Unlike most posts, this one will be somewhat philosophical. It stems from many discussions I’ve had with my colleagues in the additive manufacturing (AM) ecosystem that centered around AM being a manufacturing technology. I came to the realization that what we all actually want is for AM to be yet another boring (for the lay person, not us) manufacturing technology that is part and parcel of the standard tool kit of a manufacturing line. A few weeks ago, while giving an interview to a journalist, I was asked “what are you excited about in AM?”. I thought for a beat and said “I’m excited for AM to become boring”.
Waiting to Yawn
Boring is when AM is so reliable that there’s no question it will be repeatable in look, feel, and quality even if it’s manufactured distributedly, on demand, and at different times. Boring is when AM digital assets are handled the same as any digital asset and the resulting AM parts use the same last mile logistics as all parts. Boring is when AM is so cost effective that is a no-brainer choice rather than a daring one and you don’t need a PhD to use it or estimate that cost – boring is always best! Boring is when no one will think to point out that something has been 3D printed because it will be a non issue. Consumers don’t typically know how their plastic cup or tooth brush is manufactured nor do they know how the carburetor in their car is produced. They just know it works, it’s reliable, and fills a need. Sounds boring? Exactly!
<getting off my soap box now>
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