Ask anyone 10 years ago whether 3D printing would become a close reality, and you probably would have received a mixed response. But thanks to modern technology and the adaptiveness of certain industries, 3D printing is here and it is disrupting businesses around the world.
What exactly is 3D printing?
In its simplest form, 3D printing enables businesses to produce physical items based on algorithmic data, thereby eliminating the traditional manufacturing channel. Initially used for prototype models, 3D printing has progressed to develop actual usable items. Using a layering technique and software data, 3D printing constructs an object without the need for drilling and so on.
So how is 3D printing revolutionising the way we do business? Here’s a sneak peek at six key industries.
According to Forbes, 3D printing brings many advantages for the manufacturing industry, such as product innovation. Thanks to fast prototype production, 3D printing enables businesses to introduce product innovations to the market faster than via traditional manufacturing and production methods.
The automotive segment is expected to remain the largest and fastest growing. Companies like Stratasys are developing software for car parts to “reduce investment and part costs, maximise assembly line efficiency, reduce the weight of production tools [and] to stay one step ahead of industry challenges”.
With ever-increasing printable materials ranging from metals to durable plastics and nylon, aviation giants like Boeing and General Electric are also experimenting with 3D printing. These companies are using powder-melting technologies to manufacture specialty components and engine blades, as well as the modern design of aircraft interiors.
4. Building and construction
The architecture industry has long used 3D printing for design prototypes and models as a means to improve architectural design and functionality, communicate with clients and secure more projects. This is set to improve with better software and customisable designs.
According to Grand View Research, the 3D printing market for medical application is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.3 per cent from 2013 to 2020. You may not know that the majority of hearing-aid shells are already produced using 3D technology, and we can expect to see 3D print methods revolutionise many more areas of healthcare, such as prosthetics and customised dental implants.
3D printing is even having an impact on the finance industry. As 3D printing replaces the need for traditional manufacturing equipment, we can expect huge opportunities for technology investment.
In fact, Reseller News reported that global spending on 3D printing will grow at a 27 per cent CAGR from nearly US$11 billion in 2015 to US$26.7 billion in 2019. In Australia, Konica Minolta grew its 3D printing business in 2015 thanks to a local distribution agreement with software giant 3D Systems.
Similarly, HP is set to launch 3D printers this year, targeting commercial markets including manufacturing, aerospace and healthcare.
You can also expect an increase in mergers and acquisitions as businesses adapt to the future of product design and delivery. This may lead to an upswing in business lending as companies seek to diversify their existing business model.
Despite the endless possibilities that 3D printing brings, one thing is certain: demand for finance will continue as businesses embrace new technologies. To find out how Pepper Money can help your client invest in changing technologies or grow its business, speak to your BDM on today.