3D printing – The emergence of a new industry structure

ny-bild-933D printing is a fascinating new and intuitively attractive technology. Seeing an object rise, layer by layer, as shown in the Financial Times video and interview with Abe Reichental, directly illustrates the possibilities and disruptive nature of this innovation. Let’s just print whatever we need when we need it. The old industry paradigm that high volume is needed to achieve low cost seems to be challenged. Consumer 3D printing was 2015 entering the Trough of Dissolutionment in the Gartner hype cycle, illustrating that we still have some time before the real impact will come. At that time Entrepreice 3D printing had however reached the Slope of Enlightenment. If 3D printing is “bigger than Internet”, as the FT story implies, or if it’s really the 3rd Industrial Revolution as the Economist labeled their article about the phenomenon, may be questioned. There is however no doubt that the technology will have a significant impact and in itself will create a huge new industry.

emergingtech_graphicAs with any new disruptive technology a new industry structure is emerging. The new logic, cost structure, speed, volume, variety etc. creates new business models, new interdependencies, new flows of tangible and intangible goods, secondary needs, supporting services etc. resulting in a new industry structure and overall new business logic. As with any new industry we get product innovation moving into process innovation and generations of product standards. But there are also new business roles in the industry value chain or value network. How this develops is not always obvious and sometimes we seem to take a fatalistic view rather than that this is something we can influence. All roles seem logical when an industry value chain has formed, but this development can to some extent be both predicted and influenced. As seen for the Internet, erasing barriers in terms of volume and speed to access information has resulted in new customer behaviors and needs as well as meeting old needs more efficiently and at a significantly lower cost. New business roles have risen such as search engines, internet security software, access providers etc. Even if similar functions have been seen before the power balance between the roles have in many aspects changes radically, as illustrated by companies like Google and Facebook. These companies are also example of actors that have not only been successful but have indeed been instrumental in shaping the whole business ecosystem.

So what are then the new roles arising in the 3D printing industry?  Most research regarding industry value chains and value networks, focus on studying existing industries and give some but limited help when trying to predict future industry structures. When trying to make forecasts we have to fully understand the underlying logic of the new industry, what new needs the changes will drive and how the different new roles together can form a well functioning new business ecosystem. When doing such an analysis there are not one solution to the complex question, but many. In the case of 3D printing some questions do however return irrespectively of scenario. Where will the end user get suggestions regarding what to print? Where can you find data regarding interfaces when the printed object is part of a system, such as a car? What supporting roles will facilitate open innovation? Who can see to that the object is casted in other materials, such as metal alloys? Who will supply basic structure of products where the final product needs home printing to be completed? Who can see to that intellectual property rights are defended?

Being able to predict possible new industry structures, the business roles and their importance may give us a good indication on where to invest, stimulate, seek and drive new innovation. With the right timing, being proactive may even drive the development towards more favorable scenarios, depending on what role and position we plan to take.

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33 responses to “3D printing – The emergence of a new industry structure

  1. The 3D printing market is surely an interesting market. According to an article on Forbes [1] the AM (Additive Material) industry grew 25.9 % in 2015. That is certainly an impressive number. In the video from Financial Times [2] Abe Reichental shares his opinion of that 3D printing has the potential to become as big as the internet for example. However he also mentions some problems. Right now 3D printing with precision, especially with metal is difficult. Additionally the durability of 3D printed products is not sufficiently high at the moment for them to be used in parts that will endure a lot of strain. Mostly companies use the technology for prototypes. This is a very efficient way of visualizing and quickly test new product ideas.

    [1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2016/04/25/wohlers-report-2016-3d-printer-industry-surpassed-5-1-billion/#13e2438f7cb1

    [2] https://www.ft.com/content/614779df-b5c2-3d76-9a3a-c6e62a6f2ef9?ft_site=next

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  2. I consider 3D printing as a technology with great potential. An appropriate comparison did Abe Reichental in the linked video that impact of 3D printing can even be as big as the steam machine which was considered to be a revolution in the industrial age.
    I consider this technology as a paradigm shift because established concepts of how to manufacture etc. won’t exist with this technology anymore. But before we really see the impact we have to overcome a number of obstacles like finding a structure, business roles to shape the new and whole business ecosystem and this will takes it time.

