Mar.18, 2012

Every year, ABN AMRO Bank in the Netherlands publishes analyzes and studies in various industries and sectors to shares its knowledge and vision. "Dutch industry is put upside down by the advent of 3D printing and co-creation", written by David Kemps, Sector Banker Industry, ABN AMRO Sector Advisory, in its new industry report, "Hype, Haarlemmerolie of harde waardecreatie?"(Hype, Haarlemmerolie or hard value creation?)

Wohlers Report 2011 forecasts the revenues produced by all additive manufacturing products and services to reach $3.1 billion by 2016 and $5.2 billion by 2020. For Dutch entrepreneurs these figures mean a shift of work. Kemps says this has major implications for the Dutch market. "What is certain is that there will more unexpected, unimagined successes. Real innovations."

3D printing: a game-changer for the industry

According to Wohlers Associates, more than 20% of the output of 3D printers is now final products rather than prototypes. The firm predicts this figure will rise to 50% by 2020.

Kemp: "Industrial production method is facing big changes. Nobody can say exactly where the developments will end, but in recent years they have developed quite fast and the results are amazing. In addition to products
for consumers, there are also customization demands for small quantities in B2B." "A good example is Mobile Parts Hospital, MPH. It is a mini-factory where almost all spare parts for an army can be produced on the spot with 3D printing. MPH is as large as two containers can be hold in a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and then on a truck to be transported to the battlefield." The MPH has a high speed satellite data link, which enables it to obtain the CAD file for a part. The only required material is metal powder such as titanium. The spare parts have in most cases better quality than the original parts and they are much cheaper(because the air freight and manufacturer mark ups to pay for maintaining the part in inventory).

China on your desk

Chris Dibona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google, said you'd better see 3D printer as China on your desk. Kemp explains, the price of consumer 3D printers will decrease to 300 euro in 2015. And at the same time, demand for 3D software is increasing. SolidWorks, Rhino, SketchUp (Google) and Blender will have to adapt their software as much as possible
to the needs of the consumer. In such a case, low-wage countries will no longer be the workshop of the world.

Medical sector leads the way

The 3D printers are getting better and cheaper - the medical sector is precursor. Half of the hearing aids in the world are already being made with 3D printing and implantation of a 3D printed jaw stond in all the front pages.

Revolution in distribution and logistics

A nice benefit for industry is the "just in time" production. If most of the spare parts for cars, washing machines, printers, computers, machinery are not necessarily stored in expensive distribution centers, if they can be produced only when they are needed, there will be revolution in distribution and logistics system. As such, a company's inventories can be raw materials and in-house manufactured goods, such as semi-finished goods.

The FabLabs are still new in the Netherlands, most are only

several years old, but it will not take long before everyone realizes, laboratories are not only for engineering students, scientists, R&D engineers from industry, but ordinary people can also use to experiment and print their designs with 3D printers.

Intellectual property

Kemp emphasizes an important topic in co-creation and 3D printing. The value lies increasingly in the design and development process but immediately the problems will occur. Kemp: "How do you deal with intellectual property and copyright of an innovation or product? If you do not properly deal with it, you can be landed in some precarious situations. Make sure you think about it in advance and state it in contract as clear as possible."


Studies show that engines are much more efficient if 3D printing can provide well-designed cooling channels to get rid of heat. Engines
can thus be made in much smaller size. 3D printing offers more freedom, possibility to make light and strong structures and saving on resources.
Examples from the aerospace industry shows their products are 60% lighter by using 3D printing technology. In traditional metal working processes such as milling and drilling, sometimes more than half of the material are thrown away. With 3D printing much less raw material will be wasted.

Ideas are more important

For companies, the quality of the idea will be more important. The value of the industry lies thus more in the design, development and managerial
Process. Using modern 3D printing techniques a prototype can be made with a relative small investment.

Kemp's research concludes that 3D printing may initiate a reverse development for many business chains such as outsourcing. Outsourcing will no longer be necessary, components or products made in low-wage countries can be made locally on the spot with similar production cost.

Michell Zappa, American tech watcher from Envisioningtech, has a fascinating infographic attempting to lay out timelines for future technologies over the next 25 years, based on academic literature and magazines. He estimated the impact of technical innovation to the ultimate consumer and additive manufacturing, tablets and cloud computing are on the roll for 2012.

Source: ABN AMRO


Posted in 3D Printing Technology


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Raymond Tutor wrote at 3/19/2012 6:54:10 PM:

This Dutch bank is clearly a sharp follower of relatively unknown developments that are going to be of great importance for business changes. Never heard of ABN AMRO, but I will be following these guys !

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