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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

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
is this allso about nanoscale material
Almas
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
yeah
Joseph
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
Lohitha
where is the latest information on a no technology how can I find it
William
currently
William
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
Ali
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
hey
Giriraj
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
Kamaluddeen
yes
narayan
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
Bhagvanji
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
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
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
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
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
While the American heart association suggests that meditation might be used in conjunction with more traditional treatments as a way to manage hypertension
Beverly 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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