By Joe McKendrick | October 9, 2012, 7:06 PM PDT
Will 3D printing make global supply chains unnecessary? That’s a real possibility, states a recent report from Transport Intelligence.
3D printing (or “additive manufacturing,” as it’s called in industrial circles) takes offshore manufacturing and brings it back close to the consumer. It has enormous potential to shift the trade balance. Goods will be cheaper to reproduce within the domestic market, versus manufacturing and then shipping them from a distant low-wage country.
The report, authored by John Manners-Bell of Transport Intelligence and Ken Lyon of Virtual-Partners Ltd., points to the growing role of automation in production resulting from 3D printing: