3D printing or additive manufacturing is not the future rather it is here, and it is now, and it is up to the conventional industries to be wake-up and smell the roses. Among many advantages of this unique manufacturing technology, rapid prototyping at low cost is the key differentiator. This will be analogous to be able to predict overall aircraft performance using a 3D printed aircraft at a much lower cost and lead time. Large and small corporations around the world such as Boeing, Siemens, GE, HP, Nike, and even NASA has been successful in staying clear of the hype and the noise around 3D printing to adopt the actual technology behind it and integrating it to their workflows. Like digital, 3D printing is the new horizon that smart business and industries are forward leaning to. Be it small Nanomachines utilized in medical sciences or larger aircraft engines parts, 3D printing can do it all.
The best part of 3D printing is that once technology is adopted, it is scalable and really doesn’t mandate massive city infrastructure rather on contrary, small town locations such as printing in Sivakasi, can now be given a quick face-lift at very low initial investment to position itself for the next industrial revolution by enabling 3D printing capability instead of the traditional poster printing operations. The workforce can be easily being re-trained as most of the 3D printing processes are automated.
3D printing really has the potential to bring on the second industrial revolution but not as previously thought in the consumer goods space but in the industrial manufacturing sector. With a little planning a high potential country such as India with a unique demographic of people available to enter workforce each year, can easily become world leaders in advance manufacturing. This has the potential to reverse the manufacturing tide in India’s favor which a country such as China has been riding on for a long time. Timely and strategic realignment of resources of a large developing country such as India will need both political will and a very strong entrepreneurial mindset in everyday businessmen. Moreover, below are a few additional aspects that will need to be considered to develop an ecosystem in India that fosters the 3D printing mindset.
- India will need to start training its young minds on the next generation of advanced manufacturing and tooling.
- The government will need to seek out foreign direct investments (FDIs) to initiate a facelift of all traditional heavy manufacturing industry.
- Additional efforts will be required to secure backlog of orders for 3D printed parts from India.
- Establishment of manufacturing& quality control procedures to uphold product quality at the national and international levels.
- Need special industrial zones where 3D printing business can be subsidized.
With a fully functional 3D printing industry in a developing country like India, can lead to other technological advances such as India could potentially, lead the world in Aero-Space, Power generation and transmission, weapons, material science etc. These types of strategic economic move can finallyhelp to position India for consistent double-digit growth rates which has been a dream till now.