Three-dimensional printing, while once innovative and exciting, is, like traditional paper printing, becoming commonplace. As a result, those who use it take it for granted. However, projections that examine 3D printing’s economic impact on society suggest that maybe we should give this new-old technology some credit.
Experts anticipate that 3D printing technology will affect the economy in numerous ways. However, there is a handful that promise to provide direct benefit to business owners and consumers alike.
5 Ways 3D Printing Will Change the Economy
As the use of 3D printing increases across the globe, so too will the need for more skilled laborers in the manufacturing sector. It is anticipated that by 2027, the prevalence of this technology will create 3 million to 5 million new jobs across the aerospace, industrials, consumer products, health care and automotive industries in the U.S. alone. An estimated 2.8 billion of those jobs will involve 3D printing enabled manufacturing, while another several billion may include the design, maintenance and material development for the printers themselves.
Reduced Production Costs
Because 3D printers can fabricate the various parts and components that are used on multiple machines throughout a factory, they can do the job of numerous pieces of equipment and workers. This type of productivity can lead to reduced production costs, which can help industrial companies remain competitive and profitable. It may also reduce production time, which invariably translates to more profit.
No Need for Shipping
3D printing enables the sharing of physical objects between two people or entities who may be located in different towns, cities, states or even countries. The significance of this is huge for industrial companies and buyers. For one, it means that manufacturers are not limited to whom they can sell, at least not geographically speaking.
With the cost of shipping no longer an obstacle, an overseas buyer can purchase a machine, part or component from a U.S. based manufacturer without fear of incurring thousands of dollar’s worth of shipping charges. Also, because, theoretically speaking, consumers can manufacture their own products, manufacturers may no longer have a need for huge industrial warehouses or factories.
Improved Health Care
The health care industry has already been and will continue to be impacted by 3D printing. Invisalign is an excellent example of how health care professionals can use 3D technology to provide an effective yet affordable form of treatment.
Beyond Invisalign, however, surgeons are using the technology to practice sophisticated and tedious procedures before performing them in real life; medical device companies are creating replicas of organs to customize devices and stints; donor companies are creating models out of actual human cells to transplant into the human body.
The possibilities for 3D printing’s use in the health care industry are endless, and they promise to increase society’s overall quality of life, reduce health care costs and even save lives.
Stock Market Boom
Because of its various applications in a wide range of sectors, three-dimensional printing is bound to infiltrate industry after industry. As it does, it is only reasonable to think that the stock market prices within those sectors will soar as the technology positively impacts each in various ways.