift from mass production to consumer production. At the moment, we can observe this, for example, in the field of medicine, namely the manufacture of prostheses by individuals.

3D printed arm - with Engineering Pla - enable - Leapfrog 3D

To sum it up, 3D printing is a new industrial revolution because it will change manufacturing into more democratize business and will create products which better suit their purpose and individual requirements.

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