I am just starting to discover the fantastic universe of 3D printing and its potential game-changing applications, but I am already fascinated!
3D printing, also known as Additive Manufacturing, has the potential to disrupt global manufacturing in a meaningful way. This breakthrough enables users to quickly, easily, and cheaply produce three-dimensional objects straight from the computer. The possibilities of the technology are, in theory, virtually endless.
- Some machines can print in over 100 materials, including: rubber materials, hard plastics, polyurethane-like materials, temperature-resistant materials, and opaque and transparent materials.
There are various types of additive manufacturing processes. Generally speaking, 3D printing is where a physical object is created from a virtual 3D model by laying down successive layers of material (hence the term “Additive Manufacturing”).
3D printing is expected to impact nearly every industry. We are still in the infancy of what The Economist labelled the “third industrial revolution”. The size of the global industry is expected to explode in the near future, reaching $5.2 billion in 2020, from $1.3 billion today.
- This is 4x today’s market in just 8 years.
- There are several, emerging players in the various segments of the industry, which ranges from design software, 3D printer manufacturers, consumables, marketplaces, measurement technology, to service providers/applicators.
- Despite the early lead of some players, it’s still early to tell who will be the clear winners when the industry matures.
3D Printing is perceived as a revolutionary and disruptive technology, but how will this technology evolve and affect the world? If you are already leveraging the technology, developing some applications related to this field or simply thinking about it, I would love to talk to you to exchange some ideas and insight. I will be attending this week a workshop on additive manufacturing organized by the CRIAQ (Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec). The keynote speaker is Terry Wohlers, a world-renowned expert in additive manufacturing. I look forward to gaining more insight on this exciting space.
If you are just discovering this field, here are a few good sources of information that will inspire you.
My favorite blog covering the technology:
On 3D Printing http://on3dprinting.com
Some jaw-dropping videos:
Will 3D Printing Change the World? | Off Book | PBS
Anthony Atala: Growing new organs | TED Med