    I could imagine that in the future the number of manufacturing companies is decreasing because consumers may have their own 3D printer and print directly their desired products at home instead of buying it. This would mean that the consumer takes the role as a manufacturer in some ways. For this I could imagine that shops are needed where you can go and select a specific material you need for printing like a toner cartridge for a laser printer. There must be a service business for maintenance, finance or leasing like we already know from the normal printer business.

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  3. 3D printing is predicted to be the new big disruptive innovation both in the Financial Times and The Economist and I am willing to agree. The full impact of the technology is hard to predict because 3D printing have not completed the slope of enlightenment. I believe that 3D printing will change the landscape of a lot of industries such as the production industry and the product market. This because it offers a way to produce goods in a cheap, fast and customized way with less impact on the environment.

    In the future, as a consumer with a home 3D printer, you have the possibility to, for a reasonable price, create and customize products for example tools, screws, home furnishing etc. Stores currently providing these will have to adapt to the new landscape maybe by instead selling designs for the products, like a recipe for a cup. New roles emerging are sellers of material and designs to print or customize. There would also be a need to change the current laws and restrictions currently associated to patent, safety of brands and protection of designers.

    In the production industry 3D printing is today used to create prototypes of new products. The concept of “high volume needed for low cost” would change with 3D printing in the production. There would be less need for stocks because you could produce exactly the amount needed and then change to another product. New roles emerging are storing material for 3D printing and recycling it.

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  4. 3D-printing technology has been around for some time now, and although it was presented as the solution to a variety of different manufacturing problems, I have yet to hear about anyone who doesn’t refer to themselves as a “maker” actually use it. This is, of course, characteristic of the diffusion of innovation, in which the “makers” would represent innovators and early adopters.

    As of now, 3D-printers are still pretty pricey up front, which makes it a hard-sell as a widely available consumer product. I could imagine a new kind of business model and value chain, where companies would offer the printer for a low fee, but lock them to their printing instruction architecture. For example, a company competing with IKEA on home furniture could sell you a cheap printer, to which you would then be able to buy blueprints for stuff that you want to have at home.

    In the long run, I think one of the biggest challenges is the mindset that people don’t generally make stuff at home. Having to worry about not running out of plastic (and hopefully other materials) is not something that we need to do today. This would potentially open up new positions in the value chain for subscriptions of supply, or even physical stores offering the supplies.

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  5. 3D printing is something that potentially could change a lot in the industry structure. As a customer, you are now allowed to produce your own products. A couple of
    applications for 3D printing is printing spare parts to existing products and print products made by a company from models or from your own models. To be able to print your own products also raises some new concerns, for example, printing weapons and other licensed products makes the regulation harder.

    In the future I think that there will be some new roles in quality assurance. For example, if you as a final customer are printing some spare parts for a product, will the warranty still be intact? Who will make sure that the part is correctly printed? Also, the fact that the production will be owned by not the designer of the product, makes it easier to test new products since you do not need to keep a stock in warehouses etc.

    I am not sure if the final customer will be the one owning the printing machine, maybe there will be a new role in the supermarkets for example. You send the desired product’s blueprint and pick it up in the shop. There is also of course the price parameter. The printers have been available for a while now but they are still quite expensive. This also creates a barrier for the majority to adopt to the technology.

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  6. All links are optimistic towards 3D printing which is to be expected (due to it’s place in the emerging technology hype cycle). It is stated that in the future it can be used to created part for planes as well for consumer use, such as creating small figurines (which is already possible).

