Will 3D printing soon change manufacturing?

The manufacturing industry has undergone numerous changes in the past several decades, with companies first placing an emphasis on overseas production and more recently switching their focus to nearshore manufacturing. The sector could be in for another big change, as more companies invest in 3D printing to lower labor costs, reduce waste and enhance productivity. 

A new study by IT research and analysis firm Gartner revealed business leaders are quickly seeing the potential in 3D printing, and the technology is on its way to becoming mainstream among corporations due to its various benefits. The technology gives some enterprises the opportunity to produce more merchandise with less labor and lower expenses. As prices for these printers drop and their efficiency and capability increases, more companies are seeing significant opportunities for cost savings in the production process. 

"The material science behind 3D printing processes and materials will continue to progress, and affordable 3D printers are lowering the cost of entry into manufacturing," read the study. "As a result, the 3D printer market will continue moving from niche adoption to broad acceptance, driven by lower printer prices, the potential for cost and time savings, greater capabilities and improved performance that drives benefits and markets."

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