3D printing helps China’s economy

http://www.scmp.com/tech/innovation/article/1852059/3d-printing-can-help-modernise-chinas-economy-premier-li-keqiang

A 3D printed building in Shaanxi. Chinese premier Li Keqiang has called for greater investment in the technology. Photo: SCMP Pictures

3D printing can help modernise China’s economy: premier Li Keqiang

The development of 3D printing technologies must be part of a push to modernise China’s economy, the country’s premier, Li Keqiang, said during a speech to the State Council.

Echoing his “Internet Plus” doctrine, Li said a new technological revolution is at hand, and China needs to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in order to maintain competitiveness in a global rush to “reindustrialise”.

His address to the State Council focused on accelerating the development of advanced manufacturing in China, touching on technologies ranging from the internet to industrial robotics and automated machinery.

Since assuming office in 2013, Li has stressed the need for economic reform and a “new normal” growth plan at a sustainable, albeit slower, pace of development. That plan has been rocked by volatility in the stock market in recent months as well as a sharp slowdown in economic growth and flagging demand.

During the address, Li stressed the importance of marrying information technology with traditional manufacturing – a key tenet of his “Internet Plus” strategy – and pointed to 3D printing as “representative of a disruptive technology in the manufacturing industry … which has transformed traditional conceptions and methods of manufacturing.”

Li further highlighted in his address weaknesses underlying the Chinese economy, pointing to weaknesses in innovation, low ‘value-added’ production, poor quality in managerial and sales services, which are further exacerbated by resource and environmental constraints.

The premier’s statements come as Chinese firms working on 3D printing in the construction sector have announced multiple recent successes.

In July, real estate development firm Zhuoda Group assembled a 3D printed 200 square metre home in three hours, having printed the materials over 10 days at a cost of US$400-480 per square metre.

Also this year, construction firm Winsun 3D printed around a dozen 60 square metre houses in one day at a cost of US$5,000 per house. The firm is also currently partnering with the UNited Arab Emirates National Innovation Committee to 3D print an office building in Dubai.

According to Winsun, 3D printing can decrease the material cost of construction by 60 per cent, labour costs by 80 per cent and cut construction time by 70 per cent. The process can also incorporate recycled construction waste into the printing.

scmp.com

by Tim Chen | Monday, 24 August, 2015, 11:53am

 

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3D printing and the new economics of manufacturing

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricksmith/2015/06/22/henry-ford-3d-printing-and-the-new-economics-of-manufacturing/

Production Equation 1

3D Printing And The New Economics Of Manufacturing

3D printing production is just scratching the surface of the multi-trillion dollar global manufacturing industry. But its dominance is already pre-determined.

This is because modern manufacturing, despite numerous technological and process advances over the last century, is still a very inefficient global system. Today’s world of mass production is based on one simple rule: the more things you make, the lower the cost of each of those things. We have literally pushed this equation to its extreme limits.

This approach was dramatically accelerated by Henry Ford, arguably the most impactful character in the industrial revolution. For starters, Ford proved out the model of mass production. He wasn’t the first to create the assembly line, but he was the first of his time to perfect it. He built massive factories, and greatly standardized his product and processes. He once famously stated, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black.”  The quote may be familiar, but do you know why only black? It wasn’t due to Ford’s forward-thinking design sense, but rather because black was the only color that could dry fast enough to keep up with his assembly lines.

By 1915 he had reduced the time it took to build an automobile by 90%. By 1916, an astounding 55% of the automobiles on the road in America were Model Ts.

Ford mastered mass production and created the world’s first mass consumer product. But there is another reason why Ford is such an important figure historically.  Henry Ford literally punctuated the industrial revolution. We have all been taught about the industrial revolution as if it were a binary switch. There was a before and an after. We all believe we live safely in the after. This IS the future.

But what if that’s wrong?  What if mass production is not the end of this story, but rather just a stop along the way to something completely different? What if a technology came along that could turn everything upside down all over again?

3D printing is a technology that allows you to create things differently, from the ground up, layer by layer until you have a fully formed 3 dimensional object. Just like you now send a computer file of a document to a printer in your home or office, you can now send a computer file of an object to a 3D printer, and out comes that physical object. Eventually, you will be able to print almost anything you can imagine.

forbes.com

by Rick Smith | JUN 22, 2015 @ 5:11 PM

3D printing and economic impact

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-01/3d-printing-impact-bigger-than-internet-expert-says/6365296

3D printed jet engine

3D printing will have a bigger economic impact than the internet, technology specialist says

Manufacturing industries need to embrace 3D printing, which will have an even bigger impact on economies and society than the internet, an Australian technology specialist says.

Steve Sammartino is a digital entrepreneur and venture capitalist who advises business on how to adjust to disruptive technologies and the digital revolution.