    If 3D printing was accessible to the consumer, at a reasonable price, it could generate a legal problem such as copying ideas and designs. However this can be dealt with in the same with as downloading games/movies/illegally.

    A new design market would open up since people would need professional designs, if the more complex and functional products are created. This could either be in the form of personal designer getting requirements from the buyer or a platform where people sell their designs, not a unique product, to buyers.

    To be able to print products the consumer would need material, if it’s plastic or metal doesn’t matter, and therefor a supplier of these materials would be added to the value chain. These suppliers could possibly supply a huge number of consumer, but for this to be effective they would need inventory of multiple materials.

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  7. 3D printing is a fascinating new area and I believe that it will have a big impact on the society in the future. If it will be as big as the steam engine as Abe Reichental thinks, we will have to see, however it will most likely change the infrastructure of the production industry. The article in the Economist mentions that a product can be made anywhere with a 3D printer. Therefore, the product and the customer segment is no longer bound to geographical areas. The interesting thing with 3D printing is that it can be used in many different areas, e.g. within production, at home or even within the healthcare sector.

    If 3D printing would become more established several new roles within the market will likely arise. We will have a lot more companies that sells 3D printers, to both manufacturing companies and private persons. At the same time manufacturing companies might decrease if several people make their own products at home. Companies that make and sell descriptions on how to print specific products will likely be created. It is reasonable to think that some regulation might be needed, for example if all types of products is okay to print and how to establish the same quality. The question if a company should print parts to a product themselves or buy the parts from an other company that has 3D printed the parts will likely arise and this might result in a change of the production chains. When the market for 3D printers increase the demand for shops that sell the material to the printer will also increase. Maintenance companies for the 3D printers will also increase in demand.

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  8. The 3D printing industry is changing things, for sure, and at my current office space we are using three printers in order to custom cast parts for small, dynamic and agile projects. That being said, I concur with Gustav K’s comment about the current state of diffusion. Printers are quite cash intensive investments and even if the prototyping capabilities are perfect for small projects, I haven’t heard of industrial parts with proven “wear and tear” track records.

    I suppose, in a theoretical sense, this will shift the “make/buy”-decision at a micro scale. Lower transaction costs on the market in conjunction with transparency of information and knowledge work in favour of the “buy” decision, whereas the decentralized manufacturing possibilites the tech provides, work in favour for the “make”.

    It might seem contradictory, but I believe that these parallel trends will shift many functions in the value chain. If 3D printing truly penetrates the technical and consumer industries, there need to be supply chains entirely focused on the raw material that goes into additive manufacturing. As the technique lowers prototyping costs, new specialist firms will likely emerge. If the quality and precision of the technology increases I think spare part markets together with IP:ed and branded blueprints will be available. That in turn creates space for “Amazon”-like trading environments. The shareable nature of 3D-blueprints might open up micro markets as well where consumers can upload blueprints for sale.

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  9. There is no doubt that 3D printing has great potential to influence the industrial landscape as we know it. In my point of view the far biggest factor to this is where the product is manufactured. The direct approach to this is that the manufacturing moves closer to the end user, whetever this is an industry or the general consumer. In a sense this give rise to a few question in what you can actually offer as a supplier of any product; do you own the product itself? Or do you own the right to print the product?

    This will imply changes in the physical structure of industries as the value of products may be conserved to intelectual property, which in turn leads to a new IPR landscape and coherent roles. For industries there may no longer be a reason to have physical production and storage facilities, and thus changing the core concept of production companies as we know it. Shipping is another industry that has to adapt to the new landscape, as most shipping are production or consumer based, great amounts of this industry will change to the shipping of mere raw materials. Thus may centralize and effectivize the shipping as we know it today.

    Regarding innovation the emergence of 3D printing may also prove as a great force to lower entry barriers created by production of scales. The general population will have greater acces to the market with thei product ideas, and the general Idea-to-Market time will substaincially decrease. All in all leading to a more competitive market landscape.

