3D Printing: The End Of Global Supply Chains?

3D printing technologies, which allow an individual or small company to fabricate small items in their homes or local shops, will lead to the end of the global supply chains which have ruled economics for the past generation. In a White Paper recently released by the industry site Transport Intelligence, John Manners-Bell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transport Intelligence and Ken Lyon, CEO of Virtual Partners have predicted a future in which 3D printing will be the main supplier of goods.


(Zprinter 350 full-color 3D printer)

The rise of 3D Printing is expected to cause a decline in the cargo industry, reducing the demand for long-distance transportation such as air, sea and rail freight industries. Despite the potential loss in custom, as production moves closer to end markets, Lyon believes that industry sectors such as these will find another application.

“These transitions take a very long time and after a while the migration from the way we used to do things to the way we do things now takes place. Some people that were employed for a previous application could be employed to use new tools, technology and techniques. I think that’s true for this as it is with a number of other innovations, very few of these things happen overnight.”

3D Printing has the potential to remove the need for traditional manufacturing techniques, which often take longer and are more expensive. No matter what the complexity of the item is, 3D Printers are able to produce small items ready assembled, with customisations and revisions. In addition to this, the new technology will remove the differentiation between the pricing of a single copy or many copies.

“The most interesting aspect of this is the mass-customisation, people are able to go out and buy what they really want, as opposed to going out and choosing what the retailer wants them to buy. This has been sort of a trend going on over the last 20-30 years, but this is where it really comes to fruition. People will be able to look something up on the web, think actually I want it in this particular style and have it printed how they want it, and that will go back right through the supply chain,” explained Manners-Bell.


(Cubify at Google I/O 2012)

Fans of sf author William Gibson may recall the nanofax from his 1999 book All Tomorrow's Parties. This novel opened my eyes to the economic repercussions of rapid prototyping and 3D printing technologies:

"Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance. Within certain rather large limitations, of course. A child's doll, placed in a Lucky Dragon Nanofax unit in London, will be reproduced in the Lucky Dragon Nanofax unit in New York-"

An organic approach to the problem of reproducing three-dimensional objects is presented by Philip K. Dick in his extraordinary 1956 story Pay for the Printer; see the entry for Biltong life forms.

On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of original to be duplicated. Beside them, a few prints had been commenced, unformed balls of black ash mixed with the moisture of the Biltong's body, the juice from which it laboriously constructed its prints.

See also these different uses for 3D printing:

I'd also like to point out that I've turned comments back on and the contact form is also open.

Via Supply Chain Digital.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/14/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Manufacturing ")

A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...' - Philip K Dick, 1955.

Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.

Self-Assembling Bacteria Build A Pressure Sensor
Nature is a master of fabricating structured materials consisting of living and non-living components.

Artificial Spider Silk
You can also use it to make a roof - on an asteroid.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day.

Ford's Autonomous Cabs 'Transportation As A Service'
'He was glad to crawl into his autocab and close the cover.'

Sex In Driverless Cars?
'...admirable for petting.'

Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...'

ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched whatever terrain the goggles showed me...'

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.