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Infographic: The Fact & (Science) Fiction of 3D Printing

3D printing is moving from the stuff of our favorite science fiction films to a familiar, mainstream technology. Although many of today's 3D printing applications are remote from the electronics industry, a growing number of them are likely to become popular options in the electronics supply chain.

Today, 3D printing applications in the electronics industry range from vehicles to prototypes. The market, by all estimates, will be substantial. In fact, “ Wohlers Report 2014,” published earlier this month, puts the total market for 3D printing, consisting of all products and services worldwide, at $3.07 billion last year, which represented a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.9%.

“The industry is experiencing change that we have not seen in 20-plus years of tracking it,” said Tim Caffrey, senior consultant at Wohlers Associates and one of two principal authors of the new report. “What's most exciting is that we have barely scratched the surface of what's possible.”

The infographic below traces the breadth of 3D printing. Let us know your thoughts on how the development of 3D printing will affect the electronics industry and its supply chain in the comments section below.

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

12 comments on “Infographic: The Fact & (Science) Fiction of 3D Printing

  1. t.alex
    May 24, 2014

    How would this affect supply chain? Must we source for more raw materials to be used for these printers?

  2. SunitaT
    May 25, 2014

    I did not know that 3D printing could turn out foetus replicas. Makes you wonder how much 3D printing would be used to print out props in movies, which generally cost a ton for creating, but 3D printing can cut the costs down, also, if more realistic looking props are used, then the cost of using CGI would decrease because there would be less CGI to put into use.

  3. SunitaT
    May 25, 2014

    @t.alex: nice question. I think 3D printer manufacturers would have to embrace a shift in raw materials and their tracking. In the event of a 3D printer, the supply chain would also change considerably providing for the different components of the 3D printers.

  4. prabhakar_deosthali
    May 26, 2014

    In my opinion the evolution 3D printing technology will open  up a new domain for the Supply chain professionals. – i. e to support the 3D printing related industry – the raw materials, the finished products, the spare parts for 3D printers and so on.

     

  5. Himanshugupta
    May 26, 2014

    I also think that 3D printing will bring out new research direction as we will need new kind or raw materials that can be used in 3D printers for producing products. Till now the approach in manufacturing has been top-down so the material needs were different. 

     

  6. Himanshugupta
    May 26, 2014

    I also think that 3D printing will bring out new research direction as we will need new kind or raw materials that can be used in 3D printers for producing products. Till now the approach in manufacturing has been top-down so the material needs were different. 

     

  7. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    May 26, 2014

    @t.alex, certainly this would allow for the printing of samples, etc. It may mean that there are items that don't need to be sourced.

  8. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    May 26, 2014

    The newer 3D technologies allow for printing on metal which is going to open up a lot of new ways to use the printers.

  9. Eldredge
    May 28, 2014

    One of the amazing aspects of 3D printing is that it can produce structures that are not feasible with conventional maching technology. It has it's limitations as well, buit it will be very interesting to see what happens as this technology evolves.

  10. Eldredge
    May 28, 2014

    @Hailey – There are some very interesting applications for rapid protoyping of products and tooling taht are being explored.

  11. t.alex
    May 30, 2014

    Eldredge, 

    you have a good point here. What are the possible limitations of 3D printing? I think the product might look like some a prototype rather than a finished product.

  12. t.alex
    May 30, 2014

    @tirlapur, does it mean in the near future we have to stock metal, plastics in our store room:->?

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