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  10. The future market of 3D printing has almost only imaginary limits. However, even as the technology progresses and costs are decreasing there are some aspects to whether this technology will be as disruptive as the article suggested. As we find ourselves in a society with more and more focus on sustainability and thusly reducing our carbon footprint, the paradigm regarding 3D printing must shift in order to comply with the needs and resources of the future.

    With that being said; more sustainable materials and increased resource efficiency will probably push the utility of 3D printing even further. In combination with other future technologies as for instance AI can enable makers in the future to drive this development further even in terms of sustainability. On-site constructions can reduce costs associated to transport and provide liberty in terms of design. As the article points out, however, there are issues regarding intellectual property and the protection of these. I think that the market will however provide solutions through trial and error as seen in other cases (i.e. Spotify etc) where intellectual property rights are protected even in a digitalized world.

    The technology will probably see the larger impact initially in the smaller producer segment, as it will shift the cost structure to a large extent at least in the short term.

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  11. 3D printing is surely an exciting innovation. However, as Newsweek reported last year, the 3-D printing bubble have bursted and the interest in this 30 year old technology have somewhat cooled off. Many sceptics claim that the technology, in a private consumer sense, is a gimmick. A way to produce figurines and other “toys”.

    I for one feel that this technology has great potential. For instance, machines and structures in isolated places (cargo ships, off-shore drilling rigs etc.) will surely benefit from being able to produce necessary repair items when needed. However, the technology needs to evolve in order to produce items made from more reliable material such as metal alloys.

    If or when 3D printing becomes a “mainstream” product, we will most likely see new roles emerging in protection of intellectual property as well as suppliers of printing materials.

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  12. The development of this industry is still hard to predict in my opinion. The imagination can spot a lot of potential for 3D printers, both as an object for households but also within firms, to customize tools and equipment. This does not garantuee that it will be as big a game changer as the Financial Times and the Economist predict it to become.

    Wether 3D printing will be a big game changer is largely incumbent upon wether costs can be slashed and quality proven and/or increased. These two things need to happen in order for 3D printers to radicly change the value chain, otherwise it will “just” become highly specialized part of the production units within some firms and a symbol and/or status as a machine for tools

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  13. The development of this industry is still hard to predict in my opinion. The imagination can spot a lot of potential for 3D printers, both as an object for households but also within firms, to customize tools and equipment. This does not garantuee that it will be as big a game changer as the Financial Times and the Economist predict it to become.

    Wether 3D printing will be a big game changer is largely incumbent upon wether costs can be slashed and quality proven and/or increased. These two things need to happen in order for 3D printers to radicly change the value chain, otherwise it will “just” become highly specialized part of the production units within some firms and a symbol and/or status as a machine for tools or the murderedw

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  14. The development of this industry is still hard to predict in my opinion. The imagination can spot a lot of potential for 3D printers, both as an object for households but also within firms, to customize tools and equipment. This does not garantuee that it will be as big a game changer as the Financial Times and the Economist predict it to become.

    Wether 3D printing will be a big game changer is largely incumbent upon wether costs can be slashed and quality proven and/or increased. These two things need to happen in order for 3D printers to radicly change the value chain, otherwise it will “just” become highly specialized part of the production units within some firms and anpart of that its only use will be as an hobby object for technical entusiasts.

    Assuming that the above mentioned changes will come (seem reasonable to assume that) 3D printers should be able to customize many tools and obecjts used with almost all industries, leading to reduced costs for the firms in question. The question will obviously be, can the 3D printers become so cheap and so good that they can beat the price and quality from massproduction. While the biggest upside from 3D printers is saved time (by simplifying logistics), cost and quality will likely be more important in order to create lasting change to the value chain – since those two factors will determine how deep into the market 3D printers can go.

