How much non-added value can 3D printing add?

Chris HOHMANN

Chris HOHMANN – Author

3D printing is no doubt hype. No day without another breakthrough announced or stunning news about materials, or extraordinary achievements with the help of this new technology.

I am convinced 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing at large will completely change manufacturing and consumer experience in near future, and posted several blogs about it.

One of my posts was titled “Creativity breaks loose from constraints with additive manufacturing” and an other “How much non-added value additive manufacturing can take out of actual processes?”. The latter being a sweet and sour description about the benefits of this technology and the flip side of the coin, but in my view an encouraging perspective for future manufacturing in western countries.

Yet I came to see a proud announcement about the PancakeBot – The world’s first pancake printer! on kickstarter.com that echoes both the above mentioned posts.

3D printing as one of the additive manufacturing technique does indeed boost creativity, allowing for example to 3D print pancakes at will. On the other hand this creativity bursts question the added value of the extraordinary possibilities offered by 3D printing.

  • Who needs a customized 3D printed pancake?
  • How many trials does it take to have a Eiffel Tower pancake correctly cooked and delivered in one piece still looking like the Eiffel Tower?

(by the way, thank you for flattering my French pride with such an example).

Back to industry, the extraordinary possibilities offered by Additive Manufacturing should not lead to just buy more expensive toys for big boys to have some temporary fun or because it is hype, an aspect management must be aware of and before agreeing the investment, ask how much non-added value can 3D printing add?


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