Oct.16, 2012

The Big Innovation Centre, an initiative of The Work Foundation and Lancaster University writes in their recent report "Three Dimensional Policy: Why Britain needs a policy framework for 3D" that UK government needs to create a more flexible intellectual property framework and to begin developing a policy plan for 3D printing.

3D printing could transform the global manufacturing industry and redistribute jobs around the world. It could become a major source of economic growth and significant environmental benefit for UK. But there are also challenges that must be overcome before 3D printing reaches a mass market, such as intellectual property laws, regulations to control guns and illegal objects. On top of that, 3D printing will need new infrastructures, new standards to make it work and to help it mature and develop.

"Manufacturing, the industry that 3D printing will disrupt, is far more important than the music industry and the risks have far more serious implications, so the government cannot afford to ignore these issues for any longer." said Andrew Sissons, report co-author and researcher at the Big Innovation Centre.

The report examines what a mass market for 3D printing might look like in the future, where 3D printer will be used, outlining a global market for designs, materials for 3D printing and if 3D printing will replace current manufacturing processes.

Fellow co-author and researcher Spencer Thompson said: "From the production of household goods to transplanted organs, the possibilities are endless. The government must not ignore this opportunity to inject some much-needed growth into the UK economy." The Engineer reports.

They write in the report, "3D printing is likely to create opportunities for designers, engineers, technicians, software programmers and other such occupations, but likely to reduce production jobs, which will have implications for the UK's skill mix. ..The UK's best chance to become a world leader in 3D printing is to develop working markets early, before they are perfected in other places. ..This will require government to act with foresight, and to remove regulatory barriers to innovation and market growth in this area."

we recommend that the government should:

 

* Create a 3D printing task force, led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), able to bring together ideas from business and academia, while co-ordinating the various levers of government policy;

 

* Scope a review of the intellectual property implications of 3D printing, building on the work of the Hargreaves Review;

 

* Fund the establishment of more pilot 3D printing workshops, to enable members of the public to experiment with the technology;

 

* Develop models for and explore the feasibility of a digital design exchange, analogous to the mooted digital copyright exchange;

 

* Provide funding for competitions to develop new materials for 3D printing; and

 

* Commission research and feasibility studies into possible methods for regulating 3D printing markets, particularly with regard to the production of dangerous items.

To read or download the full report, click here (PDF).


Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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