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How 3D printing technology changes the rules of the game: Insights from the construction sector

Ivo Kothman (Lectoraat Business Development, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Deventer, The Netherlands)
Niels Faber (Lectoraat Business Development, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Deventer, The Netherlands)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 5 September 2016

5684

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present several insights on how disruptive technologies potentially impact the eco-performance of entire supply chains, by providing performance improvements compared to existing technologies, enabling more efficient manufacturing methods and affecting the entire structure of the supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

To illustrate the authors’ position, a case from the construction sector is presented, for which the feasibility and impact of 3D printing technology has been studied. The empirical study focuses on the effect of the use of 3D printing technology on the building supply chain, aimed primarily at manufacturing companies in construction, but including suppliers, architects and designers as well.

Findings

3D printing of concrete potentially provides several improvements in manufacturing performance, such as a shortening of lead times, integration of functions and allowing for reduced material usage, therefore possibly turning production steps within the construction supply chain obsolete while also reducing logistical and production efforts.

Research limitations/implications

Whether disruptive technologies other than 3D printing have a similar potential is unknown. Though the case study shows the potential of disruptive technologies in impacting supply chains, the authors realize that more empirical work is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper lies in relating disruptive technological advancements to manufacturing technologies and transitions of supply chains’ eco-performance.

Keywords

Citation

Kothman, I. and Faber, N. (2016), "How 3D printing technology changes the rules of the game: Insights from the construction sector", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 27 No. 7, pp. 932-943. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-01-2016-0010

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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