China doesn’t have long before the party is over. Their only current advantage is cheap labour and cheap manufacturing. The advantage is about to end…..
The winners in the world economy in 10 to 15 years will be the designers of things, not the makers.
The Economic ‘End Game’ of 3D Printing
Last week, Oxford University announced the development of synthetic material capable of performing some of the functions of living cells, built using a specially modified 3D prototype printer.
It is the latest in a series of exciting developments relating to 3D printing, especially in the biotechnology and medical applications.
Professor Hagan Bayley who led the research said that this development will probably result in damaged human tissue or even organs in the human body being able to be replaced.
But behind 3D Printing’s exciting facade lies a darker side – the potential of total destruction of worldwide manufacturing, and the crippling job losses that will go with it.
Taken further – a retailer in the future may simply purchase the schematic or software program direct from the manufacturer for a set fee. The retailer could simply let you point out which television you would like to purchase from the display case and then ‘print’ one for you to take home within half an hour.
Taken even further than this, and where I believe it will ultimately end up, is the domestic 3D printer. Households will shop online for everything they require and print them at home on demand.
3D Printing Could Be A Boon For Small Business
…That common obstacle is exactly why 3D printing technology is a potential game changer for small business. While manufacturing was once a big money, big business proposition, these new gadgets can put the power of prototyping and one-off manufacturing into the hands of the little guy. With one machine and a digital design, 3D printers can build a three-dimensional object of virtually anything right on the spot.
The Advent of Affordability
One of the most surprising things about 3D printing — besides what they can do — is that the technology isn’t actually new; it’s just newly affordable.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the large, industrial versions of 3D printers are now as relatively inexpensive as $5,000, though some cost as much as $1 million depending on their capability, and can print in a variety of materials.