Perception vs. Reality: Busting Myths About 3D Printing

Uwe Kubach

By Uwe Kylau, Kai Goerlich, and Robert L. Mitchell 

Is there enormous potential in 3D printing – or is it all just hype? Some predict that the technology will turn the manufacturing industry upside-down, opening up a whole new front for the war on counterfeit products. And there are others who believe 3D printing still has plenty of hurdles to overcome before it takes over the world.

We think skeptics are underestimating the potential for 3D printing. Here are three reasons why.

1

Perception:

3D printers are the EZ-Bake Ovens and Erector Sets of the ’10s: toys with little practical application.

Reality:

GE Aviation has already created a 3D printed part that is five times more durable and 25% lighter than the parts it replaces. It also consolidates 20 parts to one, cutting down on assembly time.

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2

Perception:

3D printers will never replace traditional manufacturing.

Reality:

By 2030, 3D printing will affect US$14 billion, or 35%, of global output.

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3

Perception:

3D printers will have little impact on the supply chain.

Reality:

Freed from traditional economies of scale constraints, manufacturing will move closer to customers and warehouses and inventory will go virtual.

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Uwe Kubach

About Uwe Kubach

Uwe Kubach is the Vice President Internet of Things Enablement at SAP. He is responsible for the Internet of Things extensions of SAP's HANA Platform, including product management and development.