Effect of 3D Printing Will Be Pervasive Across Enterprise

Carl Weinschenk

The art and science of 3D printing are progressing rapidly.

The news from this sector is always exciting and even a bit stunning. The San Francisco firm Apis Cors and Russian developer PIK has printed a 38 square meter house in 24 hours, according to ZDNet, in a project costing about $10,000. The printer sequentially adds layer upon layer of concrete until the job is done. The expected lifespan of the quickly fabricated structure is 175 years.

The demonstration was done in mid-February. More detail is available in a video showing the 3D project at all stages. The result is a strangely configured small building. It’s unclear whether the shape is a result of the current limits of the technology, the desire to build the structure quickly, or completely independent of the 3D printing process. Nonetheless, the interior looks quite cozy.

Another interesting piece of 3D printing news is that Ford is testing a Stratasys Infinite Build 3D device to print large, one-piece parts, according to Yahoo. The approach is thought by Ford to be optimal for low-volume equipment. Likely uses are pieces for exotic vehicles, such as race cars, prototypes or personalized parts.


These two are representative of the advances that are being made on a regular basis in the 3D printing arena. These 3D printing trends will have a great effect on how organizations operate, according to Forbes. As 3D printing grows and as more mundane uses are enfranchised in normal operations, corporate processes and procedures will change, perhaps radically.

Change will occur in many areas. The concept of the supply chain will be redefined: Why ship something if it can be printed more quickly and less expensively? Prototyping, as suggested in the Ford news, will be transformed as well. Customer service? Why make a customer wait for a new part if he or she can print it out in their home immediately? The list will go on. Organizations, including their IT departments, should prepare:

Most manufacturing and logistics organizations, however, are taking a relaxed approach to 3D printing, thinking they still have time to adapt. That is becoming less true every year. Our recent analysis suggests 3D printing could represent a $400 billion manufacturing market by 2030. Organizations that face potential disruption from 3D printing must start piloting, partnering, and investing soon if they want to be well positioned to capture future value.

The 3D news is always glitzy. The point, however, is that its growth will have effects in less exciting but just as significant ways.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

 


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