As manufacturing goes digital, a third great change is now gathering pace. It will allow things to be made economically in much smaller numbers, more flexibly and with a much lower input of labour, thanks to new materials, completely new processes such as 3D printing, easy-to-use robots and new collaborative manufacturing services available online. The wheel is almost coming full circle, turning away from mass manufacturing and towards much more individualised production. And that in turn could bring some of the jobs back to rich countries that long ago lost them to the emerging world.
In a Special Report on Manufacturing and Innovation, recently published by The Economist, “A Third Industrial Revolution” discusses the implications of additive manufacturing (particularly 3D printing). Amidst the increasing efficiency of manufacturing factories, decreasing cost of labor, and the expanding pool of available materials, small and medium-sized firms are gaining more capabilities.
And the effects will not be confined to large manufacturers; indeed, they will need to watch out because much of what is coming will empower small and medium-sized firms and individual entrepreneurs. Launching novel products will become easier and cheaper.
If you’re interested in accessing the benefits of 3D printing for your own business, visit our website, RapidMade.com, to learn more!