3D Printing to Build

3D printing promised to end all manufacturing and change supply chain forever. It has not deliver on that promise, yet. For a period of time it seemed like 3D printing would only be used by geeks to play with. To build quick and easy components for electronics.

Very specialised application for 3D Printing in healthcare began to emerge where the tech was being used to print skin grafts. This eventually led to cartilage and finally entire organs. The number of tests and certifications needed to bring this to mainstream use has meant that the technology has remained mostly experimental.

Construction seems to be the salvation for 3D printing with the rising adoption of the technology to build houses.



It remains to be seen where things will go from here and what we would be able to achieve in 5 years time with 3D printing but building a house in 24 hours seems to be a really neat application to get started with.

General Thinking

Manufacturing and Jobs

There was a time when the hinterland was where all the jobs went. People in the cities bought what was produced in the hinterland. Then shipping and air transportation took off big time and it made more sense to transport things that to produce them in your own country. It was easier to specialise and transport than it was to generalise.

As technology and manufacturing evolved this is going to start moving back in the opposite direction.

Adidas has come up with they call a Speedfactory which brings all part of manufacturing into a small area. (See link the illustration is just brilliant!)

With the advent of 3D printing and customisation there is no more sense in undertaking manufacturing at remote destinations. It is easier to do individual pieces based on customer requirements at the location where the delivery needs to happen. Adidas seems to have found a way to do this. Given that they are not a startup, I am sure they have figured out how to do this profitably as well.

This is not a question of manufacturing but one of jobs. How do you think this will impact how job creation takes place in the future?