Additive manufacturing will revolutionise production. It has gone beyond prototyping. Companies like GE, BMW, Lockheed, Honda are using it in their industrial production. With range of printable materials expanding, more companies will follow suit. The only problem to be negotiated is the scale of economies in 3D printing as volume increases but with fewer assembly steps and flexibility, the process of additive manufacturing will be heavily invested on.
Plastics, resins, ceramics, glass, cement, variety of metals are already available for additive manufacturing and newer getting added forging a new commercial ecosystem with new strategic implications. Many are developing platforms – the strategic part.
Other companies will build and connect on this new platform of 3D printing. Platform owners will be powerful and become the new Googles. As economies around 3D printing matures, the transaction costs will reduce. New entrants will thrive on innovation and a whole new world of David vs Goliath opens up.
In 2005, only 80 patents relating to additive manufacturing materials, software and equipments were granted worldwide. By 2013 that number had gone up to 600 non-duplicative patents. Mckinsey reported that 3D printing, “ is ready to emerge from its niche status and become a viable alternative to conventional manufacturing process in an increasing number of applications.”
Once companies experience by putting a toe in the water of this revolution, they will dive deeper. Brand building concepts will change and brands as utilities will be created. This becomes the next revolution after internet has changed our lives over the last two decades. Digital History Replicated !