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3D printing and the new shape of industrial manufacturing

Description: Surely, the potential of 3D printing (3DP) has captured the popular imagination. From jet engine parts to made-to-fit bikinis, the technology is being hailed as a revo- lution in how products are manufactured. According to estimates, the global 3DP printer market is poised to hit $6 billion by 2017 from $2.2 billion in 2012, with global shipments of printers costing less than $100,000 expected to reach about 98,000 in 2014, roughly twice as many as in 2013.1,2 But in the heartland of US indus- trial manufacturing, 3DP appears more on an evolutionary track, as companies large and small shape 3DP programs—and as 3DP printers, software and materials science advance. What they’re discovering is not just how the technology can build upon traditional manufacturing processes, but perhaps more important, how it can potentially produce products well beyond the scope of traditional manufacturing. To help get a clearer picture, PwC surveyed over 100 industrial manufacturers, from small contract manufacturers to multina- tionals (referred to in this report as “PwC Innovations Survey”).3 The overarching story is one of sprinters and sideliners. Two-thirds of manufacturers surveyed are currently implementing 3DP in some way (either experimenting on how to use the technology, or already using it for prototypes or final products). One in four said they plan to adopt 3DP some time in the future. Based on this survey, interviews with industry leaders and a PwC analysis surrounding the economics of 3DP, we explore how and why companies are bringing this technology closer to an effec- tual tipping point of adoption. Applying 3DP for rapid prototyping is nothing new for many manufacturers. It enables them (and their suppliers) to sidestep the often laborious, costly and expensive traditional processes—the production of casts, molds and dies, the milling and lathing and other machine work, and finally, The PwC Innovations Survey found that 25% of manufacturers are currently implementing 3DP technology for prototyping only, that 10% are using 3DP for both prototyping and the production of final parts; only 1% is using the technology expressly for final product production.
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Domain: Electronics
Category: Photo
3D printing and the
new shape of industrial
June 2014

In conjunction with

Table of contents
1 Introduction: 3D printing’s growth spurt
2 3DP-powered R&D
4 The longest mile: From prototyping to final product
7 Reaching the 99%: Small and medium manufacturers
10 Can 3DP shrink the supply chain?
15 3DP and the industrial worker: Awkward bedfellows?
16 Shaping your ... See more

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