3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) Is Turning the Impossible Into the Possible
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.
He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Toshiba, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM.
He is the author of six books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight: How To See The Invisible and Do The Impossible, as well as the international best-seller Technotrends.
He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes.
He has founded six businesses, three of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities.
His accurate predictions date back to the early 1980s where he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. Since then, he has continued to establish a worldwide reputation for his exceptional record of predicting the future of technology driven change and its direct impact on the business world.
What if you could deliver your product to your customer the moment it was manufactured? What if your customers could manufacture a replacement part whenever they need one? What if doctors could manufacture a body part, personalized for the individual patient, in the hospital at a moment’s notice?
Thanks to 3D Printing, you can!
I have been covering 3D Printing (also called Additive Manufacturing) for over 20 years in my Technotrends Newsletter, and at first the technology was used for rapid prototyping. Over the past few years, however, rapid advances in processing power, storage, and bandwidth have catapulted this technology into a tool for manufacturing finished products that include jewelry, shoes, dresses, car dashboards, parts for jet engines, jawbones for humans, replacement parts for synthesizers, and much more.
When people first hear that you can manufacture something by printing it, they have a hard time visualizing it. Think of it this way: 3D Printers build things by depositing material, typically plastic or metal, layer by layer, until the prototype or final product is finished. When the design is downloaded into the printer, a laser creates a layer of material and fuses it. Then it adds another layer and fuses it…and then another and another…until the object is completed.
For example, a Belgian company, LayerWise, used 3D Printing to create a jawbone made of titanium that was recently implanted into an 83-year-old woman. An Australian company, Inventech, has created what they call their 3D BioPrinters to print tissue structures using human tissue. And Bespoke Innovations is using 3D Printing to create prosthetic limb castings.
This amazing technology can also be used for on-demand printing of spare parts—something the U.S. military is already doing in the field. Knowing this, it is not hard to see that in the future, a manufacturer could sell a machine or system to a company, and as part of their maintenance and support contract they can put their 3D Printer on-site with the licensed software to print replacement parts as needed.
On a smaller level, it is easy to see that service mechanics will have portable 3D Printers in their vans or at their main office. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) will most likely sell and license these printers to their dealer network.
In addition, there are already a number of companies including Shapeways and Quirky that will use their 3D Printers to print the design you send them, and then they’ll ship the final product to to you or your customer. It’s not hard to see that at some point Amazon will provide this service too.
3D Printing will definitely become more commonplace in the near future thanks to its many benefits, including the availability of open source computer aided design (CAD) software for designing the part you want to print. In many cases you also have the ability to print the complete part without assembly as well as the ability to print complex inner structures too difficult to be machined. Another great benefit is the entire process produces much less waste than traditional manufacturing where large amounts of material have to be trimmed away from the usable part.
One of the ways manufacturers in the United States and other countries have been able to compete and win business from the low cost mass manufacturers in China has been to focus on short, customized products that can be manufactured and delivered quickly. 3D Printing takes this to the next level by allowing designers and manufacturers to offer personalized manufacturing. This does represent a fast moving revolution in manufacturing that will not be hampered by location or large startup costs.
Whether you call it 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing, it is advancing quickly on a global level and offers something that up until recently was impossible: On-demand, anytime, anywhere, personalized manufactured items by anyone.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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