A revolution is occurring in the 3D printing space.  For a quick definition of 3D printing– it is a manufacturing process that creates a physical object from a digital model file.  The technology works by adding layer upon layer of material to build up a complete object.  The addition of layers to create an object is why 3D printing is also called ‘additive manufacturing’, as opposed to traditional or ‘subtractive’ machining or manufacturing.

While the concept is still unknown to many, 3D printing is used to make prototypes and tools, while basement hobbyists print on a small scale for fun or as a side hustle.  The first patent for the technology was granted in 1986 to an American inventor who founded a company that has grown to become one of the largest producers of 3D printers.  3D printing applications are used across a range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, semiconductors, medical, jewelry manufacturing, industrial components, and healthcare.  A company has even developed a process to make 3D-printed high-fidelity speakers– turn up the music!

By the way, major advancements have also been made to the 2D digital printing world.  Water-based inks digitally printed on textiles allow for fast sampling and delivery of fashion-on-demand with mass-customization of an unlimited variety of choices, all while reducing waste and inventory loss in a more environmentally sound process… but I digress, this is a post on 3D printing advancements!

Take a look at the Chicago Booth Review article below on Booth grad Shai Terem ’10, who is president and CEO of a leader in additive manufacturing, Markforged.  The company is based just outside of Boston and has amongst the largest network of cloud-based industrial 3D printers in the world.  The Booth article states that Markforged helps groups including NASA, Google, and Siemens leverage industrial-grade 3D printers and cloud software ecosystems for printing same-day parts for mission-critical applications at the point of need.

This technology is a big deal, folks!  Rather than utilizing far-off plants to manufacture parts that need to be packed and shipped around the world, important components can be produced on-site and on demand.  Besides the obvious time savings, the environmental benefits of producing locally with limited logistical requirements cannot be overstated.

While major 3D printing advancements progress, there is also a lucrative market growing exponentially- the value of 3D printed parts is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 15% between 2020 and 2030, rising from $12 billion in 2020 to $51 billion at the beginning of the next decade.  The potential of 3D printing technology is fascinating!  Have a read and let me know what you think- reach out to me here with your thoughts.

~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix

Click here- The Future of 3D Printing

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P.S.- Did you see my last Leadership Matrix post? Let’s Make a Deal! A National Sales Tax