3D Scales Up

http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21584447-digital-manufacturing-there-lot-hype-around-3d-printing-it-fast

This article “3D Scales Up”, found in The Economist peaked my interest after reading an article in The Dickinsonian’s most recent investment in a 3D printer last year.    The world’s leading manufacture, GE is using the 3D printer in many areas of the company from energy to health care.  GE is using proprietary technology because it is providing them with the competitive advantage against other manufacturing companies.  A quote from within the article states, “3D printing is not competing with conventional manufacturing, but is hybridizing with it”.  China’s increased interest in the 3D printing has led them to upgrading their manufacturing technologies as well.  Their ambitions are great and may have a few advantages based on their low labor costs and material production cost.  When China begins to use these 3D printers at a greater scale it will surely give them the comparative advantage at selling goods for a much lower price.  However, the United States will be able to hold their own.  Although the products from printing will be at a higher cost, by using higher quality material, the U.S. will have a quality comparative advantage over China.   An example of this would be if a hospital is looking to invest in a new MRI machine and there are two products, one from China and one from the U.S.  China is willing to sell their product at a much lower cost, but a company such as GE is willing to sell a much better quality.  In this case, a hospital would choose GE because of the importance of the accuracy of this machine used health care today.

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1 Comment »

  1. leeja Said,

    September 16, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

    I think this topic itself is very interesting! You did a good job of giving a brief explanation of the current 3D printer market… I wonder if China will ultimately win advantage over the United States considering that China is not only good at producing goods at a lower cost, but also at re-producing a product that is 99.9% similar to what is out there. GE must keep their eyes on the Chinese market!

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