18 June 2013 17:42 [Source: ICIS news]
HAMBURG (ICIS)--3D printing will be the biggest growth market in the next 30 years, author and futurologist Mark Stevenson said at the European Association of Chemical Distributors (FECC)’s annual conference on Tuesday.
During his closing speech on the second day of the conference, the guest speaker told an audience of industry managers and decision-makers they need to “ask better questions about the future”.
Stevenson pointed to the developments in technology that now allow individuals and companies to design and print their own products, and that the petrochemical industry is a key player in the 3D printing market.
Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) is commonly used in 3D printing, and has successfully printed seamless products from cups and furniture to life-sized and fully-driveable cars, and even a 3D dress shown at Paris Fashion Week.
However, 3D printing has already attracted controversy after the world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun was produced in America.
Made using ABS and with only the addition of a screw to act as a firing pin, the gun has already caused one US Congressman to call for changes to US law when it comes to the printing of 3D guns.
But talk at the FECC conference was more optimistic and focused on the positives that the use of 3D printing could bring.
Of particular interest was Stevenson’s request that players in the petrochemical industry embrace this change, even if some of the assembled audience were sceptical about such a big shift away from industrial manufacturing to 3D printing, and to act responsibly, ethically and humanely whilst supplying and supporting the 3D printing industry.
If, as Stevenson said: “The Industrial Revolution is over in the next 30 years”, then the petrochemical industry could be an essential moral driver in a very exciting and different manufacturing industry.
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