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As a transformative technology, 3D printing has had a long gestation, but its perception as one of the most significant inventions ever is about to become much more widespread. With fast-evolving techniques, applications and printed materials, including metals, 3D printing is becoming a critical tool from prototyping to final production across industries.
This article examines the business trends driving the wider uptake of 3D printing and the technology trends that are enabling it to broaden its scope to less traditional industries. We explore how a range of different sectors are now starting to use 3D printing, including for food production and within resources industries, such as oil and gas.
The case for 3D printing will vary between organizations and sectors: it may be rooted in issues such as pricing pressure, increasing customer requirements or the operational challenges of responding to customer needs quickly enough. Overall, though, 3D printing can help companies to gain competitive advantage, improve their position in the value chain, achieve growth and increase the efficiency of their supply chain and operations.