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  15. 3D printing sure is an area with an exciting future. People are talking about the potential of 3D printing and the fact that it is bigger than internet. If it really will be bigger than internet only time will tell, however it is no question that 3D printing will create new business opportunities and change how we create, learn and manufacture, as mentioned by Abe Reichental in the video. Today 3D printing mostly has is use in design prototyping and testing, but most likely it will soon move into the manufacture floor. I think on a short term we will see more 3D printed components in already existing products, such as hearing aids and automobiles. This could potentially make these products cheaper to manufacture and more available around the world.

    On a long term, 3D printing will affect a wide range of industries. I think 3D printers will be available in a larger range with more various designs, some cheaper for home use and some more advanced. I am thinking the final customer will me more involved in the process if they can themselves own the printer and customize the product. Maybe we will see new roles arise there, both with the printing process (the material and help services) or the planning before (the blueprints). No matter I think it will be important to be one of the first players to create a brand that customers recognize and trust.

    I think some problems with legislation will appear. If people can print their own products it will be much easier and cheaper to illegally download blueprints and create the product themselves instead of getting it from a manufacturer. Also someone needs to protect different patents and products that can be dangerous (e.g. weapons). Long term I think we will see a much larger impact on different industries when traditional production no longer can compete with the more advanced production using 3D technology but the effect of this will almost certainly take a couple of years.

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  16. 3D printing is a global game-changer, assuming it can be widely adopted as a commonplace utility, and the scope of this can’t be fitted into this post. Just think, as an example, of how it will upset the national security of a country if its citizens suddenly are able to print parts that can be assembled together into a firearm. Or how it will change the transport industry, as we no longer have to travel very far to get what we want, or waste precious materials on packaging. It will definitely shift the line between consumers and producers. Why buy stuff we can make?

    I think that the manufacturing industry will be the main force in terms of bringing costs down and driving up the quality of the machines. It has so much to gain, since many incredibly complex parts now can be built and “forged” on the spot, instead of travelling around on conveyor belts between specialized tools. 3D printing is already used today in manufacturing to create physical prototypes of products.

    Who will provide the blueprints? I think the answer to this question is aking towards the answer to who is providing our Youtube videos. I believe the blueprints will be shared among large blueprint communities made up of individual contributions, like today’s open source projects.

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  17. I believe the 3D printer will in time be used in several situations; in the manufacturing industries, at home and also as a way of making art. This will create three niches within the industry where different actors will be specified in one or two of them. Of course, the 3D printers themselves have to be differently shaped for each customer market, but also their value chain actors will be different.

    There will be actors teaching in different ways of how to use a 3D printer, manuals and similar but also courses directed to the private users. The wide use of the printer will imply an increased plastic consumption. Furthermore, new companies will be established, developing new, stronger, thinner, less weighted, cheaper and colored materials. Others might provide pre-designed models software and models, customized for the home users where they can easily print out a plastic glass for example. Since sustainability is a trend right now, I assume some companies will try to earn money in collecting the “trash” or the models with errors and melt it down to produce new materials.

    The 3D printers take copying to a new level, and a greater access and diffusion of printers implies an increased value for the 3D scanners as well, whose demand successively will rise. Companies providing a combination of the two innovations is not impossible in the future.

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  18. Regarding 3d printing in the future I would suggest that we eventually will face a revolution were the technology is being refined to the extent where it can be applied in almost any global manufacturing corporation. It could both be used to produce prototypes and minimum viable products as well as help companies to provide more customized solutions to customers, but without knowledge or forecasts about how the manufacturing industries will be shaped, the many predictions about future success are only vague. I strongly believe that there is a great potential, but the technology must be quickly more widespread in the manufacturing industries to gain a more beneficial position in the value chains to be able to withstand changing conditions.

    Today, conversely according to my own impression is that only the early adopters have embraced the technology and if the concept is to be more widespread amongst an early majority more players from manufacturing industries must implement the 3d printer into their businesses. However according to my own impression and the article, we might suggest that we are not there yet in terms of diffusion and the concept seems to not have been implemented to the extent that one could imagine, but this might only be a matter of time if the corporations play their cards right…

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  19. 3D printing has the potential to make personalization and small scale production a basic feature in society. The technology is still far away from its full potential but I am sure that in the future, everything that can be designed and customized in any way; will be.

