3D printing is increasingly found in all walks of life, having infiltrated industries as diverse as film and medicine. It’s fascinating to wonder how specific industries will be completely transformed with their embracing of this revolutionary technology. Our previous posts have explored how a 3D printing factory of the future might look, or how a sustainable 3D printed home might become ubiquitous.
As early as 2014, articles were already being written on how 3D printing would radically transform the world. Writing for CNBC, Linda Federico-O'Murchu wrote:
“3-D printing technology is advancing at a staggering rate. American designers are now working on 3-D printed cars, while in China and Holland, 3-D printers are building entire houses. The first 3-D printed hamburger was recently created in England, heralding the possibility of a man-made food supply.Boeing, GE and other industry leaders are manufacturing state-of-the-art aerospace equipment with the new technology, while NASA, using Zero-G technology, is demonstrating how 3-D printers will one day be used in space.”
A More Sustainable, Practical and Empowering World
Advancements in 3D printing promise the world a new kind of sustainable manufacturing. 3D printing has the potential to empower communities far beyond anything they could have hoped for in the past. Hospitals will be able to help more patients at a lower cost, creating the opportunity for more local hospitals, as well as in deprived areas. Likewise, small towns in developing countries will be able to source water more easily and quickly. It also means making post-disaster cleanup a far more efficient process.
One of the most important aspects of 3D printing is its ability to keep production local, thus offering increased economic stability to individual countries and communities. For example, cars today are made by just a few hundred factories around the world. In the future, car parts would be made easily at dealerships and in repair shops. This change would fundamentally alter supply chains that span the globe.
It is the creation of jobs on a local level which heralds a sea change in the way the globalised economy works. Nowadays, it is still through the transportation and sharing of ideas and labour that economies are made to grow and adapt. However, a booming local jobs market has the potential to create a stable and lucrative income for many people who might have otherwise struggled to find work where they are.
Onwards and upwards
Of course, a bright future thanks to 3D printing is all dependent on governments and industries ability to embrace the new and think ahead in a dramatically different way than they are now. 3D printing, using ideas and blueprints shared online, steps over national boundaries with ease, creating problems with regard to copyright and ownership. This is a conundrum that would need to be solved before the technology could be used to its fullest capacity.
With so much economic uncertainty today, and so many industries left floundering, 3D printing could be the golden ticket to greater advancements, more efficient processes and a better world of us.