3D Printing: The New Industrial Revolution

China, Company Strategy, Economics, Innnovation, Knowledge management, Technology

300px-Spinning_jenny

By John Richardson

MANUFACTURING via 3D printing could result in an industrial revolution as big as that which occurred in 1766 with the invention of the spinning jenny (see above).

“The pedal-powered machine allowed a single person to spin eight cotton threads at a time rather than just one,” wrote James Grubber in this edition of his Asia Confidential newsletter.

“The spinning jenny, along with the steam engine and better power looms invented later on, transformed manufacturing productivity. Increased mechanisation meant you could do much more with less.”

3D printing might also, according to Chris Anderson in his book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, result in another explosion in productivity and a surge in economic growth.

But in the interim, just was the case with the industrial revolution, manufacturing faces huge disruptions.

For instance, Grubber warns that:

1. As everyone had become a blogger today, everyone will become a manufacturer tomorrow. Supply will pour into the space. Every amateur handyman and inventor has the tools to run wild now.

2. Larger manufacturing companies will inevitably lose significant market share. They’ll have to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

3. It will result in an abundance of niche products. Consumers will benefit from this choice, even if there’ll be too much of it!

4. Prices of mid-to-low end manufacturing goods could well come down. They did for newspapers, so why not physical goods?

5. Manufacturing supply chains will see substantial changes. Small producers will want small batches. They’ll also prefer not to hold inventory i.e. manufacturing on demand. And they’ll obviously want to reduce costs, such as transportation.

In a series of later blog posts we will look at what this means for China’s outsourcing growth model, and how 3D printing might also affect other developing economies.

And we will look at how petrochemical producers – those that can be bothered to think beyond the next set of quarterly results – should respond.

PREVIOUS POST

China Second Quarter Data Underlines Direction

16/07/2013

By John Richardson ECONOMIC rebalancing in China isn’t working yet as this ex...

Learn more
NEXT POST

Politics, Politics And More Politics

18/07/2013

By John Richardson CHINA’s extraordinary economic growth is, of course, largel...

Learn more
More posts
Global polyethylene oversupply, the highest in 19 years, hasn’t gone away
03/07/2020

By John Richardson BRENT crude futures surged by 80% during the second quarter and enjoyed their bes...

Read
China could be in complete polypropylene self-sufficiency by 2022
28/06/2020

By John Richardson SORRY to labour the point but this comes from a genuine concern for the readers o...

Read
Asian polyethylene price recovery faces multiple challenges
25/06/2020

By John Richardson THERE are reports of significant cuts in Middle East polyethylene (PE) operating ...

Read
China’s long-term ambition for paraxylene self-sufficiency seems close to being realised
21/06/2020

On Friday, I examined how China’s paraxylene (PX) net imports could fall to as little 8m tonne...

Read
China’s big declines in 2020 PX and PP imports: the impact on its major trading partners
18/06/2020

By John Richardson CHINA’S refineries and petrochemicals plants came roaring back to almost fu...

Read
Paraxylene demand collapses as higher China production threatens 6m tonne fall in imports
15/06/2020

By John Richardson DON’T SAY I didn’t tell you that a decline in stock markets would happen. The...

Read
Coronavirus will severely damage the developing world unless we take the right steps
12/06/2020

By John Richardson IT IS a fantastic achievement. “Over the last 25 years, more than a billion peo...

Read
Main Street versus Wall Street and the crisis in the developing world
10/06/2020

By John Richardson RISING equity and oil markets do not necessarily point to a V-shaped recovery. I ...

Read

Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more

Analytics

Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more
X

Uncover exclusive industry upates from ICIS

Interested to uncover more articles related to this topic? Explore additional news, insights and intelligence, tailored to the markets you are interested in by accessing exclusive content from ICIS.com

DISCOVER MORE