A video from CNBC illustrates the incredible opportunities to come in 3D printing.
The report investigates how aerospace giant is increasingly leaning toward 3D printing as a key method to optimize their development process. It can “cut development time in half”, something we have heard previously from other manufacturers.
The catch is that you have to have two things:
- An understanding of what is possible and the motivation to pursue new methods of product design.
- A workforce capable of new approaches to 3D design that can be applied to 3D printing technology.
While it seems that the former is in force, at least at Lockheed, the latter is something they’re still working on. Evidently the aerospace company is looking to hire no less than 120 new workers skilled in 3D design and print, specifically to take advantage of the opportunities posed by 3D printing approaches.
But what are these new designs? David Gulbernat, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Manager, explains:
You end up with a lot of designs that look like tree branches, they look like roots, they look like bone structure, they look like stalactites.
We’ve seen this style previously, and it is quite effective. With this “organic” design style, you can produce parts that are just as strong, but far lighter. Combine that with the ability to make complex parts in fewer numbers results in a winning design strategy.
As Lockheed steps further into the world of 3D printing, the report also has Deloitte analyst Dr Mark Cotteleer explain that this is only the tip of the iceberg:
We’re seeing rapid growth, as fast as 20-30% per year, with projections exceeding 20B by the time we get to 2020.
It’s all about “turning on” companies to use of 3D printing. Certainly 3D printing cannot replace all manufacturing processes, but it definitely can provide a number of significant advantages, particularly in certain fields such as aerospace and medical applications.
The catch is whether there will be people to hire that can do the 3D things industry will soon be demanding in great numbers. CNBC reports on one school making adjustments to their programs to account for this upcoming demand. We suspect they won’t be the last.