As 3D printing technology evolves and improves on its capabilities, it will transform all major industries as well as the way we work, play and relate in the future. There will be industries whose procedures will be disrupted forever. Here are seven of them.
- Medical World
Medical intervention will be more customized to individual patient needs. In fact, replacement prosthetic limbs and palates will be made on demand. Soft-tissue organs such as kidney, the finger, and the ear will also be 3D printed and implanted on patients with ease. Right now braces, jaw transplants and orthopaedic insoles are already being 3D printed. This has reduced the time and cost of getting implants and replacements. The lower cost of producing prosthetic parts and implants have made quality medical treatment accessible, even to the groups that were hitherto disadvantaged.
3D printing has enabled styling of complex motherboards and circuit boards. It is also now easy to use simple and a high variety of materials from high conductivity metals to plastics. It is possible to print very small circuit boards that would take much time and resources if produced conventionally. Nearly all parts of major electronics devices will be produced through 3D printing. This will also enable precise printing or high accuracy devices.
Most military equipment is very complex and produced in very low volumes. Since many parts are customized, a lot of work has to be done for each part that is needed regularly. With 3D printing, it will be possible to print the needed parts on the instance they are required. Military teams on the battlefields will be able to print combat supplies on their bases.
Such technologies will revolutionize warfare, lower the cost of equipping the military and lead to the production of high precise combat equipment. In fact, a 3D printed gun is already in production.
Food products will be printed in the future as it is made with ingredients that can be extruded through the nozzle such as sugar, cream, cheese, and flour. This will lower the cost of production and ensure that all products are of the same quality. It is not a wonder that we might be waiting for our food orders to get printed in our favourite eateries. A while back, there were trials with 3D printed sugar cubes, corn pasta, and pizza. This will be the norm in the future.
In future, there will be simple consumer 3D printers that will be a lot cheaper than they are today. The growth in open-source 3D software will make it easier for parents to design unique toys for their kids. Children will also get online and download the 3D design files of their favourite toys, customize them if they need to and then print them right here at home. Some toy manufacturers will create 3D toy designs and sell them rather than sell the finished toys.
- Automotive Industry
It is a matter of time before we can print whole cars or all the major parts of vehicles in production. At the start, the type of cars to benefit will be high-end speciality cars that have very small production runs. Already Bentley has tested the use of 3D printing technology in the production of complex small part of their vehicles. With this technology, motorbike riders will get a chance to order their customized helmets that fit their head size and structure. It will also be a lot cheaper to get a customized car for fun or take care of a disability such as being very short!
Most of the traditional jewellery production processes are lengthy and cumbersome. It is a matter of time before jewellers do away with the lengthy procedures for 3D printing. Limited special edition jewellery will be the first to make its way to the 3D printer. However, over time, many more types of jewellery will be produced.
As per the examples above, 3D printing will transform how manufacturing is done, lower the cost of production, and enhance product penetration in the low-end markets.
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