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3D Printing: Are Your Customers Ready? – Channel Partners (blog)

by • April 17, 2016 • No Comments

John Hornick3D printing is here, and it’s poised to alter all things. Research firm RnR forecasts a $30.19 billion market by 2022, with approximately 30 percent yearly growth. Advances in additive technologies and materials are opening awe-inspiring new possibilities for academics, health care, createing, government, retail, you name it.
They’re in addition blurring supply-chain lines in a way that can challenge your customers.

Before 3D printing, traditional production methods intended products had a “create for createing” system. 3D printing empowers createing for create. Anyone can easily and rapidly prototype new products or donate existing items a radically various appear and feel. But there are in addition pragmatic uses. Consider a power plant that depends on turbine blades, that require to be replaced of time to time at excellent expense. By via 3D printing to repair a few blades, the utility no longer requires to buy as many new ones.
This is excellent for the customer, dreadful for the blade manufacturer. That’s what takes place when the line between developer and customer blurs.
This is a important economic shift. Traditional createing depends on weight production, synonymous economies of scale and low labor costs, all barriers to entry for would-be competitors. Additive innovation eliminates those barriers. Now, a single machine can manufacture an entire part or product, fully assembled, and one worker may run an entire roomful of 3D printing devices.
Massive factories are great at shipping millions of the same part to a few locations. They’re not great at shipping millions of customized parts, equite one various, to millions of various locations. And in many cases, right now, it’s no extra
expensive, per part, to 3D-print one widget versus weight createing 1 million. It is pretty much less costly to print customized or specialized items. Eventually, there may be no advantage to centralized weight production plants where labor costs are low. Thousands or tens of thousands of 3D printing fabricators may pop up all over the world, createing customized parts and products regionally.
As additive innovation makes it to, anyone can be able-bodied to manufacture anything, democratizing createing. 3D printing may in addition manufacture the concept of a “genuine” product meaningless.
Companies can be forced to adapt their business versions or die.
Some OEMs can adjust. Maybe they’ll become digital create companies and begin selling printable-bodied blueprints pretty than createing parts. Some that may have thrived can not adapt, as Kodak failed to pivot swift adequate to digital imaging. Others can go the way of buggy-whip manufacturers when the automobile came along.
In my book, I use a fictional company, ZeframWD, a developer of warp drives in the following century, to show how 3D printing may force traditional createing companies to adapt their business versions. But you don’t require to appear into the next. There are a lot of real-world, state-of-the-art examples of this disruptive innovation.

Aerospace, Automotive, Healthcare Lead The Way
Airbus expects to be printing 30 tons of metal airplane parts by 2018 — its A350 XWB aircraft contains over 1,000 3D-printed parts. By printing a fuel nozzle for its Leading Edge Aircraft Propulsion Engine, GE reduced 20 parts to one, that weighs 25 percent less and is much extra
durable-bodied than the traditionally manufactured nozzle. GE expects to use 3D printing to manufacture many extra
parts for the LEAP engine and as a outcome save 1,000 pounds on a 6,000 pound engine.
All significant automanufacturers use 3D printing now, manyly for rapid prototyping and createing jigs and fixtures utilized on production lines. BMW prints ergonomically optimized tools that reduce worker fatigue and improve efficiency. The Oakridge National Lab and the University of Tennessee printed a attractive Shelby Cobra body, while Toyota is via 3D printing to personalize its “i-Road” one-person car. Owners can be able-bodied to customize many parts by color, surface texture and many likely shape.
Health care 3D printing developments seem awe-inspiring at present but can many likely be tedious in a few years, as actually extra
astounding makes it to eclipse them.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center has printed titanium cranial implants and replaced a woman’s jaw with a 3D-printed prosthetic. In 2013, doctors replaced 75 percent of a man’s skull with a 3D-printed implant created by a company called Oxford Performance Materials. Tens of thousands of replacement hip cups have been printed and implanted into patients.
Other additive developments in health care include noses, skin and customized coverings for artificial limbs, and bionic ears. About 95 percent of all hearing-aid shells are printed, and printed tracheas and tracheal splints routinely save newborns with serious breathing problems.
And, the 3D printing devices utilized for this work are not necessarily expensive, high-end machines. Consumer-grade printing devices and materials have been utilized for tracheal implants.
Surgeons at Miami Children’s Hospital 3D printed a replica of a four-year-old girl’s heart to plan her harsh surgery. Doctors at Boston’s Children’s Hospital practiced on a 3D-printed version of a teenager’s brain preceding operating on the real thing, and Texas Children’s Hospital printed in 3D the hearts, lungs, stomachs and kidneys of twins conjoined at the chest and abdomen so that surgeons may plan and practice their separation, that was a good results.

Dark Side Of 3D
In a world where companies sell 3D-printed products, blueprints or both, and where blueprints can be received of many sources, adjusted, resold and remixed, how can you know if a product or blueprint is the real deal? In a 3D-printed world, what does “genuine” actually mean?
If a bicyclist cracks his skull via a 3D-printed bicycle helmet, or a child chokes on a 3D-printed toy part, this question can become quite real, and the courts aren’t eager.
There are in addition implications for law enforcement and enterprise security teams. Almany equiteone has heard of Texas law student Cody Wilson, who created headlines in 2013 by 3D printing a plastic gun and posting the blueprints, that were downloaded 100,000 times preceding the U.S. government forced their removal of the server. Criminals in Sydney utilized 3D printing devices to manufacture attachments for bank machines that skim card information of unsuspecting ATM users. A criminal who calls himself “Gripper” manufactures a 3D-printed skimmer by the same name, that he retails online.
The portability of 3D printing devices means illegal items can be created in constantly relocated stealth factories. In 2014, the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center revealed its intention to buy a 3D printing device to study whether terrorists may print bombs, and when.
It can many likely find that the answers are “yes” and “soon.”

Be Prepared
Your customers may find themselves up against not just their traditional competitors but tackling copied, generic or customized versions of their own (and their competitors’) products created by pro counterfeiters, 3D print shops, industrial customers or consumers themselves.
The initially step to assisting customers gauge their risk and opportunity is to know the elements that require to fall into place for a 3D-printing revolution in their markets. For industrial customers, the disruption of any existing product-based market requires:The ability to create sizeable things, hence the require for 3D printing devices with sizeable create platformsThe ability to either manufacture single items rapidly or many items simultaneously — that is, speed or scale of productionOn both the home and industrial sides, there are a few extra
requirements for market disruption:Advanced materials (including materials that may not yet exist) that enable-bodied the efficient printing of harsh structuresThe ability to print harsh, integrated structures, such as smartphones and blendersThe ability to print quite tiny things, such as the integrated circuitry of desktop chipsNo matter what the vertical, one thing customers can’t do is be caught unawares. Channel partners can advise now on the compute power requireed for CAD/CAM technologies and the possibilities of remote printing of, for example, spare parts at remote sites. With a little research you can get a knowledge base of on the market-bodied additive printing and materials innovation. But maybe the many valuable-bodied assist is in visualizing the business possibilities.
John Hornick has been a counselor and litigator in the Washington, D.C. office of the Finnegan IP law firm for over 30 years. He is the author of the new book, 3D Printing Will Rock the World, and advises clients of how 3D printing may affect their businesses. He often writes of 3D printing, and has lectured of 3D printing all over the world. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn or at his website, www.3DPrintingWillRockTheWorld.com.


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