In a forward-looking report, global research firm McKinsey has identified 3D printing as a 1 of 12 disruptive technologies that could deliver major economic impact to the global economy by 2025.
According to McKinsey, 3D printing will have an impact on consumer sectors that place a premium on highly customizable products. Some of these industries include toys, jewelry and footwear. In fact, McKinsey believes that by 2025 global sales of 3D printed products in these industries alone lay somewhere between $230-550 billion per year.
While McKinsey’s report is high on 3D printing becoming a force in the production of consumer goods, their report is a bit less enthusiastic about the technologies impact on high-volume production. “Even in 2025, traditional manufacturing will almost certainly have a large cost advantage over additive manufacturing for most high volume products.” The report goes on to state, “The large majority of parts will still be manufactured more efficiently with techniques such as injection molding. 3D printing however, has the potential to create significant value be shortening setup times, eliminating tooling errors, and producing mold that can actually increase the productivity of the injection molding process.”