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The advent of additive manufacturing has far-reaching implications that may drastically change manufacturing and trade, as well as missions into space. Significantly in September 2014, the U.S. Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent a 3D printer to the International Space Station. The printer will be used to provide real-time replacement parts at the station, enhancing safety as well as efficiency.

Digital manufacturing enables firms to produce on the 3D printer what it formerly had to order from a local or foreign supplier. The vast inventory yards of large oil companies, such as those of ARAMCO, in Saudi Arabia stretch over dozens of hectares. This will be an unusual scene by 2025.

3D printing has implications for inventory management and transport costs.

  1. Inventory Management
    Holding inventory is expensive. Companies may no longer need to go to the expense of holding large inventories of certain types of goods, materials and spare parts.
  2. Transport Costs
    Today, transparent costs are a large percent of total costs of goods sold: goods are shipped by planes, trains, boat and mail. In additive manufacturing transport costs will be merely those of sending the specification electronically from the originator to a recipient firm’s 3D printer and the costs of materials to a recipient firm. This will surely result in a huge drop in the cost of transporting certain types of goods (not all).
There are those who claim that this will lower all costs of production, including labor and capital costs. Indeed the labor cost in additive manufacturing may be very small: A main labor cost will be those involved in devising and implementing the software protocols for shipment to 3-D printers.

Implications for sustainable growth

The implications for sustainable growth (see Chapter___) are fairly obvious. Additive manufacturing will help:

  • Conserve energy
  • Reduce waste
  • Reduce pressure on reserves of scarce non-renewable resources over time.

Implications for economics of scale

Economic students learn all about economies of scale in introductory Microeconomics course. Prior to 2014, if one needed a single wrench for changing tires, the manufacturer would first have had to make a mold, and then pour in the metal. To do this for one wrench would be outrageously expensive. But if the firm produces hundreds of thousands of these wrenches, it can pull down the costs with economics of scale.

But, with the 3D printer, even one item can be very cheap once the firm has a fully developed 3D printing process. To order a customized hip implant (one of a kind) one merely tweaks the software for hip implants generally and sends it along. It matters little whether one or 1001 of the implants are made. The cost may be low but will not decline much with numbers produced.

The implications for international trade could be very significant. Some traditional manufacturing firms in many countries large and small will go out of business. But the big question for emerging nations is:

How will countries with low wage cost be able to compete in trade when additive manufacturing is widespread? How could developed countries still use high import tariffs to protect local industry in such a world? Could trade sanctions such as those recently directed at Iran in 2014 work at all in such a world?

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
hi
Loga
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Economic development for the 21st century. OpenStax CNX. Jun 05, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11747/1.12
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