3D Printing

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Supply Chains Built for Speed and Customization

Thanks to emerging technologies like 3-D printing, manufacturers can offer consumers customized products and do so with unprecedented speed. Intrigued by a new product you saw in a YouTube video? Well, someday soon you may be able to personalize it, order it via the company’s website, and have it in your hands in a matter of days. But to enable this phenomenon at scale, an entirely new model of supply chain is required.

Getting Past the Hype About 3-D Printing

Despite the promise of additive manufacturing, the authors argue, near-term expectations about how 3-D printing will revolutionize manufacturing are overblown. Much of the technology is still being hammered out, and the authors examine three important myths about additive manufacturing.

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The Killer App for 3D Printing? The Circular Economy

3D printing is currently a niche technology — but it has the potential to help us completely alter how we use and reuse materials to make custom goods. As a technology, it offers 3 factors that define sustainable systems: (1) materials parsimony, (2) power autonomy, and (3) value cycling. Guest editor Gregory Unruh explains how 3D printing represents a sustainability game-changer.

New Balance 3D printed shoes

With 3-D Printing, the Shoe Really Fits

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Few new technologies receive more intense interest than 3-D printing, with some predicting that it will revolutionize manufacturing. That promise remains emergent. But it is taking shape in some industries, such as shoes. The shoe company New Balance thinks that within five years it will custom-make shoes with 3-D printers. And there are already entrepreneurial fashion designers trying to leverage 3-D printing to build up their presence in the market.

Image courtesy of Ultimaker.

Innovation Lessons From 3-D Printing

3-D printing is the printing of solid, physical 3-D objects. “Just as the Web democratized innovation in bits, a new class of ‘rapid prototyping’ technologies…is democratizing innovation in atoms,” Wired magazine’s longtime editor-in-chief, Chris Anderson, stated in “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.” Indeed, open-source 3-D printing fits in with the general trend of open-source innovation by collaborative online communities. The big question: How should existing companies respond?

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