Prior to additive manufacturing, technology had always been driven by cost-centric and time sensitivity factors. Machines were traditionally designed to lower the cost and time involved in production.

Now what we are seeing digital manufacturing making its way in the world, coupled with amazing ingenuity, a sensational turnaround might change the whole process of production, opening up a new door which until recently was limited to entry by factories and big production wheels.

Additive manufacturing is becoming increasingly relevant in our daily lives and may change the way commodities are produced today, potentially making customized design a hallmark of our own imagination. According to The Independent, the British supermarket chain Asda is planning to offer its customers a chance to create miniatures called €˜mini-me’ – mini self-portraits made by 3D printer – this month.

According to The Mirror, Asda’s new service launched in New York and is offering customers the chance to €œcreate 3D copies of anything.€ According to The Telegraph, Suzi Antoniw from the science museum in London said €œthere are 5.5 million people in the world walking around with 3D-printed objects in their bodies €“artificial hips, teeth and even tiny scaffolding structures inside people′s limbs that help their bones grow.€

In an email interview with Mr. Muhammad Asif Iqbal, a finance coordinator at Golden Group of companies in Muscat Oman, he shared his insights on additive manufacturing.

Toonari Post (TP): How do you see additive manufacturing technology?

Asif Iqbal (AI): 3D printing is flexible & fast; I [mean], products can very easily be build at the point of consumption. There′s huge opportunity for traditional manufacturers to save money if products are printed [in] 3D instead of traditionally manufactured. Manufacturers end up saving manufacturing cost, inventory [and] logistics. 3D Printing will change [the] matrix of manufacturing in [the] future.

TP: Will additive manufacturing have any impact on manufacturing process today?

AI: Yes it will have an impact, 3D Printed products will be superior in comparison to traditional manufactured products, new trend to customize products is emerging, marketing will have a huge impact, [e]specially time-based marketing and designers [and] manufactures, as [well as] €˜do it yourself′ (DIY) a new generation of manufacturers brimming to design and manufacture imagined products.

In my opinion, if organizations adapt additive manufacturing, which indeed they will in the years to come, strong [attachment] [between] manufacturer & end-users [will] start to fade. Having said that, even retailing segment will be blown out of proportion. Manufacturing will be retailing in 10 years.

TP: Do you see this technology just as a hype or as a reality?

AI: In my observation, yes its reality [but] let me support my sentence. Advanced ceramic, metallic and polymer materials under ambient conditions are used in commercial 3D printers for prototyping and digital manufacturing. Glass is printed in [the] Sahara desert with sand ink and a solar powered 3D Printer so I think this technology isn′t [just a] hype.

It brings liberty to our creativity; it just squirts [out] molten materials to shape our imagination and more often, additive manufacturing [is being used to] serve us in our kitchens. It appears that additive manufacturing isn′t just [a] machine that replaces common designs and devices of production, but a freaky custom of customization.


Image credit: Additive Manufacturing Users Group via Facebook