3D Printing: New Economic Paradigms and Strategic Shifts

3D printing (3DP) is a classic disruptive technology that is likely to have a huge and widespread impact on the world. This revolutionary technology is likely to dramatically change business models, shift production location, shrink supply chains, and alter the global economic order, potentially degrading the importance of the Asian export manufacturing platforms and revitalizing the US innovation engine and the US economy. In the process, 3DP will change the ‘global operating environment’ for policy makers as well as business and labor. 3DP is already a proven ‘general purpose’ technology that is being used for an enormous range of applications, such as fabricating spare and new parts for planes, trains and automobiles and thousands of items in between. It has huge environmental benefits, including substantial reduction in resources consumed in production, manufacturing products only on demand, and ‘just in time production’ of goods at or near where they are consumed, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of goods produced and shipped thousands of miles to consumers.