    Today, 3D printed goods don’t have the same solidity and are limited regarding what materials can be used. This would have to improve for the technology to be truly disruptive. Also, 3D printing for consumers needs to become more user friendly, removing the technical expertise or money needed to be able to print something with specific alterations. This could be provided as an interface making it easy to alternate the design within limits to keep functionality. On the other end the demand for designers to do more advanced customizations will increase.

    But maybe the quality of 3D printed goods will never meet the quality and materialistic diversity standards of traditionally manufactured products and then I don’t think it will be able to compete.

    But I like to imagine a future where you can recycle yesterdays shoes and print new ones from the material!

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  20. I totally agree with the idea of 3D printing being as big as the internet. There is just endless potential, and once the printers can print in any material, from atom level and up, then everything will change. But to be within a reasonable horizon, I still think 3D printing will change a lot of industries. People will not go to IKEA, they will browse a virtual shop, where anyone can post 3d-models. You can inspect them in detail, and the supply of unique designs will be massive. Anyone could of course create their own blueprint, but I think people won’t have time for that and will browse the community inventory. People will create exclusive blueprints that are protected with copyright and can only be printed in one version to create scarcity out of abundance.

    Big companies like IKEA would now only own a huge 3d printer where people send their orders, pay for the exact amount of material needed for that specific blueprint, and then get it sent home. All of their resources would be channelled into fast and effective 3d printers, good logistics as everything would be “just-in-time” and aim to improve recycling of materials. They should also make sure to host the best platform for these 3d models and encourage people to upload their own schemas and then split some percentage with the creator.

    I don’t really see people owning their own printer however local stores could have them and work as a nearby stop where one could send small blueprints for decorations, cutlery and other temporary items for events etc. These items can later be fully recycled for almost a full refund.

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  21. I believe that 3D-printing is the future in manufacturing. Even though I believe that there exists a future where individual consumers have 3D-printers in their homes, I find it difficult to believe that 3D-printing will make people want to produce items at home instead of going out and purchasing them in physical stores.

    Instead, I believe that we will see a continued disruption within the manufacturing industry. Today, companies are able to create prototypes at a rapid pace and methods of production are shifting from push to pull. By doing this, companies are able to offer mass customized items, which is useful in the healthcare industry and is particularly important when creating prostheses or other parts that are to replace parts on a human body.

    If 3D-printing was to become increasingly cheaper and if more materials could be used in the modelling process, the industry dynamics would certainly change. A decentralization of manufacturing would take place as it would be more affordable and practical to handle the manufacturing locally instead of outsourcing the task to companies in low wage countries. The need for logistics and warehouses would also drop drastically as products would be made to order instead of being pushed. Competition from small businesses would increase as 3D-printing would eliminate the dependence on complicated manufacturing processes.

    Additionally, consumers would most likely be more involved in the actual design and function of the products than they are today. This would increase governments’ responsibilities when it comes to quality assurance. Because if the amount of competition increases based on the fact that the market for 3D-printing is easy to enter, then the quality will most likely have a high variability. So how do you classify the quality of so many different products and who owns the intellectual property in the end? These are questions for the future.

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  22. I don’t know that much about the 3D-printing market from before, so I have probably missed a lot of things, but I don’t see it becoming as big as some predict. I can of course see where it can be very interesting and good to use this technology in certain companies, but that it would be popular among normal families I can’t really see, yet. Until it can create more complex electrical products or edibles, then I don’t really why people would use it. Before it can be used in the manufacturing business it needs to be able to operate much faster. It can’t take 45 minutes to create at little tower. It’s very useful to create prototypes or other things when you only need a few unique parts, but for mass manufacturing? No.

