The last five years have been the, “coming of age,” period for technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, mixed reality (MR), and blockchain. By late 2017, these technologies gained enough maturity and stability for use in industrial settings. As such, 2018 is shaping-up to be a pivotal year for these promising technologies to be applied in several realms of supply chain, such as end-to-end visibility, product tracking, fraud, settlements, compliance, productivity, worker safety, and delivery speed. Here are seven key trends that are driving innovation, change and agility in today’s supply chains.
No. 5 – 3D printing will continue its steady march into prominence
3D printing has been gaining adoption in many industries like automotive, aerospace, medical devices, fashion, and manufacturing industries. According to a recent PwC study, 71 percent of manufacturers have adopted 3D printing. The need for moving and storing inventory is diminished as 3D orienting enables local production, versus global production.
In 2018, 3D printing will continue its gradual adoption path. Its influence on supply chain operation dynamics will continue to evolve.
Researchers in the Technology and Innovation Management Group at RWTH Aachen University, Germany have predicted the most probable uses of additive manufacturing in the year 2030.
The study was conducted to help strategic planning and decision making for manufacturers, engineers and researchers in the field, and can be reviewed in full in the journal of Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
While 2016 might have been a trying year in many ways, one of the major silver linings has been the amazing advancements in technology, perhaps most notably in additive manufacturing. As necessary as it is to look back on the past year, however, it is also important—not to mention exciting—to look forward to 2017, which holds the promise of even more amazing innovations and AM advancements. As is customary at the end of the year, research and advisory firm Gartner has released its predictions for 2017 and, in the field of 3D printing, they look pretty positive.
The overall consensus of the 19-page-long report, called “Gartner’s annual predictions about the future of 3D printing”, is that 3D printing will continue to advance and grow within a wide range of industries over the next years, including in the industrial manufacturing industry, the medical sector, and more.
Key highlights of the report include the projection that by 2020, 10% of industrial operations will integrate robotic 3D printing technologies into their manufacturing, 30% of internal medical implants and devices will be 3D printed (and increasingly printed on location), product introduction timelines will be reduced by 25% because of 3D printing, and a whopping 75% of manufacturing operations across the globe will integrate 3D printed tools, jigs, and fixtures for the production of finished goods.
Emerging advancements in technology such as autonomous trucks, 3D printing and warehouse automation will foster changes in how shippers, retailers and manufacturers configure their supply chains and distribution strategies, spurring a need for different formats and locations for industrial real estate, according to a new report from CBRE Group.
Taken together, these advancements will encourage industrial users to modernise their networks to adapt to the fast-evolving market rather than requiring them to add more or fewer warehouses and distribution centres. Each of these technology categories are on track to reach widespread use by 2025.
Even as the overhyped consumer 3D printing market continues to fall back down to earth, 2016 looks to be a breakout year for the industry as senior executives’ eyes and checkbooks are opening wide to the technology’s potential. The industrial market for 3D printing real end-use parts looks poised to begin its long growth run, with far reaching implications. 2016 will likely usher in 3D printing’s first “killer apps,” impacting both product design and supply chains. No matter what, 2016 will be a year when leaders across industries will be compelled to pay close attention to the emerging opportunities and disruptions that 3D printing is creating.
Here are eight 3D printing trends to watch in 2016.