Although the 3D printing boom didn't take off until 2012, many of you might be surprised to know that it's been around since the 1980's. But up until now, it hasn't been advanced enough to capture the imagination of the business world. Now that our reality has become a lot more Back to the Futuresque, we can expect to see it used for printing homes, bionic body parts and maybe it will be used in artificial intelligence (AI) for humanoid robots just like in HBO's 'Westworld'.
In 2015, researchers at MIT (USA) unveiled a new process called G3DP – a method that allows for the creation of complex 3D glass structures. G3DP goes to the next level of data transfer efficiency, demonstrated through remarkable artworks which traditional handicraft could never achieve.
3D printed glass structure from Smithsonian design Museum in New York in 2016.
3D printing in the automotive industry is no longer a technical bottleneck nowadays. General Motors used stereolithography, specialized software that combines mathematical data and laser sintering to build parts out of liquid resin. A process which resulted in breakthrough improvements in the design of the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu. The rapid prototyping proved especially useful for the floor console, which has smartphone holders for the driver and passengers. This technique was also implemented on the front fascia design and front-seat back panels. The lightweight parts make the Malibu not only aesthetically pleasing, but economically sustainable when it comes to fuel consumption.
3. 3D Printed Bionic Ear
The technology works by using UV lasers to project a pattern for a midsole liquid. The light turns the liquid into a solid and the result is a flexile, but durable, midsole. The technology could save time and money in the production process and tailor physiological data and needs on demand for each individual.
Global brands such as Coca Cola, Warner Bros. and eBay have experimented with 3D printing, but as of yet, marketers have yet to tap into its potential. The good news for marketers is that 3D printing provides many opportunities to deliver out of the box solutions. The technology provides innovative ways to develop and strengthen relationships with existing and potential customers. According to Steve Heller the figures show that mainstream 3D printing growth in the industry is expected to grow by 31% each year into a $21 billion market by 2020.
3D Printing will not only have an impact on business and marketing, it will change our lives in more ways than we can imagine. It elaborately and seamlessly integrates the internet and digital technology with an extensive consideration of novel construction, combined with innovative materials. 3D Printed products have already been created in the fields of art, product design, interior design and architecture.
Hazel Chen and Alyce Brierley
Current student from the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.