    The two most important new roles would be designer/provider of the printing schemes, and seller of the 3D-printing material. Those are the two vital parts of the value chain that needs to exist for the market to exist. Even if it becomes popular among normal household, I don’t think that most people will be able to design everything on their own, especially not if it can print more complex things. So, companies selling different designs would be very important and have a lot of potential for growth.

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  23. There is indeed a lot of hype surrounding 3D-printing. However, I think there is a long way to go before the technology can be categorized as disruptive (by the classical definition).

    I think that the Gartner Hype Cykle illustrates the position for consumer 3D-printing in a plausible way. The value proposition for house holds is still quite weak, in my opinion.

    What Abe is selling me in the video is the possibility to spend a thousand dollars for a printer, pay three more dollars and wait for 2.5 hours — for neon napkin holder. I’m not rushing to the 3D-printer store.

    However, I believe there are areas which the 3D-printers can greatly improve. Rapid prototyping is one of these areas. The possibility of fast iteration have revolutionized how software is built and how companies use customers in the innovation process.

    Startups that work with hardware often struggle because of the need of huge capital investments up front. Making a MVP and testing the idea is also much harder and more expensive. 3D-printing might be the trigger that kicks off the hard-ware revolution.

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  24. I do think 3D printing will change manufacturing industries in the future, as postulated in both the Economist and Financial Times articles. As mentioned 3D printing can be considered to be about to enter the Slope of enlightenment in the Gartner Hype Cycle, meaning that the phase where industry structures emerge and establish themselves just may be on the way. As mentioned by the Economist, I think that governments may work against the change with the purpose of protecting existing structures and jobs, slowing down the process with rules and regulations.

    3D printing entails that a consumer owning a 3D printer becomes a producer, changing the entire industry structure, as described by the Economist. I think that the Economist is right in that the new key roles will be centred around the 3D technology itself, e.g. software engineers and blueprint designers. Owning the blueprints and data may give a powerful network role.

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  25. If 3D printing will be as influential as it is stated in the interview with Abe Reichental, it will first be used by companies in the R&D process and in manufacturing where individual design and huge precision of the making is needed. In time, machines will reach the home of the consumer and this is where I think we will be seeing the real revolutionary things happening. This because every home becomes their own factories where individuals creates and sell products that are unique. Or you may just find a product on the net, download it and have it in your hands minutes later, making the whole process cheaper than ordering something online.

    New roles to grow in importance in this industry are companies that offers to design things for consumers, digital designers and architects. There will also probably be a growing need for companies to do certifications to ensure that your products is of good quality.

    To reach the full potential of 3D printing, ”When in need of anything, whenever ”, I believe the availability of materials and fast deliveries will be of most importance. When/if this is in place, 3D printing will take over the world.

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  26. The 3D-printer sure has an exciting future ahead. However I question if the prize and quality will ever reach the level required for a widespread home use. I think it is more probable that we will have 3D-print shops and maybe simple table-printer more for fun. But this still implies a change in the value chain. The products can be printed closer to home, disrupting the transport industry. I believe that for lager factories other production techniques still will be more efficient. But for smaller companies without the possibility to invest in a large factory 3D printing lowers the entry barriers to the market.

    Another problem arising from a more widespread use of 3D printing is the legal issue. The difficulty of protecting intellectual property and the possibility of printing dangerous objects e.g. weapons both require quick modifications in legislation.

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  27. 3D-printing is certainly an exciting industry with a lot of potential. It can either be used at homes but also in the manufacturing industry. Although the initial hype has cooled down we can now see examples of successful applications in for example aviation products and medical products. Some benefits for 3D printing today are: complex geometries at low cost and minimized material consumption compared to traditional manufacturing methods.

    However for 3D printing to really change the industry the quality needs to be improved and more materials need to be available. I don’t think that 3D printing will disrupt the entire industry but will probably be regarded as a vital complimentary technique. Instead we will probably see some combination of traditional manufacturing methods with 3D printing and focus on overall costs and the quality of the final product.

