Researchers at Harvard University have created a 3D-printing pen capable of making metallic objects seemingly out of nowhere.
US Robotics Robot 3D Printer Liquid Compress Pump
3D printing in fashion promises to be huge – so what’s holding us back?
Danmei Sun, Heriot-Watt University
Various manufacturing industries from prosthetics to car parts are now widely using 3D printing in their production processes. They use it for producing prototypes and samples and for mass manufacturing, since you can easily change the size, colour and shape of an object on a computer at no extra cost.
But one industry where 3D printing has great potential that has yet to be realised is fashion. From mass-market production to running off customised garments to pick up in shops or have delivered to the home, this could be the fashion statement of the future. We have already seen examples on the catwalks, starting three years ago with Dita Von Teese, the burlesque dancer, modelling the first fully 3D-printed dress in New York – but we have yet to see anything on the high street.
3D Printing is being forecast by many to herald the 2nd Industrial Revolution and it seems destined to have profound impacts on the whole value chain for consumer goods, from original design and manufacture through to the end consumer.
Below IORMA looks at some of the exciting developments regarding 3D Printing and many other Innovations.
Visit the new IORMA 3DP Hub here
Lisa Harouni of Digital Forming talks about 3D Printing and demonstrates the benefits, opportunities and implications for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Websites of the future will have to incorporate these advances, with highly customisable products available to the consumer to 3D print in their home or have printed at their nearest 3D Printer enabled store or retailer.
Shapeways is a 3D printing service company, users can upload their design files and either sell their designs or have them printed and sent to them. By June 2012 Shapeways had 3D printed and sold over one million user-created objects.
But how is the Government trying to encourage foreign investment in the British retail and consumer industry in the current climate? UK Trade & Investment used the opportunity of the Olympics to host a Global Business Summit on Retail, Food and Drink, promoting the UK as a leading destination for investment in the sector and a platform from which to grow internationally. Speakers and delegates included some of the industry’s leading UK and international figures, and even our own Prime Minister made an appearance to encourage further investment in what is already viewed by many as one of the best environments for retail in the world.
But there was one topic that seemed to stimulate more debate than any other, and unsurprisingly this was based around the use and effect of technology, referred to potentially as “the next industrial revolution”. However, it was not the typical topic of the use of the Internet in delivering international growth, although Nick Robinson did demonstrate how ASOS is becoming an international ecommerce superstar. Nor was it surprising that Britain continues to lead the way in e-commerce, nor that mobile payments are already upon us. And we are of course already conscious of the need for store-based retailers to provide higher levels of service to customers in order to compensate for a 10% cost disadvantage over pure online retailers as highlighted by Sebastian James, the recently appointed CEO of Dixons.
So what did grab the attention of some of the finest minds in world retail? The final session of the day prior to Mr Cameron’s closing remarks was left to John Andrews (now Chair and CEO of IORMA – The Global Consumer Commerce Centre). The “big bazooka” was the topic of 3D printing, highlighting existing uses of the technology in industry (for example creating spare car parts) as well as the increasing affordability of 3D printers for the retail store and home environments. Instant digital distribution! Mass customisation is on its way! Soon, we as consumers are likely to be ‘printing’ at least some products that are tailored specifically to our individual requirements, from personalised chocolate bars to high heeled shoes. When asked how significant 3D printing could be to the retail industry, John Andrews commented: “Think of the Internet 20 years ago, no one had ever really heard of it”. And everyone knows how much the Internet has changed retail…