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3D printing will affect global commodity markets

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Subject

3D printing and its ramifications for commodities.

Significance

General Electric (GE) calls 3D printing "the next industrial revolution". The technique promises to disrupt the manufacturing process, including supply and distribution chains, and to eliminate waste while producing superior and otherwise unmakeable components and reducing marginal costs. 3D printing currently consumes negligible amounts of commodities, but, as adoption expands, it may start affecting commodity supply chains.

Impacts

  • Wide adoption of 3D printing will reduce manufacturing waste and idle inventory.
  • 3D printing will enable the development and use of smart materials.
  • Printable electronics could change the usage and functionality of some materials.
  • The potentially limitless customisation of mass-market products will spawn new digital design-to-distribution production platforms.
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