While most of us have heard about 3D printing and its potential to improve medical treatments and manufacturing processes, Mr Sammartino says 3D printing will be far more than a niche tool.

He says it will transform everything about the way we live within a matter of years.

Speaking to The World Today, Mr Sammartino said 3D printing represented an extraordinary technological shift.

“The first time I saw it, it blew my mind as well because to see actually something physically get made layer upon layer in front of you is quite astounding. I think that 3D printing will be even greater than the information revolution because it democratises manufacturing for the first time.

“We’re going to see desktop manufacturing in the same way that we saw desktop publishing and information transfer and so we can actually transfer physical products to other people who can print it at the other end, just like we would send an email or send a video.”

But while that may be good for individuals, it will be hugely disruptive for industry, and Mr Sammartino said business leaders could not afford to ignore it.

“I think you need to embrace it. Like we’ve seen with the social web, the companies that moved quickly to embrace the new tools and collaborate with their audience have been the major beneficiaries.

“In fact, the idea of making and selling items is not nearly as important as the idea of providing platforms and collaborating with your end consumers.

“So trying to fight the tide is kind of like — it’s not a strategy that’s effective for the manufacturing industry.

“The best thing they can do is work out how to use it as a platform and collaborate and get faster and quicker innovation by working with their customers and their supply chains rather than trying to fight the tide of the things that they used to make.

“Because we’ve seen with the social and informational web that’s a strategy which simply doesn’t work.”

‘It will change everything we do’

Mr Sammartino said even businesses that did not manufacture anything needed to pay attention to the technology.

“It’s just a little bit like the internet. When it arrived we thought, ‘Oh, that may be interesting for media’, but as we’ve seen it’s transformed every type of business no matter what industry.

An ear is fabricated with a 3D printer in a laboratory at Cornell University.

“The internet is an important part of our business, and 3D printing, while we can’t see exactly how that might manifest itself, there’s no doubt that it’ll change everything we do from just simple operations and the spaces we work in and in unforeseeable ways it’ll impact, I think, most businesses.

“Even the way our homes are furnished will change and the type of things that we print at home. It’ll even have an impact on our foods — we’ll be 3D printing food. Smart brands will be selling components.

“Just like the ink jet printers get sold, you might have a chocolate company selling you the ingredients that go into your 3D printing machine to print things exactly the way that you want.”

But making 3D printing more accessible will come with risks, Mr Sammartino said.

“One of the unforeseeable externalities is that I think that we have already seen 3D printed guns and one of the problems with those is that when they get used there’s no safety concerns in the manufacturing process,” he said.

“Is there a duty of care of the person sending the file or is the duty of care with the printing manufacturer or is the duty of care with the software designer that designed or scanned the file?”

He said it was an issue that needed to be considered by the Government.

“So you get all of these other legal issues that we’re going to need to be very speedy on from a government perspective so that we’re across it and we protect consumers.”

abc.net.au

by Sarah Sedghi and Eleanor Hall | 1 Apr 2015, 3:07pm

3D printing revolutionize manufacturing

An Interesting Read About the Revitalization of the Manufacturing Industry, Starting with China.

http://goo.gl/HbGOgP

3D printing ready to revolutionize manufacturing

In October, the southern Chinese city of Changsha launched an industrial park. What sets it apart from other manufacturing centres is that it is poised to play a key role in the growth of Chinese technology.

The development is China’s first hub for 3D printing technology, and was established with an immediate goal to produce 100 3D printers, and to triple the number of devices by 2016. Taking Changsha’s lead, the cities of Wuhan and Zhuhai have announced plans to develop similar industry hubs.

Other countries in the Asia-Pacific region are also focusing on this fast-growing technology.

Over the next five years, Singapore plans to invest $500 million (S$676 million) to boost skills in advanced manufacturing, focusing heavily on 3D printing.

Companies in Japan are already marketing inexpensive desktop 3D printers, while South Korean conglomerates are widely using the technology.

After decades of development, 3D printing has emerged as a viable and affordable technology, increasingly used by both the private and public sector. While problems remain, it could eventually revolutionize the manufacturing sector that many countries in Asia depend on for economic growth.

“3D printing has been around since the 1980s and has been expanding into mass production and specialised manufacturing since then,” says Maria Smith, head of law firm Baker & McKenzie’s trademarks practice in Hong Kong.

“The business is growing rapidly. In 2013, the (global) market size was estimated at $2.5 billion. It is projected to reach $16.2 billion by 2018.”

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has already been used to produce cars, buildings, guns and even artificial body parts.

“In the medical field, Chinese scientists have gone a step further, using live tissue to create organs and print ears, livers and kidneys,” adds Smith.

