Whilst at first considered to be a novelty concept, 3D printing is now starting to have an important impact on several industries in the modern world.
According to official statistics, the 3D printing industry is now worth more than an estimated $7 billion (approx. £5.3 billion) in today’s market. Experts predict this figure to grow even further during 2019 and all the way into 2022. With 3D printing proving to be such a valuable area for companies and individuals to get involved with, it is now starting to influence several industries. Here is a closer look at some recent examples.
3D Printing in the Automotive Industry
Whilst the concept of a car being created using 3D printing is still yet to be completely realised, it has been instrumental in developing new parts and enhancing the customisation of vehicles. With this, we need not look any further than some recent news from the vehicle manufacturer MINI. In order to allow deeper customisation of their vehicles, the company announced new tools which will allow customers to modify features of their car with an app named MINI Yours Customised. Better still, the new customisable parts will be possible to install away from a factory or any MINI dealership. The parts will also meet the high levels of car safety that are required on all roads due to being subject to several crash and durability tests. This innovation has opened the door up to other vehicle manufacturers to create customised parts and vehicle features on the fly.
3D Printing in the Medical Industry
With the persistent strain that the Medical industry is under in the current climate, could we see medication 3D printed in the future? Research carried out in 2017 by a team at the University of Michigan may hint at this being the case. The method they tested allowed the printing of multiple medications onto a dissolvable strip, microneedle patch or any other dosing device in a singular dosage. If brought to the Medical industry, 3D printed medication could have several advantages in speeding up the development of new drugs and the testing process behind them.
For patients, these benefits could prove to be enormous, particularly for those who must take several forms of medication daily or have to consume a mixture of pharmaceutical drugs regularly. Whilst we may be a few years away from seeing 3D printed medication brought to the table, it could certainly revolutionise the way we think about medicine.
3D Printing in the Construction Industry
Considered as the industry that 3D printing has had more focus on in the past few years, the Construction world has already seen benefits of additive manufacturing and 3D printing. One of the clearest examples of this is an autonomous 3D printer that was able to print a house in 14 hours. The printer itself differs from most traditional systems as it is not fixed onto a structure. The free moving system can create an object of any size that the user desires.
To highlight its capabilities, researchers used a prototype of the printer to create a basic housing structure. The structure, consisting of a 12-foot-high dome with a 50-foot diameter, took only 14 hours to create via 3D printing. For those involved in construction, this can be best seen as a game-changer in the industry, as it could allow for homes and other building to be printed much quicker and more efficiently than standard construction practices.
We’ve covered the main three industries we believe have been impacted by 3D printing in this article, but what do you think? Is there an industry that you think we might have missed?
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