Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing as it is more commonly known – is being touted as the next major industry disruptor. While the process of creating products layer by layer is not new, some of its drivers are. Jane Denny explores its potential to offer an alternative to series production process.
According a recent report by UK market research firm Deloitte, 3D printing has the potential to have “a greater impact on the world over the next 20 years than all of the innovations from the industrial revolution combined.”
The start of the 3D print revolution began to show up in a 2014 PwC survey of more than 100 manufacturing companies. At the time of the survey, 11% had already switched to volume production of 3D printed parts or products.
Based on the rising popularity of the process, key chemical players such as Covestro, BASF and Huntsman have plans to meet market needs. And already the technology is opening up the potential for customisation in the automotive and footwear industry – with developments at Ford and Adidas.
A polyurethane 3D print solution has also produced made-to-fit thumb guards for workers at a German BMW factory and the invention of a
device using polyurethane is also providing an alternative to expensive orthodontic work worldwide.
These small innovations may be making media waves but localised innovation, like…