As it becomes increasingly accessible and affordable to consumers, the technology is making it possible for products to quickly reach the market with less labour-intensive production required.

But these benefits are also a cause for concern. As 3D printing allows for the quick and easy copying of products, it is, in turn, presenting fresh challenges for regulators that have yet to adapt to the technology and for companies seeking to protect their intellectual property rights.

Once prohibitively expensive, the technology that makes 3D printing possible has evolved substantially.

Hewlett-Packard in October introduced a 3D printing technology 10 times faster and 10 times more precise than existing technologies. The Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer is set to launch in 2016.

In November, General Electric announced its plans to invest $32 million in developing an additive manufacturing facility in the United States-a factory that operates using 3D printers.

In Asia, XYZprinting, a company backed by Taiwan’s electronic manufacturing conglomerate Kinpo Group, launched the world’s first allin-one 3D printer with built-in scanner.

The da Vinci 1.0 AiO, weighing around 20 kilograms and resembling a large microwave, is available to buy for $799 through e-commerce websites including Newegg.com and Amazon.

A 3D printer introduced in late 2014 and developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp is due to be mass-produced and available later this year.

Li & Fung, a Hong Kong-based consumer goods design, logistics and distribution company, has in recent years run a series of 3D printing initiatives. In 2013, it carried out Asia’s first in-store 3D printing retail experience at a Toys R Us outlet in Hong Kong. Li& Fung has also explored the possibility of teaming up with other companies like Samsung Electronics Co to drive the technology further.

“With nearly 30 years of development, 3D printing technology is already quite mature,” says Luo Jun, secretary-general of the World 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance.

“It has been widely used for design in creative industries and printing teeth or bones in the biomedical field,” adds Luo, who is also executive-president of the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance. “Manufacturing and the aerospace industry use it to print complex moldings and components, or customised buildings.”

Paul Shao, CEO of Trustworthy (Beijing) Technology, a 3D printer company that distributes systems developed by brands including 3Shape and Roland, says the region is quickly finding its way with 3D technology.

“In Asia, the markets in Japan, China and South Korea are more mature in terms of 3D printing, but we can see many regions like Southeast Asia and central Asia are joining the game in trading and applications,” Shao says.

A country’s 3D printing capacity is closely linked with its competitiveness in traditional manufacturing, he adds.

“Compared with the US, Europe and Japan, China is still at an infant stage in terms of innovative design, precision processing and economic power. We have much space to grow in many key technology areas such as laser and materials. But we are getting closer and closer,” says Shao.

The evolution of supply chains is also driving the development of 3D printing. More brands are using just-in-time supply chains that make good use of the technology, getting products manufactured more quickly and into the hands of consumers.

In other regional markets, many of which rely on labour-intensive manufacturing for economic growth, the technology is less mature. Examples are Thailand and Malaysia, two middle-income countries moving up the value chain.

Thailand imports all of its 3D printers from the US, Canada or Germany because it lacks the technology to make its own, despite being a prodigious supplier of microchips.

But as Luo points out, the use of 3D technology in the region is likely to gather more pace.

“3D printing technology has been growing fast in China with more than 100 companies involved in industry, biomedicine, creative (industries), architecture, materials and software. China’s 3D printing market has seen more than 40 per cent growth for two consecutive years,” says Luo.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has included 3D printing technology in the National High-Tech Research and Development Program, which sponsors research in key high-technology fields. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MIIT, is accelerating the process to launch support policies.

“The Ministry of Education is planning to bring 3D printers into schools,” Luo adds.

In September, MIIT announced it was working on a plan to promote the industry.

“We will see greater usage of 3D printing with increased affordability encouraged through government initiatives,” says Andy Leck, managing principal and head of the IP practice at Wong & Leow, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie in Singapore.

“Key examples of these initiatives include the Singapore government’s Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme and the investment of $500 million over five years as part of the government’s Future of Manufacturing programme,” he says.

All this attention, however, may be creating a bubble. After a boom in raising capital through 2013, many 3D printer manufacturers have performed badly, particularly in terms of their stock price.

The share prices of some major 3D printer producers have dropped significantly over the past year. US-based ExOne fell from $66 in January to $21 in November, Stratasys slid from $134 to $105 and 3D Systems plunged from $96 to $36. In the same period, Germany’s Voxeljet dropped from $47 to $12.

A number of linked companies listed in China’s A-share market, such as those involved in robotics, have not performed well, either.

One exception is Guangdong-based polymer materials company Silver Age, which saw its value grow from 6.16 billion yuan ($994 million) in January to 17.45 billion yuan in November.

And if IP issues and fears of a bubble are not enough of a concern, the industry in Asia still faces a couple of other challenges including the high cost of materials and a dependence on imports. Another hurdle is the lack of a mature business model for companies in the sector.

References: