A recently published Deloitte report titled “Matching strengths: A new wave of corporate alliances may be on the horizon,” highlights how business uncertainties stemming from globalization, changing demand patterns, and technological developments seems to have led to increased mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the US in the past three years.1 These trends have touched the additive manufacturing (AM) sector—an area we’ve covered in depth over the years. M&A deals in AM are increasing in size and pace, particularly in the US, where many non-traditional 3D companies have entered the market.
We’ve just come back from the RAPID + TCT 2017 conference this week, a platform for specialists from various organizations to showcase their latest applications in the 3D printing space.1
Posted by Vikram Rajan
As the general public becomes more aware of the game-changing capabilities of additive manufacturing (AM), some very creative minds are pushing the envelope and exploring new product designs and new ways of manufacturing old products. Their work is critical, driving AM innovation that unshackles product and part design from the restrictions of traditional manufacturing. This brings AM intellectual property (IP) considerations into the limelight. (Check out “3D opportunity for intellectual property risk” to see how this topic that offers significant opportunities and challenges.)
Beyond innovative product design, AM portends even greater changes. This is because with AM the value of a product rests in the design–the manufacturing can be performed by any business or individual with a 3D printer capable of handling the print job. Transmitting product designs, which boils down to just digital information, to anyone who is interested can be done between potential end users. This might dissuade designers from investing time and effort into creating new products. Serious thought should be given to finding a sustainable way forward that is designed to keep both designers and customers incentivized. Without this, it may be difficult to turn AM into a universally adopted manufacturing method, taking it past the realm of rapid prototyping and novelty knick-knacks.
Posted by Kelly Monahan
3D printing was introduced over 30 years ago, although a recently released research study suggests that few organizations are actively using 3D printers as part of their core business operations.1 Rather, many organizations are in the process of evaluating the technology or toying with its rapid prototyping capabilities. However, the implications of incorporating 3D printing can be immense across all sizes of organizations. While many of today’s 3D printing news stories focus on the large corporations utilizing its capabilities, we were interested in understanding the impact it can have on smaller organizations. How difficult is it for small businesses to adopt this technology? Are they gaining a competitive advantage and seeing an ROI on their investment?