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  28. When it comes to 3D printing I think at one company in Germany called SLM Solutions that provides professional 3D-printer to additive manufacturing. In regard of their stock value it is assumeable that this is one trend that is ongoing. The value of this trend is not the mass prodution as it is not the fastest technology. But in terms of building complex structures it is faster and cheaper to use and this is conducted on the aircraft industry. Furthermore it gives opportunities in service industries.
    But that until this technology will be used in the broad majority, it is necessary for people to be able to design the parts to be printed or possibilities to get part models. There will be a huge barriers as companies are not willing to give away their knowledge of product development. Additionaly people have to actually use them, as I have a friend that has a 3D printer since 4 years who did print only a few things. This trend has nevertheless the opportunity to change indusrties radically.

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  29. 3D printing is changing how rapid prototyping is conceived and executed. With new technology emerging they are becoming vastly more available and allows for a number of uses across a variety of industries.

    As of today, they are not as accurate as other RP-methods but they possess other strengths that can outweigh and compete on different factors.

    The most interesting thing about 3D printing and additive manufacturing for me is the possibility for home appliances and I think that is where we will se an increase for the coming years, how desktop 3D-printers will be cheaper and more available allowing for different possibilities for new opportunities to be thought of and easier to implement.

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  30. I’m sceptic of this technology on many levels. I do not believe that 3D printing (creating plastic items) will ever be able to compete with the speed and low cost efficiency of a large scale factory. This implies that printers will not enter the home market as a substitute for buying plastic items from your local store. Furthermore, 3D printing requires material with exceptional capabilities in terms of solidification speed (otherwise this would be just like casting an item from a mold). As of now there are few materials capable of this, limiting the range of possible products produced. Thirdly, as mentioned we have environmental issues.

    3D printing will be limited to creating niche customized products at a rather high cost.

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  31. I can not think of any hardware industry that does not involve some method of manufacturing. Judging by the current potential and 3D-print evolution thus far, it seems that we will be able to print all sorts of materials and products, even organic ones.

    Both new and existing companies develop new products all the time. Prototyping constitutes an important role in the early stages of innovation. 3D-printing will enable much faster hardware prototyping and I think we will see organizations specialized in enabling this for third parties.

    I also think it will revolutionize industries or parts of current businesses that revolves around wide product assortments but low sales volume per product. This is often afflicted with non cost effective production and long shipping times for the end customer. A good example of this is spare parts. 3D printing will instead enable production on demand, on the spot.

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  32. I think it is interesting to reflect upon to which extent 3D printing will give us the possibility to print products at home. Having end consumers print the product means that we will have new roles, such as providing raw material for the customer. This change will not only affect the transporting industry, since manufacturing is moved from the traditional facilities, but also the packaging industry: if the product could be printed in the home of the end customer, no packaging would be needed.

    Another role that I think we will be seeing is local 3D printing providers, just like there are traditional printing services. To what extent printing services will be offered will however depend on the price of a 3D printer.

    Lastly, I think we are going to see a shift in the value proposition, where companies will go from providing products to providing a design.

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  33. The 3D printer is a fairly new product and the “hype” about it have not yet faded. It creates conflict in some aspects and possibilities in others. The problems that occur are that it is easier to copy someone else’s product just by taking a picture and then printing it. It is also difficult to know if the produced product is safe to use or not. But it also creates a lot of opportunities. You can print your own designs or bought prints in your own home. It opens up a lot of new different business opportunities in different areas. But the most beautiful, in my opinion, is the possibility to maybe print organs or other body parts. It still very early but hopefully this could save lives in the future and spare suffering.

    The range of the 3D printers is broad, the small ones we can have at home but also the big, very expansive ones. The printers are constantly improving and maybe soon we can have bigger printers that are cheaper even in our homes. I think the 3D printers are here to stay and more and more companies are using them in their daily work, one example is IKEA.

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