3D Metal Printing
3D printing is a great example of how incremental innovation can be revolutionary. We’ve always had printers and parts manufacturing, of course, but plastic 3D printing has been taken to the consumer and prosumer level. Now, 3D metal printing is poised to be the next big wave in this industry.
HP is planning its first offering, the Jet Fusion model, which it hopes will make a difference in the metal parts manufacturing sector. Other industry giants are also on board: GE has been printing metal fuel nozzles for its Leap jet engines, and Nike’s even printing metal cleats.
Looking to more delicate products, 3D metal printing is uniquely beneficial to toy and jewelry businesses. With a 3D printer, a massive factory is no longer needed to create beautiful pieces for small or medium-size businesses — and that will change the competitive landscape.
While 3D printing is still a long way from being widely adopted by the everyday consumer for in-home use, metal 3D printing brings it much closer. Most people won't fork over thousands of dollars for a 3D printer that can print only plastics and basic materials. But if they could print electronic devices from home for a fraction of the cost and save time and money on shipping, many will do so once the price point for the printer makes sense.It should be an exciting 18 months through the end of 2019, but the key is to be aware of opportunities early. These or other innovations will undoubtedly change the way we do business and live our lives, just as smartphones and the internet did in the past few decades. Companies that are poised to enter the market or generate revenue by playing off these new tech breakthroughs (think smartphone cases making millions), will be on solid ground to take on the next decade in 2020.
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