The Rise of 3D Printing
3D printing is becoming increasingly common and revolutionizing the Canadian market. With this new industrial revolution, Canadians can expect to see some changes to the labour market as we rely less on outsourcing production to other countries.
Though 3D printing has been around for over 30 years, its progression has been slow. The concept was originated as a toy, developed into a prototype and only recently, considered a solution for cost effective production. 3D printing is finally set to revolutionize the way we produce, with implications on where, how and when we manufacture.
A shift in manufacturing roles
Although the emergence of 3D printing will potentially reduce the requirement for certain manufacturing roles, it will result in the creation of new technical and creative roles. 3D printing will lead to a multitude of new, skilled positions including technicians, engineers and creative/graphic designers — creating an even greater need for applicants in the STEM related fields.
There are many positives that cannot be ignored, including reducing costs, increasing opportunities and encouraging innovation. With factories pairing 3D printing technology with traditional manufacturing processes to accommodate custom and on demand production, many industries have reaped the benefits, such as: healthcare, consumer goods, aerospace, architecture, automotive and government, military and academic institutions.
The evolution of 3D printing enables companies to only produce goods when needed. Businesses no longer need to keep a large inventory on hand to prepare for an order, instead, this technology now allows them to produce on demand — which helps to reduce inventory management costs and store the product digitally instead of physically. Not to mention, as 3D printing relies on additive manufacturing, layering thin layers of materials atop one another to create the final object, the waste generally associated to traditional production is virtually non-existent!
The rise of a new industry
With 3D printing evolving into an industrial staple, a new budding industry is on the rise. As with the conception of any new industry, there is a boost to the economy as new businesses fill specialized, as well as professional positions, furnish office spaces and set logistical contracts. Ultimately this process benefits the surrounding economy and applicable industries.
In 2013, President Obama referenced 3D printing in his State of the Union address as having the potential to revolutionize the way we make everything. As the reliance on this technology grows, so will the positive impact on our economy. With companies less likely to outsource production to countries with cheap labour, 3D printing has the potential to increase Canadian production and efficiencies, while contributing to a labour market growth.
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